Barbara Zangerl has ticked her hardest trad route to date with her send of Gondo Crack 5.14bR. She opened the route with Jacapo Larcher, who also made a send. The pair made the first ascents of the old bolted project.
The route was developed by A. Manini and M. Pellizzon almost 15 year years ago. Zangerl and Larcher opted to skip the bolts and place gear in the crack.
"Gondo Crack" is an obvious line at the "Cippo" crag (Gondo, CH). It was bolted by A. Manini and M. Pellizzon almost 15 years ago and since then it had been an open project. I had that crack in my mind since i tried it the first time. The idea was from beginning on to try it one day on trad gear because it is just a gift and much more exciting that this is even possible. …….it felt hard and pumpy to place the gear and it was quite a mental challenge to climb the crux quite far above the last piece of gear. Super psyched to push my personal trad climbing limit a bit further. We both sent "Gondo Crack" and we call it 8c (or 5.14b R). #couplesedingdays #firstascent #liveclimbrepeat @blackdiamond @lasportivagram #kataki @sterlingrope @fazabrushes @hafervoll 📸 Richard Felderer @rikyfelderer
After their sends, Larcher said, “As its name says, it follows an obvious crack which you can also protect with trad gear. Maybe it’s not as safe as with bolts, but for us it made more sense to climb it in this way. We called it 8c (or 5.14bR).
“The bolts are obviously still there, so you can choose the rules of the game you want to play. You should go and check it out: it’s really cool.”
There are many examples of climbers making first free ascents of bolted routes by placing gear and skipping the fixed protection. Often the first free ascent team chops the bolts to force future senders to place gear.