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Vertigo is the Hardest Trad Route in Australia

Watch Dan Fisher make the first ascent of the old aid route that he graded 5.14a

Canberra climber Dan Fisher freed an old project called Vertigo at Tower Rocks on Orroral Ridge in fall 2019. He graded it 5.14a, the hardest trad route in Australia. Ben Sanford put together an excellent film about the climb, watch below.

Vertigo was a hard aid route in Namadgi National Park that was first climbed in the 1970s. Fisher was shown the line a decade before his FA after a friend asked him to try it. “It’s 25 metres and broken into two very different sections,” said Fisher. “The bottom half is a flared powerful crack, I think it was given 23 back in the 1980s(?), but is probably closer to 25 (as with a lot of the sandbagged routes in the area). Then above that is the main headwall, which has two independent crack lines that run parallel to the top of the wall, and you simply fridge slap (on crimps) up these two lines standing on crystals the size of your thumbnail.”

Veteran trad climber Zac Vertrees said, “Definitely a true test-piece, hard, scary, potentially dangerous. It’s got moves that are at least V10 and V11 I would say. The gear is often quite small and intricate to place. If you get it wrong you are potentially going to hit the ground, he has put up the hardest trad route in the country.” Watch the FA below.

Vertigo 5.14 First Ascent