Didier Berthod makes first ascent of The Crack of Destiny (5.14+)
- Thursday 29th June 2023
Swiss climber, Didier Berthod has made the first ascent of one of the hardest crack climbs in Northern America, The Crack of Destiny on The Chief at Squamish, Canada.
Writing about the route, and how he found it, on Instagram Berthod said ‘Last year I walked up The Chief to have a look to this amazing splitter easily spotted thanks to the photo of North Star in the new Squamish guidebook. It was love at first sight. So there it was, this perfect splitter crack that had haunted my dreams for so long. And in a perfect setting, with a perfect view, and a perfect ledge. And even the hour-long walk is also kinda perfect as it gives you a break from the crowds…’
Berthod was one of pioneering crack climbers of the early 2000’s. However, after almost making the first ascent of Cobra Crack in 2005 he walked away from climbing for 15 year. In 2020 however Berthod made a remarkable come-back and has been climbing even harder since his return to the sport.
Success didn’t come quickly nor with considerable investment has Berthod explained, ‘[I] Spent a lot of time up there, 30 days last season, 6 this one. But there was nothing to throw away. A big thanks to all my friends who came up there for all this amazing moment of rock climbing!’
Understandable, especially after not making the first ascent of Cobra Crack, Berthod’s success on The Crack of Destiny was extra special as he explained ‘Sending this pitch meant so much to me. Before yesterday, it was like I had never walked down the Chief with a send in my pocket. And that’s been the case since 2005 when I was trying the Cobra… Almost 20 years!’
Initially Berthod pink-pointed the route, ie climbed The Crack of Destiny with all the gear insitu. Reporting his pinkpoint ascent on Instagram he proposed a grade of 5.14 and – almost inevitably - he draw comparisons with Cobra Crack which having not done it in 2005 he’s now keen to go back and finish. Berthod said ‘Because grades are part of the game, let’s give a little talk. I propose 5.14. It seems to me harder than just a 14a, but can’t be more specific. Seem to me a bit harder than the « You-Know-Who», but I’m well aware that saying this is a bit cheeky, given that I still haven’t sent it!’
Addressing his pink pointed ascent in early June Berthod said, ‘”Pink pointing is nothing” use to say a good buddy of mine. He is wrong, cause it still something ! But he is right as the big deal is sending placing gear. I’ll be back soon to give it some tries!’
Berthod finally successfully redpointed the pitch, placing all the gear has he climbed, a few days ago.
Berthod talked about his redpoint of The Crack of Destiny in an interview with PlanetMountain (read that here…) saying that it was harder placing the gear but not as hard as he’d expected. And finally he compared it to Cobra Crack saying ‘I think it’s a good 5.14, possibly around F8c, F8c+. But I can’t tell more because it's so specific. What I do know is that it's definitely the hardest crack I've ever climbed. But more definitely, the most beautiful! I think it’s slightly harder than the Cobra Crack, which is known to be 5.14b, so 8c. But I’m not so sure about that. I heard some climbers rated Cobra 14a, which could make sense.’