Jakob Schubert makes first ascent of Project Big, Hanshallaren
- Thursday 21st September 2023
Yesterday, whilst broadcasting live on his YouTube channel, Jakob Schubert made the first ascent of Project Big in the Hanshallaren Cave, Flatanger in Norway.
"The biggest mental battle I've ever had in my career!" was Schubert’s first words after making the first ascent of one of the world’s hardest routes in the Hanshallaren Cave in Flatanger, Norway.
The weather in the Flatanger district where the Hanshallaren Cave is located in northwest Norway has been steadily deteriorating – as is normal for this time in September – over the last couple of weeks with several days of heavy rain sweeping across the area. In between the rain, however, the sun frequently blasts into the cave heating up the dark rock making hard climbing almost impossible. Unsurprisingly, the rapidly changing conditions between wet and sunny days make the difficulty of climbing hard routes in the cave even more pronounced than normal. Schubert’s previous attempt on Project Big during his fifth day of live streaming ground to a halt below his high point on a wet hold; undoubtedly that added to the pressure of completing one of the world’s hardest routes.
Schubert described his anxiety of climbing Project Big which was clearly heightened by the livestreaming. “Never before could the successful first ascent of such a difficult climbing route be followed live on the screen. So nervous! Mentally so crazy. I didn't feel so good going into the route, but then I was so much better at the end of the first boulder. After shaking out my arm on the sloper just before the crux, I was incredibly nervous. I don't think I've ever been so scared climbing."
Having arrived in Flatanger earlier in September Schubert got to work again on the route. Previously, both he and Adam Ondra had tried the route in the autumn of 2022; both came agonisingly close to getting the first ascent. Having reworked the route in mid-September, Schubert began livestreaming his attempts. His first ascent yesterday came on his sixth live-streamed attempt.
Adam Ondra originally bolted Project Big a decade or so ago around the time he also bolted Project Hard. Eventually, Ondra settled on Project Hard and climbed that in September 2017 calling it Silence. At that time it was the world’s first graded F9c route. Alex Megos’ Bibliography at Ceuse was also given that grade originally but a number of subsequent repeats as seen it settled at F9b+. Seb Bouin’s DNA has also been given F9c. Both Silence and DNA are currently unrepeated. Schubert has yet to offer a grade or name for Project Big; both are likely to occupy the Austrian climber for a few days yet?!
Although ‘busy’ during the summer, September is probably the prime time for climbing hard at Hanshallaren albeit the number of climbers reduces dramatically. Other internationally renowned climbers also climbing in Hanshallaren at the current time are Domen Skofic, Shawn Raboutou and Stefano Ghisolfi. It’s possible that more big news may emerge as the season draws to a close as September rolls into October so watch this space – as the saying goes.
Watch Jakob Schubert’s successful attempt at Project Big on his YouTube channel below…