O’Halloran adds Hump of Trouble – Australia’s hardest route
- Wednesday 23rd August 2023
Tom O’Halloran has just made the first ascent of what is said to be Australia’s hardest sport route; Hump of Trouble.
Completing what is speculated to be Australia’s hardest sport route, Olympian Tom O’Halloran has finished his multi-year project to add what he’s called Hump of Trouble. As yet, O’Halloran hasn’t offered a grade for Hump of Trouble but it is thought to be in the 5.14d/5.15a or F9a/F9a+ territory.
An Australian based in the Blue Mountains above Sydney, Tom O’Halloran secured an Olympic qualification and completed in the Tokyo 2021 Games. Although not well-known to us on this side of the globe, Tom’s resume includes several 5.14d sport routes as well as a repeat of The Wheel of Life (V15/Font 8C).
Tom’s time with Hump of Trouble dates back a while to when he first bolted it in 2016. Between then and 2020 Tom spent over 60 days projecting it before first Covid restrictions and then preparation for the Tokyo Games. Since then a variety of injuries kept him away. Returning to the project recently Tom has finally been able to make the first ascent.
“It’s the hardest piece of climbing I feel like I’ve ever done,” Tom said about Hump of Trouble. As with many climbers doing long-standing first ascents, Tom hasn’t been able to offer a grade; “I have no idea of the grade. Anyone who has dived deep, deep, deep, on a first ascent redpoint will understand where I’m coming from here. There’s a certain point where the difficulty just doesn’t make sense anymore.”
Hump of Trouble, as perhaps the name suggests, isn’t the longest route in Australia – in fact, the short route has only just 15 moves. As well as the climbing, learning the body positions to just clip one of the bolts took Tom days to unlock. In terms of difficulty, Hump of Trouble is said to be two V13/Font 8B boulders back-to-back with no rest in between. Punching those metrics into Darth-Grader, the online sport route grading app, suggests that Hump of Trouble would be into the F9b+ grade range. Assigning a “soft” to both those boulder sections drops the overall route grade down to top-of-the-grade F9b – hence the speculation that O’Halloran’s Hump of Trouble is now Australia’s hardest sport route. It’s a heck of a way to travel for anyone not in that neck of the woods but maybe for anyone looking for a super bouldery route to try in the European summer it might be just the ticket.
Watch a video of Tom O’Halloran trying Hump of Trouble below.