[VIDEO] Bouin on Akira

The world first 9b

05 February 2021
Seb Bouin talks about his ascent of Akira, 9b downgraded to 9a.

Seb Bouin, strong French climber, has signed the first repetition of Akira, together with Lucien Martinez, in Les Eaux Claires. After 25 years after the first ascent by Fred Rouhling, the two climbes have confronted themself with this iconic route.

With some new betas, the first boulder has been downgraded from 8B to 7C. The only one who has been close to send it before them, has been Dani Andrada, local of Cueva the Alì Baba, a cave really similar to Akira’s one. In fact, akira is really similar to all the route in Cueva, that start with a boulder section and then the go to a sport route. 

For 25 years, Fred Rouhling’s masterpiece sat nearly untouched. Dust and cobwebs covered the holds. The chalk, once a beacon of light in a dark cave, both figuratively and literally, was fading. But in 1995, while Rouhling cared for his wife Celine who was recovering from a serious spinal cord injury, this cave was a refuge for a worried man. Located just 200 meters from his parent’s home, this limestone cave gave Rouhling a few hours of escape every day during his wife’s recovery. A place where he could relax his mind and let his body flow through 65 feet of overhanging crimps and pockets. When he completed the route, he called it Akira and proposed the unprecedented grade of 5.15b. Considering that was two letter grades harder than anything in the world at the time, many considered Rouhling an eccentric who was out of touch. But after all these years, this route, which was once a mental sanctuary for a distraught husband, was left waiting for someone who could also find meaning in the movement. Fortunately, BD Athlete Seb Bouin was intrigued and journeyed to the village of Vilhonneur to uncover the mythical Akira.

From Black Diamond YT channel


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