21 August 2011
Nico Favresse and Adam Pustelnik have recently done the first repeat of Orbayu, the route established on 2009 by the Pou Brothers, and graded 8c+/9a, so the most difficult multipitch of the world. Nico and Adam reconsidered the grade of the route, suggesting 8c /8b+ depending from the height of the climber.
Here, on Pou website, the point of view of the basque brothers:
"In the summer of 2009 we spent many days of effort and excitement creating Orbayu; and several days more trying to free climb it. The fifth pitch (the crux pitch) was a real headache and for several days we really doubted whether we were capable of doing it. (....) Despite wanting closure on the Orbayu project after having invested so much time in the initial opening of the route and the subsequent attempts at free climbing it, we decided that our climbing ethics left us with no choice but to persevere until we had successfully free climbed the crux pitch. This difficult decision led us to spend several more days on the wall, but finally we were able to ‘scend Orbayu, from bottom to top in one day, exactly as we had dreamt and intended from the start.
This summer (2011) marks the first repetition of this route, by the hands of Nicolas Favresse and Adam Pustelnik. They beg to differ with our appraisal of the route’s grade believing the route to be below our estimitation, with Nicolas suggesting 8b+ and Adam (who is similar in stature to Iker) 8c, despite that fact that they used the original system.
In 2009, and informed by our experience on some of the hardest walls in the world, we decided to grade Orbayu as an 8c+/9a, which meant that our route had the hardest grade in big wall climbing at that time. In all honesty, and as has always been a common thread in our careers, we graded the route based on the effort (the number of attempts) we put into it. (...)
Despite all this, and after a project of such magnitude, in the summer of 2010 we decided to compare and contrast Orbayu with some of the routes from the European canon. We chose: Solo Per Vecchi Guerrieri 8c/170 m, Pan Aroma 8c/550 m and Zahir 8b+/350 m.
After that summer, and with all those routes completed relatively quickly, we returned home completely satisfied and convinced in our grading Orbayu.
Now Nico and Adam consider that we did make a mistake. We are left with no alternative but to accept that we were wrong, but, truth be told, having climbed innumerable hard routes around the world, we continue to believe that even if we did mistake our initial grading of Orbayu, the route is definitely closer to the grade we proposed than those proposed by Nicolas and Adam.
With that point cleared up, we would like to offer them our most sincere congratulations for the ascent- because, as they themselves have recognized “Orbayu is an exceptional route” and at the end of the day that is the most important thing for any climber opening a new route. We also want to wish Adam the very best, and a speedy and total recovery from his serious accident on the Naranjo de Bulnes."
Source and more infos: POU BROTHERS WEBSITE