After bagging the first repeat of Fugu (5.14d),the
first ascent of Delirium (5.14b), big walls in Madagascar and splitter cracks in Indian Creek, Roland Hemetzberger ended his “perfect
year” with the first ascent of Outro (5.15a)—his hardest send and first 5.15.
The 25-year-old German climber started out the year by sending five 5.14c’s, three in Spain and two in Austria. “Afterwards it was very unexpected that
I managed the first repeat of Adam Ondra’s Fugu,”
he told Rock and Ice. The route, at the famous Schleierwasserfall in Tirol, was an old Alex Huber project before Ondra’s ascent.
With Fugu, “I found something exact in my vision,” Hemetzberger told Rock and Ice in a previous interview, “steep but not a roof, endurance but with hard boulder problems and super beautiful rock.” Hemetzberger repeated
the climb after six days of effort.
When summer rolled along, Hemetzberger traveled to the Kaiser range of Austria, the northern terminus of the Alps, to take care of unfinished business. Three years ago, while
climbing Scheffler/Siegert (8a+/5.13c 6 A2), he spotted “a super steep, blank wall without any routes,” he wrote on his blog.
The next year, he returned with friends and established the first meters of a new route. Another fall, winter and spring passed before they completed the
route, ground-up and in “the best style” they could. It took three days to top out, but due to bad conditions, they were not able to redpoint every
Hemetzberger returned once again. With better weather, and after spending four days to become reacquainted with the crux sequence, he sent the route in
a single day. Delirium, 13 pitches, went free at (8c/5.14b).
“…long summer days in the higher altitude and the beautiful views make these moments unforgettable,” Hemetzberger said. “These days are way stronger
in my mind than just a sport climbing day in a crag.”
Watch Roland Hemetzberger climb Delirium (5.14b):
Afterwards, Hemetzberger did some big wall climbing in Madagascar and crack climbing in Indian Creek, Utah—his first climbing trips
overseas, he said—before returning to Siurana, Spain for “Project Siurana,” Black Diamond’s stewardship project.
In Siurana, he climbed Gabriele Moroni’s La Carriola (8c+/5.14c), the direct start of Lola Corwin (~8c/5.14b).
Hemetzberger then set his sights on an old Stefan Fürst project in Achleiten, Austria. Fürst, a relatively unknown yet legendary first ascentionist, first
attempted the line in the mid-90s. The project remained unclimbed for nearly 22 years.
never invested so much time and effort in a route,” Hemetzberger said, “and fortunately in the end of a perfect year I climbed my hardest route so
far.” He claimed the route’s coveted first ascent on December 25 and suggested 9a+ (5.15a) for the grade.
Outro, the name Hemetzberger gave the route, is his first venture into 5.15 territory. He only suggested the grade, since he has never climbed
a 5.15a before. “..it’s very hard to compare all the routes that I did in the past but Outro is for sure my hardest,” he said. “ I hope other
climbers will get in touch with this awesome route.”