Fred on L’autre Côté du Ciel, Eaux Claires, France.
The French climber Fred Rouhling, profiled in Climbing #232, (L’autre Côté de Fred Rouhling) has completed his fourth new route rated 5.14d or harder. Mandallaz Drive (9a/5.14d) is the first extremely difficult new route by Rouhling in eight years. The climb is at d’Allonzier la Caille, near Rouhling’s new home in Haute-Savoie, south of Geneva. Rouhling made the news in the early 1990s because his first 5.14-plus new route, Hugh, was so blatantly chipped — and because of the monstrous, all-points-off dyno the climb requires. But he really became a center of controversy when he gave the unprecedented grade of 9b (5.15b) to his climb Akira in southwestern France. Established in 1995, Akira is unrepeated, and nearly a decade later no one has graded another climb 9b.