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Europe’s Hardest Crack Climb

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Didier Berthod, a 22-year-old Swiss climber, has redpointed a 12-meter roof crack on the granite of Orco Valley, Italy, and graded it 5.14. The route follows a horizontal finger, hand, and fist crack across a 45-degree overhang and was protected with pre-placed, removable gear. Berthod called it Greenspit — “spit” is the word for bolt in several European countries. Berthod, who has climbed up to 8c+ (5.14c) on limestone as well as 5.13 cracks in Yosemite Valley, said that European crack climbs are often overgraded compared with their American counterparts. He said Greenspit would rate 5.14a in Yosemite, but might go as high as 5.14d in Europe. America’s hardest crack climb is probably Magic Line (5.14b), a thin seam in Yosmite climbed by Ron Kauk, who also pre-protected the climb. Up-and-coming crack climbers face a clear challenge: Climb these state-of-the-art crack routes in traditional style, placing gear on the lead. For a photo of Greenspit, go to http://bouldering.info/base.html.