French climber Seb Bouin made the first ascent of Legend (9a/5.14d) last week—an open project bolted 20 years ago. The 25-meter route maneuvers out of a steep cave at Pic Saint-Loup near Montpellier, France, but finishes around halfway up the cliff. Bouin also bolted an extension to Legend, which diverges before the last stretch then continues to the top of the cliff, but he wanted to wrap up the old project first and the extension remains unclimbed.
Bouin described the route’s two cruxes in an e-mail to Rock and Ice. The first crux works through an 8A (V11) boulder problem, and is followed
by a “quite overhanging” rest. While the first crux is lower-percentage, it is difficult to link through the second redpoint crux after the boulder
problem. The upper crimpy crux spit Bouin off three times. He worked the route between 10 and 15 days, sneaking in sessions between uncooperative weather.
Bouin sent after the route dried with summer, but was unable to complete the extension he bolted as he had to return to teaching. “The extension is for
sure harder,” Bouin explained. Less steep but still difficult, he believes it will bump the grade to 9a+ (5.15a) once completed. Bouin plans to travel
to Norway and Verdon this summer, but hopes to return to the route in September.
The French climber has repeated 29 routes between 9a and 9b (5.15b), and established nine in the same range. Last year, he completed the third ascent of Chilam Balam (9b) in Spain and repeated Thor’s Hammer (9a+/5.15a) in Norway. Bouin is also a strong boulderer, and claimed the second ascent of a V15 boulder near Paris in the same year.
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