In Chile Pirmin Bertle makes first ascent of South America's hardest sport climb
In August at the crag Socaire in Chile German climber Pirmin Bertle made the first ascent of 'Le vent nous portera'. Graded 9a+, this is the hardest sport climb in the country and South America.
With time still to spare after the first ascent of Bolivia's hardest sport climb, En este luz te ves como Poseidon at El Eden, 32-year-old Pirmin Bertle returned to Socaire in the Atacama desert in Chile where he managed to make the first ascent of Le vent nous portera. 30m high and with an 8B boulder crux after 55 moves, this now checks in as the hardest climb not only in the country, but on the entire Latin American continent.
Bertle recounted: "Le vent nous portera - The wind will carry us. Over the highlands of the Altiplano. Through the magic of the dust, the snow, the steppe, volcanos and the ever brighter stars to the most beautiful rocks we never could imagine. All unexplored. And ready to be bolted with just some lonesomes, shining lines. Lines as this one. Latin America’s first 9a+.
The wind did carry me in many different ways. Together with the hight it made me lighter and filled my veins with haemoglobin – endless stamina. It made me tougher and even more resistant to the omnipresent cold, the minus 20 degrees at night and the five at daytime. And it boosted my specific shape on the mostly only slightly overhanging walls of the volcanic ashes, the tiny holds, the super precise climbing.
In the end, after having spent four weeks in Socaire in June and then again some days in August, one last heavy storm with up to 140km/h forced me to rest another five days with only one day with softer climbing in between. It forced me to be in the perfect shape. To send it in the first try on August the 14th after less about twenty tries in all. Our six weeks of absence from Socaire (purely above 3500m and with about three kilograms less than before) was the greatest boost in shape I ever have encountered in my climbing life. At the age of 32.
The route might be among the most aesthetic high end lines in the world. Both regarding the movements and the optical aspects. 30m high on perfect volcano rock with tiny pockets, highly technical, super precise climbing, plenty of different colours and a final 8B crux after more than 50 moves including a beautiful opening boulder and an 8b+ slab, linked to the crux by only a bad rest.