Centercourt repeated twice in the Gasteinertal, Austria
Centercourt, the new extreme testpiece first climbed by Albert Leichtfried and Benedikt Purner at the start of Janauary, has been repeated twice, by the Slovenians Aljaz Anderl and Klemen Premrl and the Austrians Rudolf Hauser and Helmut Holleis.
Before reading what the repeaters had to say about the climb, we'd like to draw attention once again to how difficult it is to give a grade to an ice climb. As difficult almost as it is to measure the flimsiness of the raw material itself. It's a known fact: ice conditions can change from one day to the next, from one hour even to the next, changing the climbing (read technical difficulties) and the protection (read psychological difficulties). Providing a concrete comparison and experiencing the same climb is practically impossible, especially if the ice is very thin, as in the case of Centercourt... A route which, no doubt you'll remember, was defined by Albert Leichtfried and his undoubtable ice climbing experience as the most demanding he's ever climbed.
After the first repeat Aljaz Anderl explained: "It seemed a very good line, which forms once in who-knows-how-many-years, so we simply had to go there. I had climbed a few routes of similar difficulties in the past, but none with such thin patches of fragile ice. I think it deserved its grade, although it would have been much easier with more ice. It was a game of nerves and aching calves. The trick was to climb very precisely and calmly, you couldn't afford to slip or whack the ice too hard. The protection was very marginal, with 3 short screws and a Friend way down, but the bolt that Albert put in eased a lot of the tension. Regardless, a fall on the long runout would be severe."
Hauser - who recently made headline news for his first ascent of the nearby Gamsstubenfall (800m, WI7) and his solo of the classic Supervisor (270m, WI6) - recounted his experience as follows: "On the whole conditions were poor and the climb was definitely a psychological affair. On the crux pitch I managed to place a Friend and a good nut before reaching the bolt, from here onwards things became more delicate and tricky, as the route turned into something very Scottish. Delicate hooks on the rock led me to the thin ice in the overhang, and a few minutes later I managed to get established on the ice shield above, which was only a few centimetres thick. The bolt renders the route slightly less dangerous but takes little away from its alpine character and on the whole Centercourt is a world-class line, comparable in difficulty I believe to Good spirit, the 230m masterpiece first ascended by Christophe Moulin and Max Berger in the Stubachtal and graded WI7-, M6+."