Nalle Hukkataival irons out Bügeleisen sit start in Austria's Maltatal
On 1 May 2014 Nalle Hukkataival sent the sit-down start to Bügeleisen in Maltatal, Austria.
Another journey, another stunning problem in the bag for Nalle Hukkataival who on Thursday afternoon got to grips with what he himself defined as "one of the BEST hard boulders in the world." We're obviously talking about Bügeleisen, that smooth upside down sheet of rock in Austria's Maltatal, first climbed by Klem Loskot back in 2001 and then repeated for the first time, a staggering 12 years later, by Hukkataival himself. On that occasion the Finn confirmed the problem's beauty and he also told us that things could even go a stage further: instead of starting standing as Loskot had done, a few moves lower down would add a difficult sit-down start. At the time Hukkataival quickly sent the single moves but bad weather and the flu then forced him to abandon his attempts.
Hukkataival's words and project didn't fall on deaf ears and in the meantime young Slovenian Rok Klancnik clinched the third ascent, but the sit-start remained open business, a small dream to be capped. Until last Thursday. In truth things didn't go as smoothly as hoped, as Hukkataival told us: "The weather made it very challenging to say the least. Last October I came back to try it only to find the boulder wet the entire time." So after leaving empty handed once again, only this time round did he finally manage to lay his hands on those tiny starting holds, and the result surprised him "The whole boulder is sustained and to link the full line from the sit start proved to be harder than I originally expected."
How much harder? is the questions that immediately springs to mind. At present Hukkataival hasn't put forward a grade, all we know are his sensations that led him to state this "could be the hardest thing I've climbed." Does this suffice to push Bügeleisen complete from its original 8B+ to 8C, or possibly even harder and therefore to the very top of world bouldering? We don't know, this is merely speculation and for Hukkataival to decide and for others to confirm. What is certain though is that this is a beautiful problem and a superbly tough challenge for all.