Alessandro Zeni deciphers Cryptography, 9b slab at Saint Loup in Switzerland

On 11 January 2020 Italian climber Alessandro Zeni made the first ascent of Cryptography, a combination of Bain de Sang and Bimbaluna at the crag Saint Loup in Switzerland. The 28-year-old has put forward the grade 9b, indicating it is it one of the most difficult slabs in the world.
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Alessandro Zeni making the first ascent of Cryptography, 9b slab at Saint Loup in Switzerland
Stefano Jeantet

On 11 January 2020 Alessandro Zeni managed to free his difficult project at the historic crag Saint Loup in Switzerland that links two of the world’s most famous slab climbs, Bain de Sang and Bimbaluna.

Bain de Sang was established way back in 1993 by Fred Nicole and graded 9a, while immediately to the right his brother François Nicole managed to add Bimbaluna in 2004, suggesting 9a/a+. It was while repeating the latter in 2017 that Zeni had "... a crazy, wonderful idea”, namely to link the two most difficult sections of both of these routes into one, starting from Bain and ending up Bimba.

In order to succeed the 28-year-old invested numerous attempts and +600km journeys from his home in the Dolomites to Swiss crag. Zeni suggests his Cryptography link-up warrants 9b. Should the grade be confirmed, then this checks in as one of the most difficult slabs in the world, on a par with Disbelief at Acephale in Canada freed by Adam Ondra in 2018.

For years Zeni has specialised in slab climbing and, after numerous high-end repeats, towards the end of 2018 he established the 9a+ Cosmic Energy at the Bilico crag in the Dolomites.

>> Read Ale Zeni's report

Alessandro thanks C.S. Esercito and his sponsors: KarposLa Sportiva, Grivel 

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