Bernd Zangerl explores his limits on Grenzenlos in Valle dell’Orco
Austrian boulderer Bernd Zangerl has made the first ascent of a difficult crack called Grenzenlos in Valle Orco, Italy. Protected with a pecker, it is a mix between a trad climb and a highball.
Ever since 2012 Austrian climber Bernd Zangerl has made Valle dell’Orco his second home and in early October the 42-year-old freed a thin crack that in some ways surpasses one of his most famous valley creations, the highball 29dots. The leftwards trending razor-thin crack slices through a 10m boulder and disappears just below the summit where the physical and psychological crux awaits. Zangerl isn’t a great fan of dozens and dozens of crashpads stacked on top of each other after having worked the moves he eventually decided to protect the crack with a cam low down and a pecker at the crux ... Currently no grade has been put forth, but the highball is called Grenzenlos, limitless.
GRENZENLOS by Bernd Zangerl
Whenever I visit an area, it’s not the existing routes that catch my eye; the lines that catch my attention are the ones that no one has ever climbed before. I enjoy working on something that hasn’t been explored yet, not knowing I will ever succeed. This kind of inspiration keeps motivation high and, to this day, nothing has changed for me in this perspective.
For for the last 10 years I’ve been a frequent guest of the beautiful Valle dell’Orco in Italy. I love this remote, wild mountain region and every year I visit Noasca. This little village is the best starting point for climbing adventures in the valley, and over all those years I’ve established numerous little sectors. Bravirabi (8A), Self aperto (8A), I coloniali sd (8B/C) or 29dots (8A+),to name just a few, all offer world class bouldering. Back in 2015 I made the first ascent of the 13m highball 29dots which, in terms of difficulty and exposure, remains absolute highlight. I didn’t plan to push this style even further when I drove into the valley this September. But what should I do? Suddenly the bloc was there in front of me, and I could either accept the challenge or turn away.
At the end of October I established my most beautiful climb to date and, because of the unorthodox protection, it might be one of the wildest, too. I wanted to boulder up the 10m wall, but it turned out that falling from the upper crux right was not an option. I could have built a landing zone or organise 10 crashpads which has become „normal“ in the climbing community, but I’m not a fan of this.
Adapting the challenge to a personal comfort zone would certainly have made the first ascent easier and quicker, for sure. But isn’t Mother Nature the director, she who lays down challenge for us, also in terms of pro ? Physically I knew straight away that I could do this project, the crux was in my mind. In mental & physical challenges like this one I prefer to work alone or with my best friend. I am old school, but choosing the longer option also results in a more intense analysis of the project.
I named this route Grenzenlos (without borders, limitless), because when external circumstances apparently limit our liberty, our minds push us to overcome these limitations. The mind has no limits.