Slovenia's toughest rock route climbed
Two Slovenian rock climbers have conquered a new, 700-metre route up Mount Rjavina in the Julian Alps in what is the country's toughest rock climbing route yet, graded X on the UIAA scale.
Luka Lindič and Luka Krajnc discovered and climbed the new route in August and they talked about their feat to the Slovenian Alpine Association in an interview released on 28 November.
"The steep, overhang climbing, where your legs sometimes dangle in the air, is what we usually imagine when we think about hard climbing," Lindič said.
He remembers that when he and Krajnc first joined a mountain climbing school some 20 years ago, their only experience of this type of climbing came from posters on the walls.
Lindič and Krajnc mostly climbed together and their first climbing years were full of immense enthusiasm, gaining experience on the classic Slovenian routes and hammering pitons.
After they climbed the toughest modern climbing routes in Slovenia, they found a challenge in the north face of Mount Rjavina (2,532 m), a peak in the Julian Alps between the valleys of Kot and Krma.
"We didn't know exactly what we were going to find, but already at the first visit we had a hunch that we were opening a chapter that would not be completed that fast," said Lindič.
The climbers visited the site 18 times across three summers, realising early on that the terrain was the most challenging they ever faced in Slovenia and that they would need to be inventive to be safe.
They spent the first few visits cleaning the rock and studying the climb. They used mostly pitons and bolts for safety and had to secure some key holds with glue.
The majority of the route still surprised them with an above-average rock quality compared to other overhangs in the Slovenian mountains, said Lindič.
They named the route Beauty and the Beast because it is beautiful, while knowing how to show its teeth.
The rainy summer washed away their first attempts to climb the route. When they almost gave up, a period of dry weather came and the pair were able to complete the route on 20 August in 11 hours.
They graded the route at X on the UIAA scale or 8b on the French scale. Reducing the climb to only its grade is nonsensical, said Krajnc, adding that they valued the experience more.
Lindič and Krajnc have climbed hundreds of routes together, such as the Forest Gump in the Dolomites and the Divine Providence in the foothills of Mont Blanc. In 2020 they climbed the south face of Aguja Saint-Exupery in Patagonia, establishing a new route they called Peace.