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A Line Above the Sky (D15), allegedly the hardest dry tooling route in the world, saw its first repeat this weekend when French climber Gaetan Raymond successfully traversed across the 50 meter roof climb and clipped the chains.
“It’s a big fight,” Raymond says in the video of his ascent, “definitely a big endurance route … You have to arrive there fresh and never give up.”
The route is located at Tomorrow’s World—a cave in the Italian Dolomites with numerous challenging, crisscrossing dry tooling routes that traverse the horizontal roof. Tom Ballard, who has largely developed Tomorrow’s World, made the first ascent of A Line Above the Sky earlier this month, suggesting a dry tooling grade (pure rock, no ice) of D15.
“Often the rock is smooth and blank,” Ballard told Rock and Ice after his ascent, and it leaves you “desperately trying to get even the minutest purchase on the marginal footholds.”
As with any new “hardest route,” Ballard’s route has awaited a repeat ascent to either confirm or deny the grade. Now it falls on Raymond, who followed Ballard’s lead and competed the route in pure Dry Tooling Style (DTS) to weigh in.
“As for the grade, it’s difficult to say,” Raymond told Planet Mountain. “It’s mainly endurance with only three to four D12 long moves. But bearing in mind its length, a full 50 meter roof, D15 could be confirmed.”
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