New Zealand is a wonderland of glaciers, rainforests, rugged coastlines and amazing climbing. Black Diamond Ambassador Roland Hemetzberger traveled to NZ to sample all that it has to offer, and ended up making the first ascent of Nebuchadnezzar. Rolo has offered the grade of 9a, which would make it the hardest route in New Zealand.


We were traveling to New Zealand to check out the climbing. Weather and other circumstances made us go to the very south of the South island to Fjordland around the legendary Milford Sound.


This is supposed to be the best place for harder sport climbing. So we did. After checking out the crag and its sectors, Roland heard of this open project bolted by New Zealand climber Derek Thatcher. The project wasn’t only hard, but also the wall gets wet pretty fast and on this part of the island there is more rain than anywhere else.



Then, there was this unlikely good weather window: Roland had three days to get the route done. It was totally his style– worldclass rock, slightly overhanging. On the last day before the rain came back, Rolo slipped on the very very last move of the crux…
Then, it started to rain. Rolo-the-beast just had one last go. I was belaying, standing in the rain totally pouring down on me, no chance there would be another go for a long time…  And then he sent it. So cool. Couldn’t have been better for Rolo.
–Stefan Kuehn


“I never thought that I’d be able to climb a project which was so close to my limit, considering the period of time that I had.”
—Roland Hemetzberger

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