seb bouin thor's 2
Seb Bouin swinging on "Thor's Hammer II"; (photo/Marco Müller @climbimarco)

Seb Bouin Climbs Another Flatanger 5.15, Aims at Futuristic 5.15d

In Norway’s famous playground for elite climbers, Sébastien Bouin delivered another repeat of an Adam Ondra 5.15. But the route is just a (relatively tiny) piece of what he sees as the bigger picture.

French climbing phenom Seb Bouin just ticked off another 5.15 route in Flatanger, Norway, bringing him one step closer to an even more ambitious goal.

On Instagram this week, Bouin showed off his repeat of “Thor’s Hammer II,” a 5.15a/9a+ route that Adam Ondra first climbed in 2017.

It’s a small, 82-foot section of Bouin’s longer-term goal: to finish a 426-foot line speculatively rated 5.15d. That would make it one of the three hardest routes in the world and the longest single pitch of sport climbing anywhere.

thor's hammer 2
(Photo/Marco Müller @climbimarco)

The project builds on the previous work of Norwegian climber Magnus Midtbø, who first bolted the climb in 2012 for a multipitch project. Five years later, Ondra finished the line, which extends from the finish of either “Nordic Plumber” (5.14b) or “Thor’s Hammer” (5.14d), continuing to the lip of the cave.

Following in the footsteps of both Ondra and Midtbø, Bouin hopes to create a new “mega-route” that would likely reach 5.15d in difficulty.

“The idea of Adam Ondra is to cross the cave from the bottom to the top on the most overhanging part (it’s basically a roof), and finish via this pitch,” Bouin wrote on Instagram. “This is truly something which excites me!”

‘Hard to Imagine’

The next-generation route envisioned by Bouin would start from the 180-foot “Move” (5.15b), climb through areas established by Ondra and Midtbø, then continue onto the Flatanger headwall.

Completing it will require scouting and bolting another 180-foot pitch to the top. How hard it could be is anybody’s guess. In total, the mega-project would require massive strength and endurance to complete, Bouin wrote.

To finish the 430-foot behemoth in total, the climber would have to switch ropes at least once. And it would force individual moves as hard as 5.14d/V12.

“It’s hard to imagine what the overall grade that this project might be, but one thing is sure, [‘Thor’s Hammer II’] makes it really hard due to the style and the combination of the cruxes,” Bouin wrote. “Adam and I think this route could be 9c.”

seb bouin flatanger
(Photo/Marco Müller @climbimarco)

If he ever sends it, it will add to his short but distinct list of 5.15d ascents. Bouin made international climbing headlines earlier this year with a proposed grade of 5.15d for his first ascent of “DNA” near France’s Verdon Gorge. It’s only the second climb to receive the cutting-edge grade, and Bouin invited climbers to come take a crack at it.

Like Ondra’s landmark “Silence,” it remains unrepeated — so far.

seb bouin iron curtain
Seb Bouin Makes First Repeat of Ondra's 'Iron Curtain' at Flatanger
The French rock jock Seb Bouin cued up a knee pad to soften the crux, and gave the route a personal downgrade to 5.15a/9a+. Read more…

Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.