The French climber seems committed to breaking barriers this year by sending new routes at the upper limits of sport climbing difficulty.
Seb Bouin has done it again. Just weeks after announcing his intention to finish a harder variation to 5.15b “Jumbo Love,” Bouin sent the new line, he announced Thursday.
He’s graded “Suprême Jumbo Love” at 5.15c, making it the most difficult sport climb in America. No other route has received that grade. Given Bouin’s repeats of many of the world’s hardest routes, his opinion can probably be trusted.
Equally significant, the original bolter of “Jumbo Love” — Randy Leavitt — belayed Bouin as he developed his variation on a wall located in the far reaches of the Mojave Desert.
“This route and this place have been in my mind since I started climbing,” Bouin wrote on Instagram. “Sometime everything just comes together, shape, conditions, vibes, friends, cameraman, luck … I know it doesn’t happen that often, and I am very grateful to live such big moments.”
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A Wall With a Long History
“Suprême Jumbo Love” builds on the work of several climbers who came before Bouin — who has repeatedly paid homage to their “futuristic” vision.
American route-developer Randy Leavitt had bolted the line that would become “Jumbo Love” back in the mid-2000s. Then, Chris Sharma came along and sent the thing a few years later.
But Sharma wasn’t quite done. In 2010, he added two extra bolts for an alternate sequence yet never redpointed the variation.
No one had — until Bouin this week.
The variation adds about 60 feet of “hard climbing” before even reaching the crux of the original “Jumbo Love,” Bouin wrote on Instagram. Then there’s the second part of “Jumbo Love,” which is “really physical and pump-y,” he wrote.
“The route is around 70m, and the hardest part of this route is to combine everything. The first 9a is quite tricky, and it’s easy to fall, even if you have the power. Then you have this Jumbo Love crux, where it’s definitely possible to fall even if you have the power,” he wrote.
Bouin consulted with Sharma before assigning the 5.15c grade, which Bouin said “feels appropriate.”
“I believe it’s now the first one in the Americas!” he wrote. “I am happy to play a part in this story with such great history and with love at the centre of it all!”