ghisolfi the lonely mountain
Ghisolfi on the FA of 'Erebor' (5.15b); (photo/Sara Grippo)

Stefano Ghisolfi Frees Another 5.15b at Arco

The ‘new’ route takes the initially impossible direct finish from the start of ‘Erebor.’

At first, Stefano Ghisolfi added an alternate ending onto “Erebor” (9b/5.15b). When he first arrived at the hermitage of São Paulo, Arco, Italy, he didn’t know how to bolt. Now, it appeared, he’d bolted something impossible to climb.

That was in summer 2020. In January 2021, he redpointed the route, and Laura Rogora and Adam Ondra followed with repeats. On Dec. 18, Ghisolfi finally freed the original direct finish. “The Lonely Mountain” (9b/5.15b) resulted, in a way, from a collaborative effort. To do it, Ghisolfi Frankensteined his route beta with anything Rogora and Ondra had told him that worked.

“Both Adam and Laura had found new beta, and I started to adapt mine by conditioning them with theirs, finding still different methods,” he said (Google translated) on Upclimbing. “In the end, it remained an almost totally new route; I just rediscovered a route.”


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Steve Scassa helped Ghisolfi bolt what would become “The Lonely Mountain.”

“I had seen [the] line in the middle of two other [routes], on a very smooth part, so smooth that it had probably never even been considered as a way,” Ghisolfi said.

At first, the route refused to cohere as Ghisolfi envisioned it. Seemingly undeterred, he moved on, bolting the alternate finish.

“Not satisfied,” however, he returned to the original line.

Ghisolfi admits that giving the route a grade is a sticky process. Originally, “Erebor” was 9c/5.15c — Ondra downgraded it after his repeat, and no one made a strong enough argument to overturn it. Also, initially, “The Lonely Mountain” seemed to be a harder variant to “Erebor.”

hardest female rock climb
Laura Rogora Sends 5.15b/c 'Erebor,' Hardest Grade by a Female Climber
On Oct. 2, 20-year-old Laura Rogora set a new benchmark for the hardest rock climb done by a female climber. Three women, including Rogora, had previously climbed 5.15b. After 'Erebor,' 5.15b/c is the new benchmark. Read more…

So what now? Probably more haggling over consensus. Ghisolfi called “The Lonely Mountain” 5.15b “symbolically” but forecasted that it might settle anywhere from 5.15a to 5.15c.

Only repeats will tell.

Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.