‘Brandenburg Gate’ was the last unfinished project at Raven Tor, England’s most revered sport climbing cliff. On Sunday, Scotsman Will Bosi sent it in short order. Long thought to be at least 9b/5.15b, Bosi graded the route 9a+/5.15a.
This season, Will Bosi leveraged the power of youth to send some of Raven Tor’s oldest projects. His repeat of Steve McClure’s “Mutation” (5.15a) last week was the first in the route’s 23-year history. Now, Bosi has closed the iconic cliff’s longest-standing open project.
The 22-year-old dispatched “Brandenburg Gate” with much less of a fight, sending it in a handful of goes on Sunday. He’d inspected the line, which takes steep terrain just right of Ben Moon’s historic “Hubble,” on rappel a few years back.
“I am so happy that such an iconic open project was able to go down so quickly compared to my battle with Mutation,” Bosi said. “Once conditions improved at [Raven Tor], I began to put a number of sessions together, and the sequence came together rather quickly for me. Once Mutation was out of the way, it was great to return and clip the chains on this one!”
Reportedly, no one had threatened to send the route since John Gaskins in the early 2000s. Watch the first minute of the YouTube video, and you’ll understand why. A series of ridiculous holds contort Bosi’s hands into fearful shapes, and he throws a left foot above his left shoulder on the wildly overhanging terrain.
So … How Hard Is Raven Tor’s ‘Brandenburg Gate’?
Regardless of the climb itself, the inevitable judgment looms: How hard is it? As one might expect, Bosi thinks it’s a lot easier than “Mutation” — but, he thinks, perceptibly harder than “Hubble.”
“The climb is very similar to Hubble in a sense, but the sequence of moves are a lot more complex and technically demanding. My view is that Brandenburg was a soft end 5.15a, in comparison to Mutation, which I regard as solid 5.15a. The climbing was harder than other 5.14d’s I have done in the past but not by a large degree, so I feel it just about deserves 5.15a.”
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But perception is a dubious tool for objective decision-making. Previous wisdom indicated “Brandenburg Gate” was at least 5.15b — before Bosi, it had denied generations of elite climbers.
Bosi levied a caveat (and a challenge to other climbers?) along with his grade.
“However, again, I look forward to seeing the route get more ascents so the grade can settle one way or the other.”