It hasn’t worked out yet. For a while now, we’ve been trying to document an ascent of ‘Alter Traum’, Xa, RP Xb in Oybin in the Žitava mountains (one of the oldest 7c+ in the world, editor’s note). According to our digging, this approximately 50m route seems to be the oldest ten-grade route in sandstone history.
Werner Schönlebe, who we’re trying to hunt down, did it in November 1981 and unwittingly beat Bernd Arnold, who did his first ten the following April in Rathen (‘Schallmauer’ Xa, fr. 7b+, on the Amselspitze, editor’s note) and even Jindřich ‘Hudy’ Hudeček and his variant of Arnold’s route ‘Superdirekte Wand der Abendröte’ Xa on the Nonnengärtner in September 1982. Why unwittingly? Werner graded the route IXb (fr. 7a), which with time, proved to be completely wrong.
To compare with the Czech’s progress in grade-pushing, Roman Brt started doing tens in the Pantheon in 1983. The famous ‘Petr a Pavel’ route in Prachov graded Xa was done in 1986 and in the same year the first Xa in Tisá was done, dubbed ‘Škalda’. That fruitful year also brought about the first Xa in the Elbe valley, ‘Světelný rok’, also by ‘Hudy’, which has been since downgraded to IXc, so another route by ‘Hudy’ from 1988 called ‘Bílá oblaka’ now holds the title. The legendary ‘Špek’ did his first ten in 1991.
The slightly overhanging ‘Alter Traum’ therefore surpassed all the aforementioned first ascents. “It’s also pretty deserving of the grade, considering that it’s the first,’ says Honza Kendík, who we filmed during an attempt in August this year. (Honza climbs 8b+ on sport routes, editor’s note). He could not however climb the crux above the third ringbolt, despite an early start. He added to Sam Mašťálko’s bail, who we filmed on the route three years ago.
We plan to head back to Oybin to film once more in the autumn – for a third time, hopefully with better friction. Hopefully, we’ll manage a team AF, if we use our whole team’s strength. We checked the logbook, and the route has only had seven repeats – the last in autumn of 2009. We weren’t exactly thorough while leafing through it, but it also seems the route has never been repeated by a Czech person. Ondra Sojka came close a few years ago, who got above the crux move into a shallow crack, but the February cold got the better of him, and he also subsequently bailed.