Nothing is more terrifying than swinging at the edge of a mountain. Yet some adventurers are just crazy enough to take advantage of it. Whether someone is new to climbing or a seasoned adventurer, no one can deny the thrill of accomplishment when reaching the top. Of course, not all climbing passages are created equal, with some being more difficult than others. Well, for these climbing routes, the word “difficult” is an understatement.
All important climbing routes are given a grade determining their level of difficulty and these mountains are among the highest in the game. We will detail the grade of each climbing route via the American Yosemite decimal system. Now marvel at the ten most demanding climbing routes in the world.
10/10 Beyond the Integral (5.15b/c) – France
This gnarly route is located on the Pic Saint-Loup and is a steep overhanging climb of almost fifty meters. The first person to completely climb the climbing route is French climber Sébastien Bouin.
First line bolted by Fedric Ferraro, Beyond Integral is an intense climb reserved for the most experienced climbers ready for the challenge.
Bouin described the course: “The moves are incredible and spectacular, jumps, drop knees, hills, tuffs, crimps…all the ingredients for a perfect draft.”
9/10 Adam’s Rage (5.15b/5.15c) – France
Another French climb ridden by Bouin, La Rage d’Adam is located in La Ramirole, France, in the Gorges du Verdon. This route was such a struggle for Bouin that it took him four years to complete. The climber named the route after his friend and fellow climber Adam Ondra who was unable to complete it.
While Bouin rated La Rage d’Adam 5.15b/c, Ondra argues that it could be more difficult.
Ondra explained: “I guess it could be more than 9b/b+, if not even harder, based on my one and only road experience – which I thought was HARD!”
8/10 Dawn Wall (5.14d) – USA
Located in beautiful Yosemite National Park (well worth a visit even for non-climbers), Dawn Wall is considered perhaps the hardest climbing route despite its quality.
Dawn Wall is located on El Capitan and was first climbed by Tommy Caldwell. Of all the climbing routes in El Capitan, Dawn Wall has the most climbing terrain (thirty-two to be exact) and takes place 3,000 feet above the water.
This American climbing route is definitely not for the faint of heart.
7/10 Bibliography (5.15c) – France
Edited by Alex Megos, Bibliography is a French way also called Realization. This ascent is located on the south face of the Céüse mountain in Gap, France.
Requiring tricky climbing techniques, this route had previously scored a daunting 5.15d. However, in 2021 the climb was repeated by Stefano Ghisolfi who then agreed with Megos to downgrade the course to 5.15c.
Despite the downgraded rating, the Bibliography is a force to be reckoned with.
6/10 Perfecto Mundo (5.15c) – Spain
Perfecto Mundo is in Margalef, Spain and was also first bred by Megos. Climber Stefano Ghisolfi has also climbed this route and said it forces adventurers to be as nimble and flexible as possible.
Stefano clarified that climbers must have “acrobatic abilities just to contort your body around its unforgiving edges”. Although first bolted by Chris Sharma in 2008, Perfecto Mundo went nearly a decade without successful climbers due to its harsh conditions.
5/10 Change (5.15c) – Norway
Although Adam Ondra was unable to complete The Rage of Adam, he climbed the difficult Change in Norway. In the Hanshallaren cave of Flatanger, Ondra climbed for the first time in 2012 when he was only eighteen years old.
Certainly an achievement, Change was the first climbing route to achieve a 5.15c rating. The only other person to have repeated the ascent of this ascent is Stefano Ghisolfi.
Steep and borderline horizontal, Change is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous climbing routes in the world.
4/10 Vasil Vasil (5.15c) – Czech Republic
This route in the Czech Republic is the third 5.15c ascent by Ondra who has also bolted it. First completed in 2013, Vasil Vasil has since gained notoriety for its grueling ascent. Although it is significantly shorter at only 12 meters high, it is no less challenging.
When Ondra first locked the route, he considered it an impossible climb. Still, he was proven wrong after overcoming intense conditions and risky sequencing.
Don’t let its length fool; Vasil Vasil in Brno, Czech Republic is on this list for good reason.
3/10 La Dura Dura (5.15c) – Spain
This Catalan mountain climb is called “The Hard Hard” for a reason. This dangerous limestone cliff requires climbers to be of a minimum height due to a large leap required to move to a crimp that includes one of the cruxes.
Of course, that doesn’t mean smaller climbers can’t complete this trek, but it will be harder than it already is. This 50-meter route offers a perilous but breathtaking view for climbers clinging to the edge of the cliff.
2/10 DNA (5.15d) – France
Freshly rated by Sébastien Bouin in 5.15d, DNA in Vernon Gorge is now competing as the toughest mountaineering route in the world. Bouin first plotted the course in 2019 but was unable to complete it until April 2022.
It took the master climber nearly 250 tries spread over 150 days to finally complete this route. Although his rating has yet to be confirmed, DNA can still be considered one of the most fearsome paths that even Bouin fiercely struggled to achieve.
1/10 Silence (5.15d) – Norway
Without a doubt, this Norwegian climbing route is the riskiest and most perilous in the world. Set in Flatanger, Norway, Silence has only been fully completed once. This was done by Adam Ondra on September 3, 2017.
Considered the toughest climb of his life, Silence easily earned a confirmed 5.15d, which is the first route ever rated this way.
Stefano Ghisolfi attempted the course and agrees with the rating. He said he hopes to try Silence again in 2023.
Due to the dangers of this climb, only experienced and qualified individuals should attempt this climbing route. Yet the achievement of climbing this mountain would last a lifetime.