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Matej Sova climbing his eight-year-long project, Privid (8c+, 25m), Bohinjska Bela, Slovenia. In 1999 Sova bolted the line, which was not climbed until unusually dry weather allowed Sova’s friend, Klemen Becan, to make the first ascent in May. Becan’s success spurred Sova to return for the second ascent, which he made three weeks later, on June 13. [Photo] Urban Golob

The technical, footwork-intensive crag of Bohinjska Bela, in the north of Slovenia, was travelled by classic alpinists in the 1960s. Since the rise of sport climbing in the 1980s, climbers have been establishing difficult sport routes at Bohinjska Bela. In 1999 Matej Sova (28) bolted an uberproject, but due to frequently wet holds on a cruxy part of the route, he never managed to finish the climb. An extremely dry spring–Slovenia’s driest in 100 years–spurred Klemen Becan (25), who has onsighted 8b+, to make the first ascent of the route at the end of May. He graded it 8c+. Three weeks later on June 13, motivated by his friend’s success, Sova repeated the route and named it Privid (aka Vision) and confirmed the grade of 8c+. Privid is now one of the most difficult routes in Slovenia.

The limestone route climbs for twenty-five meters through an overhanging crux with twenty relentless, difficult moves in a row. The key to the route is finding a place to rest on the tiny edges and undercuts that are wet most of the time. When the unusually dry weather set in during April, the conditions on this project became excellent for the first time. Both Sova and Becan had attempted the route previously and knew all the moves. The fine circumstances brought them back to the unclimbed route and allowed for two quick dispatches of the long-standing project.

Sova has climbed two 9a routes, including Martin Krpan in Misja Pec, Slovenia. Also this year he made first ascents of an 8c route in Barratro, Italy and an attractive new project in Osp (8c+), Slovenia.

Sova pulling into small holds through the twenty-move crux of Privid (8c+, 25m), Bohinjska Bela, Slovenia, for the second ascent [Photo] Urban Golob