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Greenspit Flashed, Downgrade Suggested

Didier Berthod on Greenspit (8b+, 40′), Valle d’Orco, Italy, from the film First Ascent. British climber Stevie Haston flashed the route in November for its fourth ascent. [Photo]

British climber Stevie Haston made an impressive statement last month when he flashed Greenspit, the 40-foot crack testpiece in Valle d’Orco, Italy. The quick pinkpoint, Haston told, suggests its given grade (8b+ or 5.14a) may be soft.

Featured in the film First Ascent and called one of Europe’s hardest single-pitch cracks, Greenspit is known the world around. The route was bolted in the 1980s but sat unclimbed until 2003. It received heaps of attention that year when first ascensionist Didier Berthod chopped its five bolts before sending the project on gear, pinkpoint. He returned two years later to climb it again, placing gear on lead.

Last month, Haston and partner Laurence Gouault Haston traveled from their home, Ariege in the French Pyrenees, to try the climb. He placed a couple cams for her and downclimbed the easy opening ground back to the belay stance. After Laurence led the route with a fall, Stevie tied in and climbed Greenspit first go.

“I’d say it’s like a 5.12 crack to a V8 move,” Haston told in an interview. “A bit on the powerful side, but nothing really that tricky. In English if you like, bottom end E6 crack to a 6c sequence.”

Haston is the fourth climber to send the route after Berthod, Nicolas Favresse and Tom Randall. “All three repeaters thought 8b+ a little generous,” reported.