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Jakob Schubert sent the two hardest DWS routes on Mallorca in one trip in October 2021. After sending Alasha he did Es Pontas, both higher than 9a. Enjoy the interview with one of the best climbers in the world by SKALOLAZ.PRO team!

Photo by ALPSOLUT Pictures / Sebastian Marko

Have you been to Mallorca and did you try DWS before this time?

Yes, I have been to Mallorca just after the World Championship in Japan, Hachioji 2019. But it was more of a holiday, just a week with my girlfriend. I didn’t climb so much. I went to the beeches at least to have a look at those famous crags, maybe climb a few easier roots But I didn’t try hard lines at that time, it was more like to see the area. So this time was my first really DWS trip.

How many pairs of shoes and chalk bags did you take for DWS climbing?

I think I brought 5 pairs of shoes and almost 10 chalk bags. But I don’t think I used more than 5 bags. For example, when we try the jump on Es Pontas we climb with liquid chalk to save the chalk bags and don’t get too many of them wet. But there were definitely days when I use 5 or 6 chalk bags, and this is of the difficulties that DWS brigs.

Photo by Michаel Piccolruaz

Did you talk with Chris Sharma, Jernej Kruder, Jan Hojer, or someone else about Es Pontas and Alasha? Did you prepare for those routes by watching videos of the ascents?

Yes, especially with Jernej Kruder and Jan Hojer. They are two really good friends of mine, I meet them in competitions all the time. I talked with both of them about Es Pontas and just with Jernej about Alasha because he has tried it a lot. I asked them “How these routes are? How difficult they are? What tips can they give me about those routes?” I also watched the videos that is available on the Internet. But on Es Pontas it did not help too much especially for the jump. It is just a very special kind of jump, and it took a lot of efforts to figure out how to jump on that hold. But on Alasha Jernej helped me a lot. He was there trying it as well, so I was able to watch him, get the beta for the bottom part. He also showed us how to fix the rope to try the crux. So Jernej definitely helped out a lot to give me the possibility to send it so fast.

Which route was harder for you? Why? Do you agree with the category?

Es Pontas was definitely way harder for me than Alasha. I think it’s a harder route in general but also Alasha just fits my style way more. Es Pontas was mostly all about the jump for me. Alasha is more hard climbing, more on crimps, I really like that style a lot. On Es Pontas I also was able to do the normal moves, the boulder and everything but I really struggled to stick the jump. It took me over 40 tries to do it. But once I was able to stick the jump I was able to send the route.

Alasha is a lot scarier than Es Pontas, and maybe it’s a bit trickier to figure out the crux. But you can do it on the rope. On Es Pontas you do so on the boulder after the jump but you cannot do it on the traverse from the jump to the boulder on the right and you cannot try the jump on the rope. So it’s much harder from that term that you always have to start from the ground and you always fall in the water if you fail. So Es Pontas is the more complex route I would say so it was harder for me to send it.

It’s really hard to grade DWS routes. If there were on the rope it would be completely different routes, cause you could check out everything completely easily. You wouldn’t be scary. It would be easier to try the route in good conditions. So the routes would never be 9b routes if they would be sport climbing routes. I think Alasha could be something like 8c/8c+ if it was a sport climb and Es Pontas could be 8c+/9a.In terms of DWS which makes it harder I would grade Es Pontas as harder 9a and Alasha 8c+/9a. But as I say it is hard to grade DWS routes and maybe they need their own grade just like bouldering have.

Photo by ALPSOLUT Pictures / Sebastian Marko

You don’t need to think about the rope and quickdraws while deep water soloing. What can you say about that feeling? Is it more about freedom or about fear of falling for you? How did you manage the fear of falling? Maybe you don’t have such a problem at all?

DWS is really special that’s why I thought it is a new discipline, something that I did not try before. That’s why I really wanted to do that trip, I was really motivated for it, I wanted to experience it, to learn it, to know if I can cooperate with the fear. Now I can say I really loved it. I got into it really fast, it was not a big problem to be scared of anything. Especially if you try something below your limit you can make sure you would not fall in a weird position. I would say Alasha was probably the scariest thing I did because the crux is quite high up. But I basically sent it on my first real try so I never really fell from really high up. When I did that crux it was the amazing feeling of focus, of knowing that you have to climb really efficiently as you don’t want to fall stupidly and if you fall you want to do it pretty straight. So it definitely gives you a feeling of freedom and I really enjoy it a lot.

Photo by ALPSOLUT Pictures / Sebastian Marko

Did you like this experience and are you gonna come back to Mallorca for DWS again?

Yeah, I definitely want to come back. I’ve done most of the classics but it still has a lot of potential. For example, one hard route from Chris Sharma called Big Fish. I tried it on my last day in Mallorca just to check it out and it is definitely really impressive as well.

What did you do except climbing during your Mallorca trip?

I was really thankful having such an amazing crew with me. Camera team, I know them all really well. There were many friends with me to climb together, to push each other, Nicolai Uznik and Michael Piccolruaz. They were with me the whole trip, some friends came for a few days. So we have an amazing time and basically, we mostly climb. When you had a rest day you go outside and supporting your friends. We swam a lot, having speakers in our dry bags, listening to the music and having a good time.

Text by Yury Birilov, SKALOLAZ.PRO. All rights reserved.

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