|Story by Pete Ward
Photos by Tim Kemple
You can find this article on Climbing n.
232 - July 2004
L’autre Côté de
Cheat! Liar! Over the years, many climbers have become objects of derision
because the claims they made did not pass muster. Once the negative publicity
gets rolling, it seems there’s no stopping it. In the sport-climbing world,
perhaps no man has received as much bad press as Fred Rouhling, a Frenchman who
made the news in the mid-1990s.
|| In 1995, his infamy hit international
proportions when he claimed the 9b grade for one of his routes, Rouhling’s
other hard routes were almost as controversial. More recently, he’s been
climbing hard again, and last winter, we sent a pair of American
climber/journalists to visit him and see if they could get the real scoop.
I think I have finally caught Fred Rouhling in a lie. There appears to be a
chipped hold on Akira, a route Fred says he did not manufacture. I call
Rouhling over and point out the hold. I ask him to climb this section of the
Fred takes a moment to look over the section.
He examines the tick marks left
by whoever has been trying the route, pantomimes a few sequences, and sits
down to put on his shoes. Tim loads some film while I move a few pads around,
wondering how I should feel if I have indeed caught Fred in a lie.
that’s his problem, and wait to see if he needs the suspect hold — or if
he can climb the thing at all. Rouhling stands up, chalks his hands, and
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