Mattea Pötzi does Der Nihilist (8A+)

Mattea Pötzi, who was #15 in the Lead World Cup last year, has done Der Nihilist (8A+) in Zillertal. The 23-year-old Austrian has been an active competition climber since 2018 focusing on Boulder events as a junior where she won two Euro Youth Cups. (c) Giacomo Meneghello

Can you tell us more about your ascent?
I came to the boulder for the first time yesterday, after having heard about it quite a lot already. I didn't think it would suit me too well, because the first move is a far move out of a high heel, which is exactly the kind of move I don't like and find quite scary. At first I couldn't do a sinkle move but after about an hour and a half of trying I had all the moves, except for the topout which was a bit wet and I didn't dare do it. When I was giving it send goes I sent it on my third go from the ground. What makes it even better, I sent together with my boyfriend Miro Enzenberger. For both if us it was our first 8A+.

What are your summer plans?
I am doing the World Cups and after Briancon I am going to Céüse.

Shauna Coxsey sends Hazel Grace (8B+)

Shauna Coxsey reports on Instagram that she has repeated Giuliano Cameroni’s Hazel Grace (8B+) in Ticino. This is the third 8B+ in three months for the 31-year-old former competition climber, who won eleven World Cups.

"This line is truly majestic and I honestly can not believe I pieced it together yesterday. Last day of the trip, sub optimal conditions but a magical moment let this one flow. So freaking proud to say I’ve done this."

Olympic qualifiers in Budapest

The second stage of the Olympic qualifiers starts today in Budapest at 12:00 with the Boulder qualification and it will be streamed live for free. Tomorrow the …

Jules Marchaland did Punt'X (9a+) last year. "Puntx was a hard mental battle for me, I fell 20 times on the last two moves (and they are not super hard). It was a bit like a dream route for me because when I was younger I always saw some strong climbers trying the route. I did it in 18 sessions and …

VL Update: Redesigned Map

We have released a new version of the Vertical-Life map! Our goal is to provide you with an improved user experience when searching for crags or gyms, and to set the foundation for more innovative features to come.

What's New?

  • Advanced Search Functionality: Easily search for cities, areas, and crags with a map-specific search.
  • Seasonality and grade graphs: From the list view, you can immediately see the seasonality and grade distribution of each crag in the viewboard, with your hardest redpoint in the last year and the current month marked to make it easier to read.
  • Better information about trails, mountains, etc: The new base layer has many approach trails and mountain names. There is a satellite layer as well.
  • Better UX: we refined how the map and list items respond
  • Your location and direction are shown on the map for easier navigation
If you find a crag that’s missing, you can go to its info page and add the coordinates there. It’ll appear on the map within 24h. If you know a local restaurant, gear shop or bar that should be on the map, send us an email to [email protected]. Thanks!

Happy climbing!

Explore the Map Now

Ethan Pringle answers a few of our questions

Ethan Pringle signed up to 8a as one of the very first members back in 2000, just after he had won a silver medal at the Youth World Championships. Fast forward to today and the now 38-year-old remains a very solid all around climber having completed Realization (9a+) in 2007, Iron man (8c) onsight in 2007, Jumbo Love (9b) in 2015, Blackbeard's Tears (8c+) trad in 2016 and Empath (9a+). (c) Catarina Monteiro

What are the lessons you've learned over the last 25 years of high-level climbing?
1) NOBODY truly knows what they’re physically capable of, and almost everybody is physically capable of so much more than they think. One of the biggest differences between elite-level climbers and everyone else is that, elite-level climbers are way more familiar with their strengths and way better at suspending their disbelief in themselves and trying hard anyway, whereas most other people are more encumbered by their limiting self-beliefs.

2) Strength will never be a substitute for experience. You can have Alex Megos strength, but if you don’t have good tactics, technique and a deep practice of being able to find good beta quickly and execute when it counts, you’ll never climb even close to your physical limit. Once you have that experience, then strength training will help.

3) Even elite-level climbers have fear and insecurity, but what separates them from the rest is a practised ability to try really hard in a calm and deliberate way, despite those fears and insecurities.

4) Grades are extremely limiting!

What has been your driving force and how has this affected your climbing?
I think I’ve been incredibly lucky to travel a lot throughout my climbing career and climb outside a ton, but I know my physical strength has plateaued for many years because of a lack of motivation to trade trips to destinations or outdoor projects for serious training cycles. I think at the end of the day, my passion for exploring new rock and styles of climbing has held back my physical ability because that usually takes president over wanting to stay in a gym and get stronger. I’m always too psyched to go explore a new project or check out a new area…

I’ve switched disciplines a lot over the years from sport to bouldering to trad and even a few expeditions and I think not sticking to one thing doesn’t really allow you to fully excel in any one discipline or any one style.

Also, I’ve always come back to the San Francisco Bay Area as a home base, to be close to my dad after his stroke and now to be near my mom who’s getting older… and while the bay has amazing gyms and a strong community, everyone is kind of psyched on different things, and the community is kind of dispersed. Plus the good rocks are pretty far away and I find it pretty hard to be inspired in this environment. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I’d moved to Boulder of Salt Lake 15 years ago.

What are your next plans?
I’m heading to South Africa in a few weeks. I’ll check out some sport climbing and do a little bouldering around Cape Town before heading to Rocklands again for July and August. I would love to finish up Monkey Wedding (8C)(I was close-ish last year after just a few sessions). I’m hoping to put some sessions into Livin' Large (8C), which is my ultimate dream boulder. I’m not sure if it’s really possible for me but I need to find out. And, I want to work on a few other obscure things and undone lines.

How do you train to get stronger and to have better endurance?
I don’t really train haha. I “should”!!! If I wanted to climb 9a+ or 9b sport again I would have to do some endurance training. Fortunately sport-climbing outside is good endurance training. If I wanted to climb harder than an 8C boulder I would probably also have to do some specific training. I don’t know which one I’d like to invest in though, besides Living Large.
I’m not the best person to talk to about training. Classically, I haven’t done much.

What advice would you give to up and coming teenagers?
Try to have fun with it and try not to take it too seriously. Be silly. It doesn’t really matter that much if you send or not, or if you win that comp or not. It doesn’t dictate your worth as a person. A lot of the strongest, most psyched climbers I know, seem to have kind of a detached attitude about sending or winning. They get less upset if they don’t meet their expectations, they climb more relaxed and they seem to just have more fun. Also, climbing on rock and having outdoor psyche and goals will relieve some of the importance of comp results. Comps are fun and thrilling, but outdoor climbing is good for the soul. I’ve seen a lot of strong competitors just quit climbing after their comp careers ended or they got burned out because, without a love for the pursuit of climbing rocks, which I think can be lifelong, there’s no reason to stay in it.

Also, forget about the grades and just allow yourself to be inspired by beautiful lines. You can label a climb whatever you want, but it doesn’t change the difficulty of the climb. Also, mix it up! Try some crack[climbing]! You might like it. It’s oddly satisfying, in a masochistic, magic-trick kind of way.

Matteo Marobin completes Pornographie (9a)

Matteo Marobin, who last year made the finals in three Euro Youth Cups in Lead and Bouldering, has redpointed Pornographie (9a) in Céüse. The 19-year-old has previously redpointed four routes 9a and harder.

Can you tell us more about the ascent?
Pornographie is a short endurance route on crimps and pockets in a 35° overhang. The first ascent was made by Alex Megos without a kneepad. After that, the first repetitions were done with a kneepad, providing a good rest in the middle of the route (where you can let go with both hands).

What I love about trying hard routes is the challenge and the playing around. If it can be done without a kneepad, then I'll try it without a kneepad, even if it makes it harder.

So I decided to try Pornographie without a kneepad. In my opinion, the beauty of this line lies is the fact that you need to be strong enough to maintain a high level of intensity throughout the 40 moves without a good rest. Since I decided not to use a kneepad, I also chose not to use the knee bar at all. I thought I might as well go all the way and just climb it with my two hands and feet.

The process was long and mentally tough, as I felt very close to sending it quickly. In the end, it's probably my biggest rock climbing battle so far. Nevertheless, I am proud to have persevered and completed the route in this way. I fell more than 20 times after the last draw and more than 5 times going to the last hold.

What are your summer plans, will you be competing like last year?
This summer I really want to try Three Degrees of Separation (9a+). It is my first year in the adult category. I felt in shape but didn't managed to make the selection for internationals comps so I keep training for next year.

Marine Thevenet sends One Summer in Paradise (8B)

Marine Thevenet reports with an Instagram video that she has done One summer in paradise (8B) in Magic Wood, which is a five move extension to Pura Vida (8A+). The 34-year-old has completed more than 100 boulders 8A to 8B+.

Can you tell us more about One Summer?
I had climbed Pura Vida in 2019 and had never tried One Summer in Paradise. After Pura Vida, which had taken several sessions and a lot of effort at the time, I needed to do something else, but I always told myself I would go back to it. This year, I went for a session in May and redid all the moves of Pura Vida fairly quickly. I changed my method at the end by opting for a knee, which made the finish less « low-percentage », all on the advice of Alizée Dufraisse :)

I went back on June 13th and it took me 2 attempts. I am really happy to complete this boulder because I have been dealing with a finger injury for several months, so I have limited outdoor sessions and prioritized training a bit more. I hope my finger holds up for the summer season in the mountains :)

I am also very happy to share beta and climbs with Alizee. It is really inspiring for me to learn from her technical skills.

Connie Shang does Spyfiction (8c+)

Connie Shang, who has previously redpointed three 8b+’s, has completed Spyfiction (8c+) in Mt. Charleston, after projecting it for some 20 sessions over two years.

How were you able to go from 8b+ to 8c+?
My two main climbing areas, Mt Charleston and the Red River Gorge, have very few 8c's. The 8c+'s are fun and classic so I decided to spend time on the better routes!

Can you tell us more about Spyfiction?
I believe this was the first female ascent and certainly my first at the grade! It climbs like a comp route, where each successive move is harder than the last, with few opportunities to rest until the last bolt. My strategy was to climb it quickly before my arms went lactic, but on the send go I caught the final dyno badly and had to improvise a swapped hand sequence. Instead of my rehearsed sprint to the finish I had to shake out a full 2 minutes before tackling the redpoint crux.

In some ways the steep blocky limestone plays to my strengths - underclings are my strongest grip - but also the route is short and strenuous, which forced me to level up my power endurance. I'm grateful for the time I spent projecting this route because it unlocks many variations, including the extension Manphibian (9a), and an alternate start Dad Bod (8c+/9a).

Iris Bielli does Kingda Ka (8B) in two quick sessions

Iris Bielli, with just one previous 8A under her belt, has made a quick ascent of Kingda Ka (8B) in Ticino. (c) Isaac van Hoogstraaten (Please note: Portions of this image have been generated using AI for better formatting and layout purposes)

I tried Kingda Ka for the first time at the end of October, and that day I immediately had a good feeling. I went home desiring to return the following weekend. Unfortunately, then it snowed, and the Gotthard Pass was closed. Months have passed, but the curiosity to get my hands on it again has remained. Only a few days ago, I managed to return. I quickly tried the movement on top rope, and on the first attempt, I unexpectedly found myself at the top of the boulder.

I rarely go for outdoor bouldering, but when I saw this slab, a spark went off, and I couldn't resist the curiosity to challenge myself.”

What are your summer plans?
First, study for university exams [Environmental engineering], then climb some demanding multi-pitch routes in the Dolomites and the Swiss Alps.

Hugo Parmentier FA's a new coastal MP and redpoints a Céüse testpiece

Hugo Parmentier has over the last month placed third at the French nationals, done the FA of the multi-pitch 1477 Sauvage (8b+) at the new crag Brezellec and redpointed Le Cadre Nouvelle Version (9a) in Céüse. ” Finally this line and moves felt appealing. Tried the first part as a warm up few times in the past and it always felt weird and uncomfortable. Went on it this year as a back up and it felt all of a sudden "incredible", hahha. [I spent] two days on the right one + one on this one, and then came back for a further four days for the left. Did the crux move with a really high right foot in the left hand pocket before the crimps and the two finger pocket as an intermediate. I feel like I could have done it the first day as I only ever fell on the bump up to the final crimp all along. But, the timing to stick it right was really hard in the end. Huge fight with no more endurance at the end of trip. Yeah!!” (c) Gilles Puyfagès

Can you tell us more about your latest multi-pitch adventure?
A few days ago I did an amazing multi-pitch on the coast of Bretagne in France. After a battle of 3 trips and 7 days, I’ve completed this perfect and complex line: "1477 Sauvage" (8b+, 7c+, 8a) above the water. The first pitch is marked by a huge horizontal dyno which makes the difficulty of the line. Then the second pitch is really complex and involves a hard-changing corner section which could be found in a modern gym. The last one is short, overhanging and powerful and involves hard undercling moves.

We bolted pretty incredible routes from 7a to 8c/+? on my last trip. It completes the 30 routes sectors going from 6a to 7c that my friends bolted in August. We hope this incredible area will have the light it deserves and the development will continue. We developed the sectors together with friends and there are still places for gems in this granite area! As the place is near the ocean the Titanium bolts won't last forever and we believe this area needs to be on the map so it will be preserved.

What are your summer plans?
This summer I’m going to spend quite some time on multi-pitches! I have Ratikon, Petit Clochet du Portalet, Verdon and Chamonix in my mind. But as always I’m better at improvising than at planning a lot! So let’s see, I’m also going to go surf in Hossegor for a week or two with the crew!

Pietro Vidi does F the System (8C+)

Pietro Vidi has repeated Shawn Raboutou’s Fuck the system (8C+) in Fionnay. The 21-year-old has during the last year also done five 8C’s and he is #2 in the ranking game.

I first tried the boulder last summer and couldn’t really understand the tricky kneebar crux. Then I came back this year after having spent the Bavona season with Dave Graham, which definitely improved my technical skills and I quickly unlocked the knee sequence. The boulder has been wet for weeks making me fall at the end a few times and giving me some proper mental challenge, but it eventually worked out!”