Maya Ene (14) flashes Prince of Thieves

Maya Ene, who earlier this spring climbed her first 8B, has flashed Prince of Thieves (8A) in Joe's Valley (UT). The 14-year-old started to make headlines on Vertical-Life [8a] in 2021 when she did her first 8b+ and last year she sent her first two 8c+'s.

Can you tell us more about your trip to Joe's Valley?
We spent about a week there. Mid-trip I had the chance to climb with four very strong teenagers: Beckett Hsin, Landers Gaydosh, Bayes Wilder and Banlu Rogaway. All of us climbed a couple of problems V10 [7C+] and above. Being in such an impressive company I pushed my limits a lot getting “Prince of Thieves” first try. I also sent: “Death Scream” V10 and “Renaissance Man” V9. “Masterpiece” V13, indeed a masterpiece, became my project, but I was not able to send it.

What kind of beta did you get on your 8A flash?
I watched Landers go first (he was the one who knew the beta because he climbed it before). Beckett was second and he flashed it too. The crux was at the bottom, but the top was still tricky and you could mess it up, however, I believe this boulder was my style.

Stefano Carnati does Halupca 1979

Stefano Carnati, who the last year has sent six routes 9a to 9b, has completed Halupca 1979 (9a) in Mišja Peč. ”Not the style I prefer, but when you figure out how to navigate in the sea of tufas it might be fun.

Can you tell us more about the ascent?
I believe that for climbers with the proper fitness, figuring out what to do is definitely more time-consuming than the actual send. The Osp cave is not much my place, repetitive movements, same gesture and if you are skilled at kneebaring you get kneebars everywhere and whenever you need. Anyhow it was nice to tick one off here as well!

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Pierre Marzullo sent Supercrackinette (9a+) last November. "A dream came true today 🥹 Didn’t have the words for what I’m feeling right now. I just know that I want to try harder stuff, spent more time on it, and repeat that all my life."

Yannick Flohé ticks Lazarus (9a+)

Yannick Flohé has repeated Moritz Welt’s Lazarus (9a+) in Frankenjura. ”Third ascent ? after Alex Megos. One of the best lines in Frankenjura and my first 9a+. (c) Rainer Eder

The 24-year-old German is foremost a boulder specialist with four 8C+’ under his belt. In 2019, he won the bronze in the World Championship and in 2021, he became the Combined World Champion. The year after, he won the World Cup in Brixen.

Can you tell us more about the ascent?
Tried it last weekend at 25 degrees and already came close falling in the last hard move. Yesterday I stopped on my way to Munich for a team training camp and climbed it after 4 tries.

What are your competition plans in 2024?
I’ll compete in Salt Lake and the two OQS comps and hopefully qualify for the Olympics. After that I’ll focus more on rock climbing.

Jernej Kruder repeats La Bruja (9a)

Jernej Kruder has done the second ascent of Ignacio Mulero's La bruja (9a) in La Pedriza, which is protected both by bolts and trad gear. The 33-year-old Slovenian has been a very active IFSC competition climber since 2004 and in 2018 he won the overall Boulder World Cup.

Can you tell us more about this hybrid route and your ascent of it?
The route starts with an awkward gaston jump and continues with a very pleasant 6b layback/hands with placing 2 cams (you can use more to feel safer. I wanted to use only 1, but 2 was easier for the belayer). Then you enter a long, power endurance crux with some kneebars (I used only 1 knee pad, Mulero used 2), which ends in a good rest. This section is about 8A/+ boulder problem. Still, my main problem was to recover well enough. After that, you enter a steep crimpy section of approx. 7B+ bouldering. The last crack rail is not too hard, but you're quite tired and before you enter the first hand jams, you can fall easily. Also, you need to protect yourself here. I used 3 small pieces (2x purple- first fell out on my send go, 1x green) and I got rid of a Nr. 4 in the last off-width. I fell several times on the last crack, but luckily never on the top out off-width (although I failed there 2 times only trying it). I was also climbing with crack gloves, just like the first ascensionist, Mulero.

The route has about 70 moves in total, with some no-hand rests. Although it's long, it's also so steep and there's a tree underneath, that you have to be constantly careful, not to get injured. Again, Mulero used a crash pad on the tree, I was rather focused on performance (hit the tree only twice :P ).

What are your competition plans this season?
At the moment I'm not sure if I'll be selected for any of this season's World Cups.

Jakob Bizjak ticks Xaxid hostel (9a)

Jakob Bizjak has done Xaxid hostel (9a) in Mišja Peč. The picture is from Umetnost (9a) which was his second, out of four, 9a’s.

"After passing the lower crux 4 times only to fall in the upper endurance part and after being painfully close in May 2023 in the heat and crapy conditions (fell at the last jug after the roof!!), I am incredibly psyched to pull it together this year. Without a doubt the best and hardest line I have climbed so far. Second Slovenian ascent! :))"

Can you tell us a little more about Xaxid?
The route is a perfect long line, very versatile and complex and demands bouldering power in the start and endurance and keeping a cool head all the way to the top. Also because it was right on my limit, I needed to change my approach and strategy to send - balancing life, time management, and conditions with physical and mental shape while not trying the route too much, but focusing on long term improvement was the key to me. I also was in the best shape of my life last May and failed at the very top (I fell [literally] at the last jug before the anchor), but then [I] wanted to send way too badly and stressed - I needed to relax and go with the flow in my opinion. Really psyched for more climbing!

Julia Chanourdie climbs Joe Blau (8c+)

Julia Chanourdie, who is probably best known for climbing Eagle-4 (9b) in 2020, reports on Instagram that she has done Joe Blau (8c+) in Oliana. (c) Williclimb

The 27-year-old is also a successful competition climber and Olympic participant. Prior to the Tokyo Olympics, she had completed six routes graded 8c+/9a and harder, but since then she has struggled with injuries, as reported on Instagram last autumn.

"Since the Olympics, I've been struggling, with repeated injuries for a year and a half, doubts, fear, malaise, the feeling that I've achieved nothing since, and not that much pleasure... Of course, there are plenty of good moments, and I've also learned a lot, but it's as if since that event I've been riding a sad wave that regularly brings me back to the bottom."

Simon Boes pulls off In Search of Time Lost

Simon Boes has completed In Search of Time Lost (8C) in Magic Wood. ”First of the grade! So blessed to be standing on top of this boulder! Amazing experience and such a good battle. Fell twice on the last move and almost pumped out on the topout but stood just on top before the rain.”

How long have you been climbing, and how do you manage having to travel to climb on rock?
Yeah, so I started properly training for outdoor climbing around 2019 (I was 18 at the time) and had a 10 year background in youth comps. I went on my first good climbing trip to font and climbed my first 7c and 8a, which got me hooked. In the Netherlands, there is no outdoor climbing or bouldering. So I train super hard all year from outdoor trip to outdoor trip, focussing on new projects that I had put my sights on.

Are there some other climbs you're hoping to finish off?
There is a lot of time left on this trip, so I have a lot of time to start new projects. For now, the weather shifted to rain and snow in magic wood, so we will go to Ticino, where I can hopefully finish 'Off the Wagon'.

Lorenzo Bogliacino FA’s Trainspotting (9a+)

Lorenzo Bogliacino, who has previously climbed five 9a’s and Naturalmente (9a+), has made the FA of Trainspotting (9a+) in La Stazione. (c) Isabella Sigaudo

Can you tell us more about this FA?
Last fall, after doing the FA of "Prima Classe," I took a few turns on a pitch bolted by Carlo. The line climbs very directly up the main overhang of La Stazione and, while offering slightly lower quality rock than Prima Classe, provides much more physicality. I quickly realized that I had to approach the route as a project at my limit and after about fifteen sessions I manage to get close to free it while realizing that I still lack something to be able to complete the FA; the season ends with the arrival of winter temperatures and the bill remains outstanding.

All winter long I had this line in mind, convinced that it would take very little to finish what I had started but the reality is that it took another 7-8 sessions, often looking for conditions with winter weather and the approach completely snowed in.

I never thought I would find a virgin crag with such routes at my limit where I could start my bolting experience, yet it happened and I propose the grade of 9a+. Trainspotting is my best performance and deserves a grade that is important to me. Thanks to all the bolters whose work allowed me to repeat so many routes before dedicating myself to FAs, a step I think is essential for any climber beyond the satisfaction of making a first ascent.

How many routes have you bolted?
About ten routes counting those in an other place I recently found. I'm definitely novice but I'm looking for quality and difficulty rather than quantity.

Palmer Larsen completes The Nest (8C)

Palmer Larsen has sent The Nest (8C) in First Creek Canyon. ”My proudest accomplishment to date and a true mental test of belief and determination knowing I could do it but unable to get it done until now. Cried after the send. Stoked!” (c) Jonathan Vickers

Can you tell us more about The Nest and how things played out?
The nest is one of the best boulder problems I’ve ever done. Perfect line, tall, aesthetic, long approach, interesting moves. I did the stand start a few years ago and sampled the bottom moves. I knew I could have a chance on it if I committed myself to it. I started trying it in November and did many separate trips and weekends from SLC. A 7 hr drive for 2 days of effort. I got really close to sending around my 4th session but then the true battle began. This boulder tested me mentally in ways I’ve never faced before. Self doubt, motivation, effort were a constant struggle but after 18 sessions on likely the last day of the season and my last go of the day I was able to climb it to the top.