Enrique Beltrán Blasco ticks No Pain No Gain

Enrique Beltrán Blasco, who did his first, out of nine 9a's, just over two years ago, has completed No pain no gain 9a+ in Rodellar, giving it a personal grade of 9a . "The first methods in the crossing [traverse] were without a knee [pad], now you can rest on that part a little and I think the difficulty changes." (c) Álvaro Lafuente

Can you tell us more about the ascent?
The route impressed me since I was a child, it was a reference and what motivated me the most was that my two friends Dani and Taus equipped it. It is arranged in two parts, a first of 8c+ and then a traverse of small holds of about 18 movements that will be 8c, from there to the chain a small step and an easy part. The route has cost me less than expected, I started two weeks ago to make attempts from the ground and I always advanced a little more, in total it would have been a month

Jonathan Siegrist FA’s Anemology (9b)

Jonathan Siegrist has made the FA of Anemology (9b) in the Utah Hills. The 38-year-old has logged 76 routes 9a and harder, and his list includes 26 FA’s and six 9b’s. (c) Ryan White

A season long battle with conditions, torn skin and very hard climbing. Felt impossible at first, especially the bottom. So incredibly psyched to finish this thing just in time as the conditions closed out. Really hard bouldering, varied climbing and no easy moves until the chains! I decided against pre-clipping the third draw as it was a matter of difficulty and not safety. As always, unsure on the grade, but I suggest 9b.

Can you tell us more about the route and the difficulties?
The route starts with a very hard boulder problem - quite unique between flat edges requiring a lot of tension, ending with an explosive move to an undercling. There is also a very hard clip in the middle of this sequence. After this you have an intense and unrelenting section to the finish with some very small crimps and dynamic moves through a roof (red point crux) and an enduro finish. Even getting to the anchor is another small crux.

Totally estimations but the bottom feels like v13 [8B] to me (based on Tension Board grades) and after it’s around 5.14+ [8c+ or so] to the anchor.

Aidan Roberts, who has taken a four-month break from social media, has just posted about the FA of Spots of Time on Instagram. Aidan has also done the FA of The Midnight Project in Chironico without suggesting a grade. For both these boulders, media have speculated that they are 9A, as it took him m…

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Coudert Camille sends Jack under the Box 8B+ (C)

Coudert Camille has made the first repeat of Killian Chabrier's Jack under the Box (8B+) in Fontainebleau, suggesting an upgrade to 8C. The 28-year-old sent Soudain seul (9A) in 2022 and frequently suggests upgrades and downgrades for the boulder problems he completes. (c) La Lili

Can you tell us more about this line and your experience?
I tried this boulder three years ago, at the time the boulder hadn’t been made yet and no one had tried it. It took me two sessions to find the beta and I quickly fell on the last movement. Ultimately I didn’t manage to do the boulder at this time then I put it aside and seriously started again recently.

What is your rationale for the upgrade?
Killian and I were not sure of the rating but as he did it very quickly we decided to announce it as 8B+. Finally, now that I have more experience in this grade (and Kilian too) it seemed obvious that the boulder was rather 8C. The boulder is divided into 2 sections. The first four moves are very physical in compression, worth 8B. Then it continues without rest on a movement in 8A+.

I talked about it with Kilian on a trip to Switzerland. We found that it was harder than all the 8B+ in Switzerland we had the chance to do and we found it even harder than some 8C's that we tried. Finally, when I went back there recently with Killian, we had it confirmed. We finally agreed that in Switzerland the boulder would have been graded hard 8C, which is why I decided to upgrade it to 8C.

What about the micro ventilator that can be seen in the Instagram video?
The ventilator just allows me to cool my hands a little because it’s hot these days. When I did the boulder it was 15 degrees, and I am a climber who sweats a lot on my hands. Without the ventilator with such temperatures it’s almost impossible for me. I therefore prefer to use it rather than wait six months for the best conditions.

Kacper Heretyk completes Stal Mielec (9a)

Kacper Heretyk, who the last month added a third and fourth 8c+ redpoint to his scorecard, has done Stal Mielec (9a) in Dolina Kluczwody. The route was originally 8c+ but then artificial holds were removed in 2012 and Piotr Schab made the FA, four years later. (c) Piotr Drożdż

I put a lot of work into the journey, both on the road and in training, so I'm even more happy that the risk associated with putting myself into something above the max paid off. It is a long combination of the many routes I have done before. I have been climbing in this cave for years 😅, especially in Stal mielec I spent one month. I love long battles with climbing project, such a "tired" project tastes best to me because I know that I gave 110%, both physically and mentally.”

Mateusz Haladaj ticks Fabela Pa La Enmienda (9a)

Mateusz Haladaj, who did his first of now 19 9a's, in 2009, has sent Fabela pa la enmienda (9a) in Santa Linya. "Absolutely new level of pump, so exhausted after absorbing long time endurance on 125 moves. Seems my perfect anti-style, does not feel soft for sure." (c) Zac Moss

Ben Cossey FA's Arapiles' hardest line

Ben Cossey, who made his first 8a news headline in 2001, reports on Instagram that he has done the FA of Light Weight Baby (8c+), which makes it the hardest route in Arapiles. The 40-year-old projected it for a dozen sessions spread over four trips.

Can you tell us more about the history of the route and your ascent?
The route was first bolted by Sean Myles in about 1992. He and Jerry Moffatt had come out, from what I know, they had a few cracks but generally got arse slammed. The route looks featured and easier than it actually is. Garth Miller and Nick Sutter, Zac Vertrees, Fred Nicole have also had a tickle over the years. Some more than others.

It sits in an awesome spot at Arapilies with a really great view of the plains below. You can also see Punks In The Gym from the base so that’s extra spacial. Obviously, Arapiles is sacred land and Wolfgang [Gullich] made it even more so. So being able to see his classic line from this new route is super radical. I’m not sure if you guys get it in Europe, but the wind at Arapilies, the way it whistles around the cliff crevices make a sound like it’s whispering “Wolfgang”, which is pretty amazing really.

Anyway, the route is stellar. I live in Blackheath NSW, so it’s a long drive to Arapailes. It’s like having a project in El Chorro but living in Vladivostok. So from a logistical PPOV it’s an undertaking. The route also bakes like a turkey in the sun all day so you only get a small window towards the end of the day to try it, which makes it more annoying to get good conditions. But you get that on the big jobs, and we’re not playing for sheep stations, so I just had to get on with it, if you know what I mean. It’s seriously the best route! Great rock and super meaty bouldery moves, great line, great area, great history - I’m really pleased to’ve done it finally. I first saw it when I was 15 years old and it’s sat there, indifferent ever since, like it’s been doing since the dawn of time, waiting to be done. Now it is!

Katalin Paertan does two 8A's in Felbertal

Katalin Paertan has had a productive long weekend in Felbertal, sending two 7C+'s as well as Afterlife soft (8A) and Schluck du Bruder (8A) . "Felt impossible when I briefly tried it some time ago, but today I quickly got the right positions and found myself on top of this stunning line after missing the last hold once."

Can you tell us more about the ascents?
On the first day, I climbed my old nemesis Twisted Moonlight (7C+) and felt very good in Libre soft (7C+), but unfortunately kept dropping it in the easy ending. The next day I finally managed to send Libre quickly and then tried the extension Afterlife soft (8A), which I, after a few more unnecessary falls of course, got up eventually as well. On the third day, we actually planned on only climbing easier boulders, as skin and energy were running quite low, but after feeling very comfortable on Taxi (7B+), I decided to try the full line Schluck du Bruder (8A), of which I quickly got all the moves and after another obligatory top-punt, managed to link them all together.

Sera Gearhart flashes Zero Zero (7C+)

Sera Gearhart has flashed Zero Zero (7C+) in Squamish. "Gotta eat big to get big, but this time I ate big to get food poisoning [prior to sending]. Pretty soft if you have small fingers, [my] first V10 [7C+] flash."

In the Vertical-Life female ranking game, the 27-year-old is #3, in the boulder ranking, having also completed three 8B's in the last 12 months.

Soline Kentzel does Le Voyage (8b+) trad

Soline Kentzel has made the fourth female ascent of Le voyage (8b+) in Annot, after working it during five trips. Interestingly, 8b+ is also her personal best on bolts and her resume also includes an ascent of Golden Gate, on El Capitan, in 2022. (c) Julia Cassou

"Le Voyage always had a mystical dimension in my eyes. I no longer know exactly how the desire, mixed with anxiety and curiosity, to confront it appeared, but it has been on my mind for a while. I was trying my maximum level in trad climbing the logical next step in my climbing journey? Is it pretentious? This is the feeling that comes over me, while watching a video of Babsi Zangerl, who is none other than the climber I admire the most. In any case, as I often like to say: if everything goes wrong, it would still be excellent training for my future goals.

And the first climbs confirmed my fears: dangling on the static rope, I understood nothing about climbing, and the gap between the protections seemed quite frightening. Despite everything, it was love at first sight. Firstly because it's beautiful but above all, because I realized the magnitude of the challenge this line represents for me. I realized that I dream of being a climber capable of reaching the top of this wall; and that, physically and mentally, I am not there yet. Becoming that climber, able of climbing the line of her dreams, that unique crack that escapes towards the sky, will henceforth be my reason for climbing.

When I came back the fifth time, my mindset had evolved: I arrived more humble, prepared for things not to go as planned, and found ways to reduce the pressure. some of my close friends were there, and I felt their support. Deep down, I knew this time I was here to deliver the final blow and that I wouldn’t leave without succeeding, no matter the consequences for my studies and other obligations. Finally, this time the stars aligned, or almost: on the second day, I fell with my hand in the final jug, a bit too low, probably due to a left biceps failure. No problem, I had integrated the sensations, and it was only a matter of time. When I finally linked the moves, under my friends’ encouragement, not a grain of sand disturbed the unique sequence of this vertical precariousness. Even the run-out section after the upper crux didn’t perturb my serenity (though my legs trembled a bit—it had been a while since I left the ground…). I breathed calmly before engaging in the very last section, a round and awkward crack that had caused more than one drop of sweat. Finally, I clipped the anchor, overwhelmed with immense relief: I could finally end this exclusive relationship, leaving this jewel behind. Enjoy a few moments of respite before falling again into the trap of another dream line."