Shangrila (8c+) by Lena Herrmann

Shangrila (8c+) by Lena Herrmann

Lena Herrmann reports on Insta that she has done Shangrila (8c+) in Frankenjura. The German did her first 8c+ in 2016 and the year after she tried Shangrila for the first time. All in all, she workef it for some 30 sessions. (c) Stefan Riedl

Can you tell us more about the long process of projecting it?
It was an on-off-story with this route :D When I tried it for the first time in 2017 I wasn‘t strong enough at all. The route starts with a two-move boulder which was super demanding for me and I did not succeed in this. When I came back, being able to climb the boulder (sometimes) I thought I might have a chance. After the boulder the route is still 8b/8b+ish but I underestimated this part a lot!! So there were quite some seasons where I still tried and sometimes I succeeded in the boulder and fell afterwards or I did not even succeed in the boulder. This period was super frustrating for me. Then there was covid where I have only been bouldering, also I had a pulley injury and later on a little Inflammation.

In 2022 I‘ve made huge progress by changing my training. I focused a lot on boardstyle-bouldering and have always been surrounded by my friends who were way stronger than me in this style. This made me progress a lot. Then the boulder was no problem for me anymore and I was so close. Then I got sick and had to wait for autumn. Here I was busy with my master thesis but had several top-hold-drops. I had great winter training, which made me succeed directly this year on the third day of the season.

What's your next plan?
I hesitate a bit if I still want to continue to only climb in the Frankenjura. I did this for so long. Maybe I will look for routes which I can visit on the weekends. But I don't know yet. There are still some Frankenjura-diamonds which I want to at least check out once :)

Stefan Scherz onsights Coque au Vin (8b+)

Stefan Scherz onsights Coque au Vin (8b+)

Stefan Scherz, who last year was #4 in a Lead World Cup, has onsighted Coque au Vin (8b+) in Zillertal. In 2021, the 21-year-old did his first 9a+ and when it comes to onsight, the competition climber's previous onsight best was one 8a+ from 2020. As a junior, Stefan has won Euro Youth Cups in both Lead and Boulder. (c) C Highland Production

Can you tell us more about your personal best onsight?
I always try to squeeze in some time outdoors in between the comps. I went to Bergstation, probably the best spot to climb hard in Austria, with the intention of making some goes in my project, Companion of Change (9a+). I quickly realized that it’s too warm for these nasty crimps, so I thought it would be a good idea to try to onsight something hard. Coque au vin is a beautiful, 35-meter-long and pumpy 8b+, which I never tried before. So I hopped in it and found myself on the top. Super psyched to climb something that hard on my first go. The onsight itself didn’t feel too hard. It consists of two hard sequences, which suited me quite well. I quickly passed them and made sure that nothing was going to happen at the top. It wasn’t the biggest of fights so I think I can onsight harder.

What's coming up next?
Next things up are the upcoming World Cups. I plan on doing the BWC in Brixen and all of the LWCs this year. And of course, have some quality time on the rocks!


by Jens Larssen, Editor-in-Chief

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Théo Blass, 13, sending Panonoramix (8b+)

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Nicholas Allan, 15, does Book club (8B+)

Nicholas Allan, 15, does Book club (8B+)

Nicholas Allan, who previously has logged ten 8B's, has done Book Club (8B+) in Rocklands. "First 8B+!" Noteworthy is that the 15-year-old, who did his first 8A+ at age 11, has twice done 8B+ before but given them personal down grades.

Can you tell us something about your climbing life and your first 8B+?
I am 15 years old and live in Cape Town, South Africa. I started climbing when I was 8 years old. I climb 3 times a week at one of the local gyms and go outdoors around Cape Town on the weekend. On days where I’m not climbing I’m doing conditioning at my house like core, hangboarding and flexibility.

Book club is a 10-move power endurance boulder with very physical moves. I tried Book Club for the first time at the end of last season and really enjoyed it as it fitted my style, but summer came around and I couldn’t go back. My first session back to it in the new season was mostly spent refiguring out the moves. Then on my next session, I surprised myself by falling on the last move and was psyched that it was within my reach. I went back a couple of days later with a sick crew and was super psyched to put it down. Now I want to push my limit even further and find a harder project to climb.

Wovenhand 8B by Michaela Kiersch

Wovenhand 8B by Michaela Kiersch

Michela Kiersch has done Wovenhand (8B) in Magic Wood. In just the last year, the Doctor of occupational therapy, has done some 35 boulders 8A and harder out of which some just the last few days, also in MW.

Can you tell us more about the send and the number of sessions needed?
It took about 3 sessions for me - on the second session I tried 15 times and had to take two rest days afterwards, oops! The style is very challenging for me- very powerful sequences with large moves and compression. Proud of this one!

How does the warming up routine look like and which are your favourite boulders in MW?
An important part of my routine here in Magic Wood is starting the climbing day with a joyful moment — something which sharply juxtaposes the longer and arduous projecting sessions. Favorite boulders of the trip are jack the chipper (7C), blue sky of mine (6A+), Man of a cow (7C) and U-Boot (6C).

Musson brothers, 12 and 17, send 8c and 8c+

Musson brothers, 12 and 17, send 8c and 8c+

Nathan Musson (12) and Maël Musson (17) have, respectively, done La théorie des cordes (8c) in St Léger and La proue debridée (8c+) in Roche de rame.

Their mother Christelle comments, "Nathan started climbing as a child, mainly on the cliffs at first. He immediately got hooked on the activity and progressed very quickly, which enabled him to do his first routes in the eighth degree at the age of 10. He then did his first 8b+ in Rodellar last summer and his first 8c at 12 years old this week."

Big brother Maël comments, "My brother has been my climbing partner since we were little. Our parents quickly trusted us and as soon as he was 6 or 7 years old we immediately started to belay and climb together. When I was his age I was already climbing in the 8th degree but I was far from having the ease that he has. I was doing 8a or 8b at most.

Can you also tell us more about your 8c+ ascent?
The route is divided into 3 sections. The first part of 5 quickdraws is very bouldery and technical. It is followed by a second resistant part of about fifteen moves which ends with some very intense moves which make the crux of the route. Finally, there is a last section of a 7c slab with a last random move. I started working on it during the February holidays. I quickly managed to master the first part which made me want to come back to try the climb. I went back every weekend in March. The route being south facing it was impossible to try it before 5 pm which did not allow me to do many climbs per session. I passed the start but fell at the last hard moves of the crux. Being not very tall, I couldn't do the traditional method. Then I couldn't go for a few weekends and I thought that it would soon be too hot and that I didn't have much time left for this year.

A fortnight ago, when I came back, I found a new method for the crux that suited me better and I was able to do the route a few tries later. I was so happy when I clipped the belay! During all the weekends we spent in Saint Léger, we often met the same climbers! The atmosphere was really nice! It was a great adventure!

Marcello Bombardi FA's El Puma (9a)

Marcello Bombardi FA's El Puma (9a)

Marcello Bombardi, who won the Lead WC in Chamonix in 2017, has made the FA of El puma (9a) in Chesod. "Old line bolted by Hervé Barmasse years ago and never tried seriously by other climbers. Completely natural and on crazy and unique rock. The moves turned out to be amazing. Difficult to grade for me, proposed 9a." (c) Photografem

Can you tell us more about the ascent? It looks very steep?
I needed around 6 days spread over different years. During the first couple of sessions, I struggled to find a good beta. The rock on that wall is unique, it features a series of awesome cracks which are often too flared and bad oriented to hold on to. I then found a way to climb the few meters of the hard section, using different holds I didn’t consider before, keeping the tension with the feet and a very difficult (for me) heel hook to prevent to swing until the last moment. It’s been great to experience the finding of the right beta and the tries for climbing it.

It’s not so steep actually but however you always need to keep the tension on the feet so you don’t cut loose. The hard section consists of nine moves where you cannot find a good position to clip or get chalk.

What are your competition and Olympic plans?
Obviously to qualify for the Olympics would be a big dream. I will compete in the World Cups needed to qualify for the qualification events of next year. It will be hard but I will try hard.

Condé de choc (9a) by Adrian Houbron

Condé de choc (9a) by Adrian Houbron

Adrian Houbron, who last year did two 8c+', has repeated Tony Lamiche's Condé de choc (9a) in Entraygues.

Can you tell us more about doing your first 9a?
I discovered Entraygues only last year and I had in mind to try San ku kai (8c+), the king line of the crag. After several sessions on the route, I finally did it and I choose to try La moustache qui fâche (9a+) but to be honest, it was way too hard for me! At the same time, I tried the easier start of Deltaplane man direct (8c+) (start in the classic 7c and finish in the final bow shared with Delataplane Man and Condé de Choc). After two sessions, I managed to link up this combi and I told myself that I had nothing to lose by trying the moves at the bottom of Condé. I quickly managed to do the famous jump on the crimp, but a move just below was a big problem for me to go into a right finger jam. The end of the season was approaching and I still hadn't found a solution for this move, so I left Entraygues with only one idea in mind: come back stronger next year to do it!

This year, we came to Entraygues much earlier. From the first session, I found the sensations in the jump, and I immediately found a solution for the movement which caused me problems! During the second session, I focused on the moves of the second part of the route, but I felt much less good than last year. And to add some spice, the first hold of the route was starting to get wet, so we decided to take a day off, hoping that the hold would not be too wet. I came back a day later, with the knife between the teeth, the hold was not quite dry but we found a way to dry it just before a run. I put in a first try, I managed to catch the finger jam but I fell at the jump, fingers a little cold. I rested for 10 minutes, then I put a run again before I get too cold, I got to the jump again but with much warmer fingers and much more excitement, and I did the jump!

I did the less hard moves to get to the rest, where I stayed for almost 3 minutes, and I go back to the top section that I was a bit more apprehensive about. I passed the top crux and carried by the encouragements of Lilian and Justin, I made the last moves to reach the saving jug, it was an explosion of joy, then I make the final mantle and I clip the chain, without really realising what had just happened.

Cody Roth, 39, FA’s Flipping the Bird Direct (9a)

Cody Roth, 39, FA’s Flipping the Bird Direct (9a)

Cody Roth, who one month ago did the FA of Flipping the Bird (9a), at Arco's Grottosauro, has reported on Insta that he has bolted and sent a new direct finish to it, which he thinks could be a little harder but he is reluctant to up the grade. (c) Francesco Zerbi

"A week after freeing Flipping the Bird, I went back and added a further eight bolts which created an independent finish for this climb. Initially I'd doubted that there was enough there, which is why I went into the neighbouring 8c. Once I completed Flipping the Bird, I was able to zoom out again and I realized there probably was enough there for a direct finish and I couldn't help feeling like I'd taken the easy way out. I didn't expect to climb it as quickly as I did, and claiming another 9a and getting attention for it feels a bit like cheating in this case, which is why I haven't made a big deal out of it; but, if it being known means others might climb it, I'm happy!

I managed to get it done on the evening of May 3rd after work, and just two days before flying to the US for a family visit and work conference, which I just came back from. I think this direct version could be a touch harder, but I'm not entirely sure and I don't feel any pressure to put a plus on it. With both of these climbs I was able to approach them in such an efficient, slow-build way which makes it hard to keep perspective. On top of that, I worked on them alone which gives great feeling of self-reliance, but not such a great feeling of awareness and certainty."

Michaela Kiersch does UG2 (8A) and Sofa Surfer (8A+)

Michaela Kiersch does UG2 (8A) and Sofa Surfer (8A+)

Michaela Kiersch reports on Insta with a picture by Vladek Zumr that she has done Unendliche Geschichte 2 (8A) in Magic Wood. Later she also did Sofa Surfer (8A+).

Can you tell us more about those ascents?
Both were the only dry things in the forest at the time so it was logical to try them! I briefly tried SS last year and decided to prioritize other boulders instead, it was cool to come back and send it quickly! UG2 was extremely challenging for me because of the powerful start move so it's been really rewarding to see progress in that style.

How long will you stay in the area and what's next?
Maybe another week or so. Next, I’ll go home - ready for a break! It’s been a very busy and intense spring for me with lots of climbing and projecting.

Are you planning on going to work full-time after your Doctor's exam?

I actually have 2 jobs [currently]! I've been working part-time at 2 hospitals when I'm home. It's very flexible and I can create my own schedule, which has been ideal. Usually, I work on rest days 😉 What are your two jobs?
I am an occupational therapist (what I have my degree in) and I work in inpatient rehabilitation and neurological rehabilitation. My schedule varies every week depending on my training and travelling but I get in as often as I can.

As it stands, the 28-year-old is a contender for having the All-Time High best Combined route and boulder tick list. In just the last year, she has done around 35 boulders 8A to 8B+. In previous years, she was more focused on routes having completed a dozen routes 8c+ and harder. Michaela was #22 in her Boulder World Cup debut in 2010 at age 15 and the next year she was #18 in a Lead World Cup. From there, she put competitions to the side, and chose to focus on rock and University. Michaela did her first 8c and 8c+ at age 21. Interview from last year.

Francesco Berardino, 19, has done Off the Wagon sit (8C+)

Francesco Berardino, 19, has done Off the Wagon sit (8C+)

Francesco Berardino, who previously has done three 8B+ and The Story of Two Worlds (8C), reports on Insta that he has sent Off the Wagon Sit (8C+) in Valle Bavona. (c) Rainer Eder

What is your climbing background?
I started climbing at the age of 12 with my dad and since then I’ve been extremely passionate about this fantastic world. 3 years ago I saw the video of Shawn[Raboutou] doing Off the Wagon and from there, it was love at first sight. I also wanted to be able to climb the same boulders as in the Mellow YouTube channel. The next day I went to Val Bavona with my dad to try it, even though I knew it was beyond my level. But that was a great starting point because I soon started doing my first 8A’s and 8B’s in Magic Wood. The real turning point happened last year when I met Giuliano Cameroni, who later became a great friend. He gave me amazing advices on how to train my fingers. Since then my climbing fully evolved and I started listening to my body and started seeing and hearing things that I couldn’t perceive before. My vision of what’s possible improved a lot and I started trying boulders with movements at the limit of what’s possible. We are talking about 9A to 9B boulders.

I started trying one of these futuristic lines in Cresciano, right next to the famous Dreamtime. It’s a fantastic line, perhaps the most beautiful I’ve seen so far. It could be 9A stand and 9B sit. The key for me is to try extremely difficult lines that seem impossible at first but after a lot of tries, they become realistic projects. This was the main advice from Giuliano: the fastest way to improve in outdoor climbing is to try moves above our limit on small holds. With specific finger training, I feel like I will be able to do every move that’s possible for my body.

Can you tell us more about the ascent?
I started trying the stand three years ago and was very close to sending it several times, then in February this year I decided to remove the wagon and start trying from below and in 3 months [15 sessions more or less] I managed to send it.

What does a normal climbing/training week look like?
Lately, when I’m at home I’m training every day to reach my maximum potential. When I go out to climb the best workout for me in a top week would be; to try very hard projects and then go back to try 8C\8C+ and feel the best grips let’s say.