Ainhize Belar Barrutia ticks Ildonuska (8c)

Ainhize Belar Barrutia, who has sent ten routes 8c to 9a, over just the last year, has done Ildonuska (8c) in Baltzola. The 18-year-old is runner-up in the ranking game after Martina Demmel. (c) Aitziber Narbaiza

Can you tell us more about your latest 8c?
The route has the same start as my current project and I decided to try it to combine and make different moves. It’s a very long route, with an intense traverse and a crimpy final after some knees [kneebars]. I tried it a little a couple of months ago and yesterday I did it on my first go.

What's the other project you have going that shares a start with this one?
Iñi Ameriketan (9a), I have managed to make some very good tries, now I have to be patient and continue working!!

Brooke Raboutou wins QS in Budapest

Brooke Raboutou, who won the first Olympic Qualifier Series in Shanghai, won in Budapest as well, securing her Olympic ticket. The runner-up was Miho Nonaka, who scored 156 points which was just 3.8 points shy of Brooke, and placing third was Erin McNeice who was a further 28.5 points behind. Complete results

Raboutou said: "It’s hard to believe, I’m incredibly happy. It’s been a hard journey. I missed some chances to qualify. So it was panic no, stress yes. It’s been a lot of heartbreak and a lot of growth. Honestly, I am grateful for it all. They say the harder the journey the better it feels, and I could not feel that more. I am incredibly proud about how much each stage taught me. I’ve had really good performances."

The podium at the OQS in Budapest was the same as in Shanhai and Luo Zhilu, Seo Chaehyun, Laura Rogora, Mia Krampl, Ievgennia Kazbekova, Lucia Dorffel, Zelia Avezou, Camilla Moroni and Molly Thompson-Smith secured the last nine remaining Olympic slots. Complete results of the OQS.

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 se…

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…

Sam Avezou wins Olympic QS in Budapest

Sam Avezou won a hard final in Budapest getting 105.6 points, after having won in Boulder and placing third in Lead. The runner-up was Lee Dohyun followed by Adam Ondra. Complete results.

Avezou, who also saw his sister qualify for Paris, said, "I never reacted this well to pressure before. You could see in Shanghai it wasn’t great (he slipped on the first hold in Lead in the final). I am super happy I could manage eventually the pressure here and yeah, probably under pressure my best climbs ever.”

Twelve competitors from the two combined QS events held in Shanghai and Budapest secured the remaining Olympic spots available. In the men's event Mejdi Schalck placed sixth but missed out on qualification due to France's country quota being filled and thus, 13th placed Yufei Pan of China took his spot. See the full results here, Complete OQS results

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."

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.