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Kintsugi 8B+ (8C) by Ethan Pringle  (1) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureEthan Pringle, who has been one of leading climbers since he did Biography 9a+ in 2007, has done Kintsugi in Red Rocks on his fourth session, suggesting 8B+ as his personal grade. Based on his Insta story we asked if he could elaborate further in regards grading and what he likes the 8a - Time Comparison Grading theory, for which he agrees. "I think the amount of time it takes you to do something is pretty directly related to how hard it is, yep!" (c) Alex Arestei

-Grades are a primarily a measuring stick for people's egos. Which is totally fine! There's nothing wrong with having an ego. We all have one. I think it's better to acknowledge that, than pretend it's not a thing.

-Secondly, grades are a way to say: this is how hard this climb was for me, relative to climbs I've done in the past. Everyone can use them to help measure progress, and set goals, but pros can use them to communicate to fans of the sport, how hard they think a certain accomplishment was for them (rather than give people the move-by-move breakdown, or the whole story of their experience on a climb). Of course we humans like quantifying and ranking ourselves, each other, and our accomplishments, with numbers. But a number can't even come close to quantifying the very subjective experience on, and difficulty of, a rock climb. So, people shouldn't get too hung up on grades, because they are a shoddy, and vastly incomplete representation, at best.

Even though I think grades are kinda dumb, I will attempt to comment on the grade of Kintsugi anyway. Because I too have an ego!!! I didn't really try the Nalle/Keenan beta, but it seems every bit as V15 as I can imagine. Nalle and Keenan know what V15 feels like, and I believe the boulder is that hard with the beta they used. But with the beta I used (the Nils ninja-toe catch), If I were to take just the crux, and lower it by eight feet, so would be right off the ground, I think the physical difficulty would be around V13.
The fact that your ass is about 15 feet off he ground when you do the crux though, adds a huge physiological element that definitely raises the difficulty of the boulder. So, with the added element of the height, and the much easier intro moves, I think for me, the overall difficulty was in the 14 range. Even though I used easier beta, it's still one of the hardest climbs I've ever done. And definitely one of the best!!!

Filipinos 9a FA by André Neres  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureAndré Neres has done his third 9a by the FA of Filipinos in Meio Mango. (c) José Ferreira

"One of the best and probably the hardest route i've done so far. Took me several sessions to figure out the beta. Bolted by Mike, I'm not sure about the grade, it's totally my style, harder than Estado Critico and way harder than Peixe Porco, i'll go for 9a, would be great to have other opinions.

The route is around 18 meters, very explosive with a first crux that could be 8A boulder problem, followed by 2 more hard sequences, untill here it is around 8c/c+ and you get to a not so good rest, as you are on a 40 degree angle wall. After this you get to the last part, 15 hard and sustained moves where you can’t clip and should be around 8 by itself. It took me over 10 sessions to figure out the sequences and i’ve been trying it since i got back from Red River Gorge in November. Two months of hard work and many sessions on it, i was very lucky with the conditions. Meio Mango is easily one of the best unknown crags in Europe, it has 10 years of existence, it is a seacliff 45 min south from Lisbon on a place called Cabo Espichel, over 150 routes together with a new sector we are bolting called Atlântida. Plenty of easy and medium routes and a lot of potential for hard stuff. Breathtaking sunsets, no phone connection, no human constructions, dolphins cruising around frequently, it is a paradise by the sea. "

Sleepwalker 8C+ FA by Jimmy Webb  (6) Facebook

Daniel Woods reports on Insta that he did the second ascent today.

Southern drawl 8B+ (C) by Taylor McNeill  (1) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureTaylor McNeill has done the second ascent of James Webb's Southern drawl in Chattanooga suggesting an upgrade to 8C.

"15 days over two years. Hardest to date by a longshot. 100% my style, couldn't have designed a better boulder for my body. Ultimate satisfaction in finishing the one the last day of my trip. Drove 8 hours immediately after sending to catch my flight out. A true battle to make the 2nd ascent of this one. Jimmy is on one, I'm sure consensus will land at v15 when/if this gets repeated.A huge step up in my climbing, ON TO THE NEXT!!

It should be noted that previously, several of James' FAs have been subject of being upgraded. Three days ago, Daniel Woods reported on Insta that he has done Squoze in Red Rocks.

"@jwebxl proposed 8B+(v14) but hes too damn strong in this style... i dont suck at compression nor is it my forte, but felt it took a shit on all the v14 compression lines I have done. will leave it at 14/15 and others can confirm."

Bio-Affinity 8B by Oriane Bertone (13)  (1) Facebook

Oriane Bertone has done Bio-Affinity 8B in Rocklands which is an extended version to War of Attrition 8A+, which she did two days ago. Both boulders were put up as 8B's by David Graham in 2014. The 13 year old is now the new ranking game #1. The video is just mind blowing.

No Kpote Only 9A FA in Font barefoot by Charles Albert  (66) Facebook

Grimper reports that Charles Albert has made the FA of No Kpote only 9A in Fontainebleau. "Mowgli" stopped using shoes some five years ago and says the biggest problem is that you have to rest more in order for the toe skin to recover.

Previously he has done a handful 8C's and one 8C+ in Fontainebleau, out of which several unrepeated. Video from last year together with Giuliano Cameroni, who comments.

"If you use climbing shoes you need them super soft and no you would execute a slightly different move: instead of swinging with your left arm straight and your body out of the wall, you try to rock on the right foot, stay close to the wall and fall into the shoulder. The first three moves are more or less 8A. The the two crux moves, iron shoulder into cross, followed by the 7C+ stand."

It should be mentioned that the 7C+ finish, which is not in the video, was chipped some years ago.

La Fabelita 8c by Nika Potapova (15)  (1) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureNika Potapova has done her second 8c, La Fabelita in Santa Linya. The pic by Henning Wang is three years old when she first tried it being 12 years old.

"She worked on the route just for few days and fell several times on the last hard move on her last day. The hanger of the last bolt had fell of so she took some very long falls and hit the wall some times due to a bad belayer. Great will power to try hard."

Some months later she did her her first 8c. When she was 13 years old, Nika hung on the Zlagboard for some 2 min and 40 seconds, which is an un-official female world record.

8B and 8A+ flashes by Vadim Timonov  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureVadim Timonov has flashed his second 8B, PFC in Albarracin where he the day before flashed Zarzaparilla 8A+. One year ago he had a bad snow board accident where he ruptured the acromion joint that left him with two plates in the shoulder. He started training in May and then in September he was #25 in the Boulder WCH. More pics and training videos on his Insta.

Ondra's Hot Pork Sundae 8b from a drone perspective  Facebook

Le monde perdu 8a+ by Cathy Wagner (53)  (6) Facebook

Cathy Wagner has done her 149th 8a+, Le monde perdu in Destel. "An exceptional route defined by a very physical endurance effort (for me anyway) as you climb on the edge of a prow-like overhang. Took me 2 days to get the right beta and was totally wasted afterwards! Today, I managed to send it straight away after warming-up, thanks to the perfect conditions and Seb cheering me. Getting fit again after a bad cold which lasted 3 weeks feels good!

In total the 53 year old has done 703 routes 8a to 8b during the last 25 years. Interestingly, like one third she has done second go. Possibly it is time to raise the bar to 8b+ in 2019?

13 boulders 7C to 8A+ by Max Bertone (11)  Facebook

Max Bertone, little brother to Oriane, starts to catch up to her level. During two weeks, the 11 year old has done 13 boulders 7C to 8A+, ouct of which second go of Proa 7C+ and Light Saber 8A+ in less than ten tries sticks out. As a matter of a fact, the latter was put up by Dave Graham as an 8B but it has been recorded as a soft 8A. Both are captured in this video.

The Wheel of Fortune 8B by Isabelle Faus  (2) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureIsabelle Faus has done her
17th 8B, The Wheel of Fortune in Clear Creek Canyon and she is #1 in the 8a ranking game. In total, she has now done 107 boulders 8A to 8B+. Next project is Memory is Parallax 8B+.

"Started trying last year. Two of the moves took me like ten sessions to be able to do... super outta my style... one huge move and another really dynamic pop. Coming of an injury I was kinda using this boulder as a way to learn how to do big moves. Last year after a lot of effort I eventually made my way to the last move... and then we flew to Swiss the next day.

This year I got back to my high point quickly and fell there a bunch. Then yesterday I found slightly better beta for this move and did it pretty quick after that. Really satisfying to do moves easily that last year seemed crazy... next is the top section and try and link em."

The Master Key 8B by Oriane Bertone (13)  (11) Facebook

Oriane Bertone has done another three hard boulders in Rocklands; Sassy squash 8A, The arch 8A+and The Master Key in Rocklands. "Fantastic hidden boulder ! One hard move. I found my beta at the third session and solve this problem. Very happy for this ascent!

In total, the 13 year old has now done 39 boulders 8A to 8B+, out of which 19 the last 12 months and she is #2 in the 8a ranking game. One more 8B, and she takes over the crown from Isabelle Faus.

8c+ and 8B's FA by Toni Lamprecht (47)  (4) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureToni Lamprecht, legendary hard core FA-ionist in all disciplines; 9a routes, 8C boulders, 8c MPs and 8c DWS, has recorded his sends from 2018. On the pic he shows god adaptation to the modern school with his double dyno of Seitensprung 8c in Kochel. Add to that 8c+ and 8B boulders FAs. With his 88 kg on his 187 cm, the 47 year old might be the biggest multi-discipline climber operating world class level. In total he has put some 2 000 boulders, routes, MPs and DWS. 8a interview from 2009 - Insta 2019.

What are you most impressed by the new generation?
The most impressive is the huge number of very very good climbers and a lot of them almost unknown, too. And of course the top five people doing everything from boulder to multipitch and they seem very "grounded" and open minded. Wish the political world would have leaders like that..

How do you train nowadays and what is your 2019 ambition?
Normally 2-3 times in the week. I rest if I go skiing or in the summer while surfing. No training the last years only climbing outdoors or trying projects, because my "old" body needs a lot of rest after every climbing day.
In 2019 I'd like to try a really hard boulder project nearhome (15m roof), work on the FSK-Project, a possible solid 9th-grade-route and travel a lot for skiing.

A Muerte 9a by Jan Hojer  (5) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureJan Hojer, #3 in the Combined WCH in Innsbruck, has done his second 9a route, A Muerte in Siurana. His first was Action Directe in 2010. The 186 cm tall and 78 kg powerhouse has also done the 9b DWS, Es Pontas last year.

"My only goal for the 2019 season is to qualify for the Olympics. If I qualify at the world championship I will spend a lot of time on rock afterwards! Right now I just want to enjoy some rock before the season starts and climb a bunch of nice routes here in Spain."

How many World Cups do you plan to do this year?
As many as I need to qualify for Toulouse. (The qualification event for the ones not getting their ticket in the WCH). If I have great results in Meiringen and Moscow I will not go to China.

How much Speed focus in your training?
I try to train speed once a week but haven’t done any leg training. I think with better coordination and technique I can still improve a lot. I hope to get to 6.7 until the world championship.

8B and two 8A+' by Ashima Shiraishi (17)  (2) Facebook

Ashima Shiraishi, #5 in the Lead WCH in Innsbruck, reports on her Insta that she has done two 8A+' and Tilted World 8B. (c) Ben Burk

The 17 year old is a contender for having the best boulder and route ticklist out of all female. She did her first 9a being 14 years old and two years ago she did an 8C boulder, Horizon.

Two 7C+' by Keegan Sullivan (9) in Hueco Tanks  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureKeegan Sullivan, who did his first 7C when he was 7 years old having climbed in just over a year, has done two 7C+'s in Hueco Tanks; Dead Serious and Stubby of the Bush Veldt. During the week he also sent three 7C's and onsighted two 7A+' and three 7A's.

His father Brandon comments, "Being in Hueco exemplifies what we love about climbing. In traditional sports, few athletes have the opportunity to engage with the professional experience. Yet in climbing, we can visit the same venues, read the same beta, and pull on the same holds as the legends that precede us. Keegan loved the opportunity to send problems that have been ticked by many of his idols."

Family blog with more pics
and info about also his two younger bouldering brothers Killian (7) and Lochlann (5).

Amazing 8a offwidth trad fight by Adam Ondra  (2) Facebook

A Muerte 9a (8c+) by Vojtěch Trojan (19)  (1) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureVojtěch Trojan, who won the Czech bouldering Championship last month, has done his first 9a (8c+), A Muerte in Siurana. (c) Martin Pelikán

"It took me 5 days. I think that this route suits me well. It's short, bouldery and powerful, almost without rest, pretty similar to competition climbing style nowadays. definitely one of the best routes I've ever climbed.

In 2019, I'm gonna try my best in WC circuit for sure, but still want to focus at outdoor climbing more than ever."

Three years ago, Vojtěch fell from 8 meters in the gym and which also created some fatigue syndroms and it was not until last year he could train maximum again. His personal best was 8c before A Muerte which he did two weeks ago in Margalef.

Eight 8A's by Karoline Sinnhuber  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureKaroline Sinnhuber, #8 in the last Boulder WC 2018, has had a very productive trip doing eight 8A's out of which La persistencia de la memoria (8A+ in the topo) and Pamplemousse 8A sticks out. "Might be the most beautiful boulder in Ticino." (c) Michael Eisenmann - Entwash.

"I was in Ticino from 26th December till 5th January. Due to perfect weather we had only 3 rest days. I spent a lot of time in the gym the last couple of weeks to get in shape for the trip, which worked out quite well. I havn't really done much boulders in Ticino yet, so I decided to literally "run through" the 8As and go for harder stuff next time. I might return in February for a week or so, if the weather is fine.

2019... I'm super psyched at the moment for outdoor climbing! Definitely have to go to Maltatal again to finish "Air" 8B. Rocklands in summer are also tempting to finish "Ray of Light" and "L'Arche", both 8B. Or maybe Hueco through December. So many wishes and possibilities, so little money to spend! Bummer. Regarding competitions: we will see how it goes. There are now only 5 starting spots (instead of 6) for the world cups and we are around 10 girls who want to compete. And the young guns are pretty strong :)"
Full blogspot report with more superb pictures.

Gus Carter

Mullentino V6/7A
Markus Adamaszek

TEC-B6-L6, Fb 6a bloc,
Christian Welkhammer

Hard of Gold (fb7c+/8a)
, Rabennest
Lando Peters

Please add info of the
climb, your ascent and
the area
Oriane Bertone (f)

Saint Joseph
Nicholas Allan

Please add info of the
climb, your ascent and
the area
Katrin Gründler

Please add info of the
climb, your ascent and
the area
Lucija Tarkuš

Divja Brina (8b), Koteč
Andreas Hanisch

Kirk Windstein Stand 7c
+, Cresciano
Ricardo Costa

Please add info of the
climb, your ascent and
the area
Andreas Hanisch

Jungle Book stand 7c+,
Markus Adamaszek

El pan canario, Fb 7a b
loc, Albarracín
Leo Skinner

leo skinner - corridors
of power 7c+
Bram Honorez

La persistencia de la m
emoria 8A+, chironico
Bram Honorez

willenberg dach 8A, chi
Sebastian Maya

Momento es un boulder d
e los más bonitos de Mi
neral, un super clásico
que no te puedes perde
Gonçalo "Gongas" Coutinho

"Manuel Fruto do Mel" -
6a - Atlântida
Jon Shen

Flofo Grunewald on Fata
Morgana (8a).
Search & Add Ascents
Editorial by 8a Founder and Editor-in-Chief Jens Larssen including also Analyses, Reviews, Training, Polls and Opinions etc.
Grimper confirms debate of Albert's 9A start  (2) Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureCharles Albert has opened the second 9A in the world, No Kpote Only in Fontainebleau. Later 8a published an article asking if this should be considered the hardest graded boulder in the world?, or more of a constructed problem as two traverse moves had been added to the more obvious (8C+?) sit start.

Now Grimper confirms the polemics in an article where they say.

"Knowing which is the most logical line is a debate that Charles had with other climbers who found the direct (a probable 8C+) more obvious."
Free Solo Oscar nominated  (3) Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureAlex Honnold's documentory for Free Solo the 900 meters Freerider 7c, has been nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 91st Academy Awards. The winner will be announced at the Academy Awards on February 24th. Photograph © 2018 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved.
No Olympics for Alex Puccio  (14) Facebook
Alex Puccio, who won the only WC she did 2018, has decided to not go for Tokyo 2020. As most of her competitors will also train Speed and Lead, getting worse in Bouldering, there is a golden opportunity to win both the World Cup and the WCH, everyone focusing on the Olympics the two coming years.

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Long post! Over the past 5-6 months I have been consistently thinking about the direction I want to take in my climbing career and where my heart truly lies. The decision I was faced with is to try or not to try for the Olympics. Mentally this has been very though for me, going back and forth with my thoughts. At first I said “YES, I want to try!” BUT then after some time I kept feeling like I maybe didn’t want to go down that road. I started to realize that I wanted to push for the Olympics because it sounded pretty cool and that I had always done competitions so I might as well. But then I stared to listen to my heart and mind a bit more and realized that I wasn’t really into training for Speed and Lead. I still love competing, BUT I also LOVE climbing outside! I truly believe that if I was going to make the push for the Olympics then starting now I wouldn’t be able to climb outside that much this year, maybe a few days here and there. And then if you made the Olympic Team it would be another 6 months on top of that. This is because you would have to train your a** off for all 3 disciplines. If the Olympic format was individual disciplines then I would have loved to try for it! I strongly believe that the main reason I have had such a long competition career and still going is because for the past 4 years I mainly climb outside and a couple weeks before a comp I’ll go in the gym to practice some comp style boulders. It has been working for me physically and most importantly MENTALLY! :) I’m just about 30 years old and I don’t feel like taking up another discipline, speed, and giving up my LOVE for climbing outside for such a long time. Sure, if someone handed me a ticket to the Olympics I would LOVE to go and it would be so much fun I bet, but that’s not how it works. Lol

Kyra Condie and Zach Galla win US Combined  (12) Facebook
1. Kyra Condie - Zach Galla
2. Brooke Raboutou - Nathaniel Coleman
3. Natalia Grossman - Sean Bailay
4. Ashima Shiraishi - Collin Duffy
5. Margo Hayes - Drew Ruana

Kyra won actually all but Speed where she was #3 and should be put on the short list for one of the contenders for qualifying to Tokyo. Both Margo and Ashima suffer most from being like three second slower than best in Speed.

Among the male, Zach's victory must be considered as big surprise as he was #9 and #16 in the Youth World's last year. The 18 year did below 6.84 in three rounds which is at the highest standard for the non-Speed specialists. Complete results
The onsight level is not progressing  Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureIn the ranking game, you get almost three grades bonus for an onsight in comparison to a redpoint. The best onsight climber in the world is Adam Ondra and for him the three steps formula works almost perfectly, as it does also for many climbers. However, in general, the onsight level has not have the same progress as the repoints the last year.

A good example of this is that Jakub Kováčik is #3 in the onsight game with 10 8a's, 4 8a+' and two 8b's. 8a has for many years said that everyone focusing on progress and especially juniors should take every opportunity to onsight, as Ondra did as a teenager. A good example of this is Jan Vopat (15) who is #6 in the onsight ranking game but only #37 overall.

Among the female it is more or less the same story and her Martina Harnisch sticks out being a superior #1 in the onsight ranking game at the same time she is #8 overall.
Mellow - New Climbing Media Collection  Facebook
Shawn Raboutou, Giuliano Cameroni, Jimmy Webb, Keenan Takahashi, Kevin Takashi Smith and Daniel Woods has started a youtube channel called Mellow.

"A climbing media collection for climbers by climbers. A media platform designed to get you hyped to go out and rage them rocks. Subscribe to our youtube channel and follow our journey."
The most repeated are the ones getting down graded  (5) Facebook
The best indicator to spot which routes and boulders are too soft for it's grade is to use statistics, i.e. the number of repeats and personal records. Here is a list of the most repated and almost all are actually subject of being down graded but the classical Action Directe which was put up as a 8c+/9a. It should be mentioned that the routes might be 9a now or in the future because of broken holds.

37 Era Vella
36 Estado Critico
26 Underground
25 Action Directe
20 La Fabela pa la Enmienda confirmed
19 Escltamasters
19 A Muerte
19 Seleccio Natural
17 La Cabane au Canada

In practice, you can search the 8a data base for any hard core grade and you will find that almost all the most repeated are the ones also being subject for a down grade. Climbers are, logically, like water finding the easiest way to set a personal best :)
Is barefoot Charles' 9A the hardest boulder in the world?  (9) Facebook
Charles Albert has done seven 8C to 9A boulder problems but what is unique is his barefoot style. If he could go beyond his ethics, using one shoe, there are probably many more hard core boulders to be done, which could be unrepeated for several years. It would take any climber several months to learn and develop their toe strength, bouldering shoe less, but for Charles it is just to lace up.

In regards his No Kpote Only FA in Fontainebleu, there are some ethics question to be answered before we could call it the hardest graded boulder in the world. The grade 9A suggest that when it comes to difficulty it can only be compared to Hukkataival's Burden of Dreams.

The hassle is that it seem more like a constructed problem and not a natural boulder as the start seem contrived. Instead of starting in the first logical sit start position, three traverse moves have been added to the left. This is quite often done in bouldering in order to increase the difficulty. Creating harder challenges are just great but for me, they should be called problems instead of boulders. Further more, the problem finishes with some chipped holds.

In route climbing, sit starts can be said to be the same constructed problems opting for a high grade. The dilemma is that we should not have the hardest and glorified routes and boulders as contrived chipped problems, as this could just popularize such ethics.

So for me, No Kpote Only is not the hardest graded boulder in the world although it is the hardest graded problem. On the other hand, Charles is possibly the first contender to set up the world's first 9A+ if he started to use one shoe!
The Free Solo competition is dead - Honnold won  (26) Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureClick to Enlarge PictureFREE SOLO is the mind blowing documentary of Alex Honnold preparing and, without a rope, climbs the 900 meters Freerider 7c in Yosemite. Watching him training and doing the boulder crux was almost like watching a horror movie. He and his girlfriend come out as such nice people and just thinking about him falling 900 meters to the ground... On the other hand, there is probably a greater risk trying to summit K2...
Photograph © 2018 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved.

Alex has recorded 961 climbs including three 8c+'. This is his comment of Freerider which he did 17-06-03."Solo! 3:56 on route. The end of an epic life dream. Such an experience. Logged it as a boulder problem - thanks 8a."

8a has a general policy to not publish solo or death potential climbs but we have often made exceptions for Alex Honnold, as his free solos are out there anyway. The very good thing with Freerider is that he has probably more or less killed the free solo genre. Sure some will continue to climb without a rope but the competition is over.
Lack of relationship between performance, chronic injuries and BMI  (1) Facebook
Gudmund Grønhaug, project leader at Østfold hospital trust and Flatanger pioneer, has recently published a study showing no associations of performance, chronic injuries and BMI. The study, which includes a web-based questionnaire with 667 climber, is one of the largest epidemiological studies on climbers so far and the only to assess chronic injuries alone.

Although the conclusion seems counter intuitive, the study gives a good explanation on the lack of relationship between performance, chronic injuries and BMI.

For a short-term goal, losing weight might seem to be a good idea to increase the strength to weight ratio. Still, loosing weight means to put a significant stress on the body by under-eating. In this period of undernourishment, the possibility for injuries and sickness or disease raises at the same time as the ability to train as hard as possible drops. In periods of malnutrition restitution is prolonged as well. And that’s for the short-term goals!

In the longer term it seems to be a far better idea to have a few kilos extra, live a happy life and train injury free rather than being skinny! The reason is simple; the body adapts to whatever stress we put to it and losing weight also means training with a lower resistance at each repetition.
The full paper is to be found here.

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