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La diagonale des fous 9a+ FA by Loic Zehani

La diagonale des fous 9a+ FA by Loic Zehani

Loic Zehani has done the FA of La diagonale des fous (9a+) in Spot sud-est. "Amazing climb in an amazing place. 140 movements all natural. A lot of diversity, crimps, tufa, one finger pocket... A long approach, a knee bar, then a perfect boulder section. I fell 3 times in the last hard move, mentally hard to return to "fight". *****."

The 21-year-old, who previously has done close to 60 routes 9a and harder, also recently sent, Electoman (8c+) in the Calanques giving it a personal 9a grade. "It is a route bolted by Laurent Simoni in 1992 which Rémy Bergasse made the FA of in May 2015. He had announced 8c+ but since then a hold has broken in the crux, which requires a tough change of hands. The route of 40 movements in a big overhang is broken down by an 8b start followed by a bouldery section where the hold broke (approximately 8A bouldering) then an 8b+/c to finish. I think now it’s a big 9a. It took me more or less ten sessions."

4-Lo 8C by Martin Stranik

4-Lo 8C by Martin Stranik

Martin Stranik has done 4-Lo (8C) in Valle Bavona. "After failures on other hard climbs, felt pretty good on this one."

What climbs did you "fail" on?
I failed on Dreamtime (8C) and La Rustica (8C), then moved on to 4-low and sent it in one session (+ 1 two years back). I felt pretty good on the powerful moves and struggled with the start move, but I found a toe hook which helped me to solve that first move and sent it fast.

Will you try to qualify for the Olympics?
I will focus on Lead in the World Cup and try some boulder World Cups and will see what can happen. In fact, I need a huge amount of luck to get an Olympic ticket, but I will give it a shot.

Martin won silver in the World Championship in 2007, at age 17, and has been one of the best climbers in the world since then. In total, the Czech has done 17 8C's, out of which four were done in the last year. Up until 2019, he focused on Boulder WCs but later he started doing Lead events as well. In 2021, he made the podium twice at the WC and was #4 at the World Championship.

EDITORIAL

by 8a Founder and Editor-in-Chief Jens Larssen including also Analyses, Reviews, Training, Polls and Opinions etc.


Jo Nesbø’s (62) road to 8a

Jo Nesbø’s (62) road to 8a

Jo Nesbø, a global bestselling crime writer, who has sold 50+ million books in 50+ languages, has done Elephant (8a) at Railay. (c) Hanna Jordan "I'm not going …

8c by David Bermudez (13)

8c by David Bermudez (13)

David Bermudez Carbonell, who started climbing two and a half years ago at age eleven, has done El calvario del sicario (8c) in Cuenca, in just ten tries. We sp…

Slashface 8B by Alex Puccio

Alex Puccio, runner-up in the World Championship in 2014, has done 250+ boulders 8A and up, which is a female record. In the video she sends the classic Slashface (8B) in Hueco Tanks (TX).

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Rei de Bering 9a+/b by Seb Bouin

Rei de Bering 9a+/b by Seb Bouin

Sebastien BOUIN reports on Insta that he has done the FA of Rei de Bering in Meio Mango. It has an eight bolt 8c (+) start variation, compared to Mar de Beiring 9a/+ which he opened last week. (c) Clarisse Bompard

Ones of my favourite trips for sure and the rock is really good, some of the best limestone I’ve seen. After sending Mar de Bering, I was searching for something harder. There is a left start, coming from the very end of the cave. This start added a lot before joining the actual Mar de Bering (like jumbo love direct). It adds a lot of endurance before and I was coming on the crux quite tired everytime. The rock is amazing and this route is a true kingline.

After sending this new route (Rei de Berin, 9a+/b), I had two more days. I decided to find an even more futuristic line for my next trip. I found a cave with a good potential and bolted a line straight through it. The quality of the holds is amazing. It looks a bit like Flatanger rock, but it's limestone. I tried the route briefly during my last day. I was tired, but I figured out almost all of the moves. I am really psyched to come back here again soon!”


Andre Neres who bolted Mar de Beiring comments. "Meio Mango and Atlântida are world-class crags, next to each other in Cabo Espichel, Portugal. The routes are just incredibly good. The downside of such a good limestone is the exposition to the conditions (sea). Seb is by far the most impressive climber we’ve had spending some time around. Came on a sponsorship event trip without great expectations and very quickly saw the potential and fell in love with the surroundings spending 3 weeks around here. Rarely complained about the conditions, climbed “à muerte” every time regardless of humidity or the size of the waves. Very inspiring! In the last few days he bolted a roof project in Atlântida for some future visits."

The Lion King 8B by Jana Švecová

Jana Švecová (Vincourková) has done the FA of Lion King (8B) in Al Tawian. This was her second trip to United Arab Emirates and together with her boyfriend they have put up some 100 boulders 5B to 8B. "Today, the last climbing day of our stay, 15 tries, no success I even made a split during the last unsuccessful try and gave up. An hour later, while going to the car, I decided to give a couple of last tries with the tip of the index finger taped, and surprisingly the no expectation helped! Even without warming up, I managed to send it first try🏆😍🔥"

Could you tell us more about your trip and the potential in the UAE?
We came to the United Arab Emirates for two months. We decided to go to the Emirates because we know that the weather is basically great all the time. Most of the time it is about doing FAs. Now when we experience the weather in December, next time we would choose January and February because the temperatures are even lower in these months. There are plenty of valleys, but you have to search for the one where water flows annually :) but I would say there is a lot of riverbed climbing. The valley of Tawaian is several kilometres long and we made two sectors, separated by just a couple of hundred meters. We for sure went to explore the valley a little further and there were so many even bigger boulders… I would say that valley only could have up to 500 boulders.

Were there already locals climbing at this spot?
This year we met already a couple of people climbing there. The topo is almost done, I think that will make it a lot more accessible and the climbing community in Dubai is quite big. I guess (nearly) nobody knew there is some good climbing around. If anyone wants the topo, they can just reach out @uae_bouldering on Insta, The guys will be happy to share it and there is a climbing festival 25/2 :)

La Rambla 9a+ by Séb Berthe

La Rambla 9a+ by Séb Berthe

Sébastien Berthe, famous for all his big wall adventures, has done La Rambla (9a+) in Siurana. "This route has made me dream for 20 years and I am super proud to have climbed it. It is my second route of that grade and it makes me really psyched for my upcoming projects.

In January, I spent 3 weeks in Siurana trying hard on that route (had 14 sessions and about 25 tries in total on it). In the first few sessions, I was destroyed by the long effort the route required and I could barely do two tries in one day. I would end the session exhausted with multiple holes on my skin. I could not even support two days in a row. However, I improved really fast on the route. Day after day, I was feeling better and better and kept falling higher and higher. After a few sessions, I could arrive at the final boulder, but it is where everything starts on this route. The mental battle started there as well: for a week, I kept falling at the very same spot, on the same move again and again. I could not hold that pocket and always fell with the feeling of being fresh and not having fought enough. On the victory go though, I gave it all, held the pocket power-screaming! Things were not over: there are still a few hard moves to go to the chain. With the pressure and sun at that time of the day, I took the wrong foothold and almost fell on the very last hard move. I also took advantage of my good shape to climb La Reina Mora (9a), in the picture, and Chikane (8c+). Super happy with this as well!"


What do you think has been the key to your success and progression over the past year?
I moved to Fontainebleau some months ago and for me, bouldering is the key to progress! Bouldering more and more makes me stronger and stronger even for long routes like la Rambla.

La Rambla 9a+ by Michaela Kiersch - Interview

La Rambla 9a+ by Michaela Kiersch - Interview

Michaela Kiersch reports on Insta that she has done La Rambla (9a+) in Siurana. Impressively, she projected it for just ten sessions. (c) Colette McInerney

In April, the 28-year-old graduated as a Doctor in hand therapy. Last year, she was also the only female climber to complete both a 9a and an 8B+ boulder interview. Overall, her combined ticklist makes her a contender for the best female outdoor climber as of now. At the age of 15, she made her debut in the World Cup and was #22. The next year, she was #18 in a Lead World Cup.

What was your first impression of La Rambla?
On my first try I did all the moves and felt super optimistic, but there were a few sections that felt super difficult and I was nervous about being able to link them together for a send.

Did video footage of La Rambla help you refine your beta?
I watched every video available and also had a really psyched group of friends here who are also trying the route. Having others to climb with and share beta was super crucial for me. There are a few big moves - I ended up jumping in the middle and this is the section I fell on the most, maybe 5 tries.

In the end, I stayed really positive and once I stuck the jump the first time I linked up to the top crux - that’s when I knew for sure it was possible. I fell there once more and then sent the next try.

What did your training and preparation for this trip look like?
I did a really regimented training block of about 6 weeks following my trip to the RRG (Red River Gorge). It included moonboard, kilterboard, circuits, and hangboarding. And, sauna every day!

You've had quite a successful year of climbing! What do you attribute most to your success?
You can’t fill every bucket at once. I shifted my priorities to focus more on climbing as I finished my education and I think being able to spend more time and energy (on climbing) is a major factor. I have a lot of positivity in my life at the moment and it’s giving me momentum.