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Julia Pfanzelt (52) and Cathy Wagner (56) are in their prime

Julia Pfanzelt (52) and Cathy Wagner (56) are in their prime

Julia Pfanzelt and Cathy Wagner met last week in the Dolomites where they both did Il risanatore plus (8a) in Salares, both suggesting an upgrade to 8a+. Inspiringly, they both are in their prime at ages 52 and 56 respectively. Cathy is well known having made 8a headlines 80 times. She did her first 8a, out of some 850, in 1994, eight years before Julia started to climb at age 32. In the last year, Julia has done eight routes 8a and 8a+ meaning she has had her best year ever. (c) Chris Pfanzelt

Julia, could you say something about your climbing life, and excelling at age 52?
Before I started climbing I did other sports: as a child, I did gymnastics until I became too tall (I am 1,78, which is too tall for gymnastics from a certain level on). I then changed to long-distance running and Tennis, which I also liked a lot. But in 2002 a friend of mine took me to a climbing gym and I knew from the beginning, that this is my sport!

I slowly improved until a level of 6c and then in 2008, I met Chris, who is my husband today. He climbed all his life and became a very good mentor and trainer for me, so I could push my climbing levels really fast and in 2014 I climbed my first 8a. I was already 44 then! Until now I climbed 54 routes 8a and harder. My husband and I love climbing all over the world together and since I improved over the years, we can climb in the same projects now, which is really a gift.

We are both over 50 now and still love to always have new challenges in climbing and quite frequently I can climb 8a and 8a+ like last week in the Dolomites with the routes Il risanatore plus (8a) and Supermegabastun (8a). For that, we are very grateful and hope that we can go on like this for many more years. But the most important is to have always fun with it together… 😉

Last week in the Dolomites we also met Cathy Wagner and Seb. I was very inspired by them and it is very impressive to me, how many hard routes Cathy climbed in her climbing life, which is much longer than mine. And especially to see that they are still so motivated after so many years of climbing was really great to see. I hope it will be the same with my husband and me for many more years.

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


New Combined format to be tested in ECH Munich

The European Championships, in Munich, starts on 11/8 and finishes on 17-18/8 with the Combined final events. The Combined qualification rankings are based on (World Cup) points gained in the Lead and Boulder events at the beginning of the Championships. In other words, 850 points might be needed to…

Outsiders in Euro Champ in Munich

The European Championship in Munich starts 11/8 and some will compete for four days straight doing three rounds in Boulder and Lead respectively. This means that the athletes only doing one discipline have an advantage and that goes especially for the male athletes only doing Lead and the female ath…

10 nations share the 18 medals in Graz

The third and final day of the Euro Youth Championship in Graz started with the semifinal for the oldest juniors. Surprisingly, both the boys and the girls competed on almost identical boulders as the final Youth A boulders from yesterday. Several coaches were upset as this is against the onsight fo…

Korosec and Mabboni Youth A winners in Graz

On the second day of the European Youth Championship in Graz, Allesia Mabboni from Italy won Youth A making two tops and four zones (24). Runner-up was Iziar Martinez from Spain who flashed the two boulders which Allesia could not do but she could only make three zones. The Spaniard was #15 in the …

Very hard boulders in ECH - Graz

The European Youth Championship in Bouldering started today in Graz. Unfortunately, the boulders were very hard and both climbers and coaches were upset. The Norweigian Head Coach, Reino "Nicki" Horak said that for the girls, it was the worst and hardest setting he has ever seen. "It was much worse …

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Le Cadre Nouvelle Version 9a by Jorge Diaz-Rullo

Le Cadre Nouvelle Version 9a by Jorge Diaz-Rullo

Jorge Diaz-Rullo, who previously has done 59 routes 9a and harder, has done Le Cadre Nouvelle Version (9a) in Céüse. Adam Ondra did the FA in 2010, avoiding a chipped hold of an 8c. (c) Adri Martinez

Last summer I gave the route a lot of tries being in very bad shape and I always fell at the cross over. This season, in my most tired session and in my 4th try I could do that dynamic move and reach the chain.”

To Do List 9a FA by Mathieu Bouyoud

Mathieu Bouyoud, who previously has put up 15 routes 9a and 9a+, has done the FA of To do list (9a) in La Balme. “I bolted this line last year just after I climbed Team frisouille (9a+). A white wall very technical. I made around 30 sessions on this one.”

Ratstaman Vibrations 9b FA by Alex Megos

Alex Megos, who was #3 in Briancon, reports on Insta that he has made the FA of Ratstaman Vibrations 9b in Céüse. The steep, 35m line was bolted by Chris Sharma some ten years ago and has been tried by many top climbers. Last year, Alex tried it but the actual process started three weeks ago after the Chamonix WC. After five projecting days, he took a break in order to do the Briancon WC. Upon returning to Céüse, he did it on his second day.

The route is relatively short. Only about 25 moves until it's basically over. It starts with tensiony moves on crimps and gastons which lead into this crazy sideways dyno from a toe hook. After that you have a small rest and a few more hard moves leading up to the second crux. The second crux is a low percentage move from an undercling to a small 3 finger slot. I think I fell there 10-15 times.”

What is next? European Championships 😂. Professional preparation here in Ceüse 👌🏼.

Avenida Brazil 8c MP FA by Felipe Camargo

Avenida Brazil 8c MP FA by Felipe Camargo

Felipe Camargo has made the FA of Avenida Brazil, a 280m route with difficulties up to 8c in Gruta Casa de Pedra (BRA), the largest cave mouth in the world. The Brazilian had to wait four years to get official permission to bolt and then he and a selected team started bolting and cleaning it ground up. The ascent took 18 hours with no falls and there is a 26 min. documentary coming soon. The grades are 6, 6, 8b, 8b+, 8b, 8c, 7c and 7b+. " I started climbing at 9 pm to avoid the heat and I climbed till 3 pm. We slept on the top of the 4th pitch on porta ledges, where we also waited for the sun until 12 am to leave the wall. We finished climbing at 18:00." (c) Gabriel Tarso

They have bolted another six routes and the potential is almost endless as there are several similar caves in the area. The only problem is that the walk-in is nearly 90 min uphill. Others teams will also be able to bolt once regulations with the Park administrators are ironed out. The 31-year-old has previously done seven routes 9a to 9b, a couple of 8Cs and also some hard multi-pitches including Corazón de ensueño (8c). As a 16- and 17- year old he participated in seven World Cups and one WCH always placing within the top 35. In other words, Felipe's overall skills and talent as a climber have been vetted. His impact on the Brazilian scene has been profound thanks to his efforts bolting routes and exploring new bouldering areas.

La prophétie des grenouilles 8c+ (9a) by Max Bertone (15)

La prophétie des grenouilles 8c+ (9a) by Max Bertone (15)

Max Bertone, who did his first 8c+ at age 12, has done La prophétie des grenouilles (9a), giving it a personal 8c+ grade. “A bit deceived that it couldn't be my first 9a but still a great line ! Thanks to Jorg Verheoven for the support at the previous ascent when I fell on the last move. This morning it was dry and windy. Good vibes! The second session was the good one. Between the two sessions Jorg Verheoven and Jules Marchaland sent the route and called it 8c+. Having little experience in this grade, I proposed 8c+ too.”

Could you tells us a little more about climbing this route and what's next on your agenda?
I started this project last year. I had little time and managed to send the first section of this route which is a 8c. Than I spent two more sessions in the second part and I fell on the crux at the top. This year, I knew I would succeed because I quickly managed to pass the crux at the top of the route.

I only have 2 days left in Briancon because I have to prepare for the European Bouldering Championship in Graz, so I will do some easier routes :)

Hard Twisted 9a+ FA by BJ Tilden (41)

BJ Tilden, who previously has put up seven 9a FAs, has done the FA of Hard Twisted (9a+) in Wolf Point. "A connection of Lions share and Dire wolf with a significant section of new hard climbing. Very psyched on this one!!"

Impressively, the 41-year-old does normally manages to climb only two days a week as he is a full-time carpenter/construction worker.

Condé de choc 9a by Killian Chabrier

Condé de choc 9a by Killian Chabrier

Killian Chabrier, who until three months ago a had 8b as his route PB, has done Condé de choc (9a) in Entraygues.

This summer I wanted to do a trip mixed with 2 weeks of lead climbing in Briancon and 3 weeks of bouldering in Magic Wood, with the the objective of doing 9a lead climbing and 8C bouldering. So I decided to try Condé de Choc which I tried last year, this year I did 2 sessions trying all the moves and a third one where I sent it on my 5th try . The route consists of two sections and a rest between them. The first one is a 8A+ Boulder and the second one is like a 7B+ Boulder. The first goal of my trip is done and I am very excited to go to Switzerland and try new projects!”