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Sever The Wicked Hand 9a by Illya Bakhmet-Smolensky (17)

Sever The Wicked Hand 9a by Illya Bakhmet-Smolensky (17)

Illya Bakhmet-Smolenskyi, who last year did three 9a's, has done Sever The Wicked Hand (9a) in Frankenjura. "Probably a bit too easy for 9a, but still pretty psyched about the send) a really nice cruxy climb! I climbed it on my 7th go in around 2 days and I am also currently trying the other variation of the route which is supposed to be a proper 9a."

How has your summer been?
The summer was pretty hard, as I tried to compete, get ready for some rock climbing, and was also applying to the University to start studying. As s result, I did really bad on all of the comps and couldn't really go out climbing, so no big project sends were done. But at least I managed to get myself into Uni and moved to the place I really wanted, so one of the big goals could be fulfilled! The Franken trip, sadly, won't last for long as I'll have to leave on 28th (because of the uni documents and deadlines), so the objective now is to send as many climbs as possible before I leave.

What and where will you study?
I will study Computer science in Innsbruck (a German course for a year first though). Hopefully, that'll fit nicely into training and climbing as I will be living next to a great gym and a huge amount of hard crags! The plan is to go outdoors at least every weekend.

Trip Tik Tonik 9a by Lorenzo Bogliacino

Trip Tik Tonik 9a by Lorenzo Bogliacino

Lorenzo Bogliacino has done Trip tik tonik (9a) in Gorges du Loup and the day after he did Tango To Nik 8c (+).

After climbing Naturalmente (9a+) last autumn I felt very tired, both physically and mentally, so I basically took some months off from rock climbing. I started to train pretty hard from January to March and in the meantime enjoyed the company of my girlfriend, friends, concerts and beers. I packed quite a lot of extra weight (10 Kg) but luckily grew a passion for trecking and mountains and I did a lot of long hikes that helped me to get back in shape. In July and August I did some very easy multipitch​ routes also to get comfortable​ with safety, ropes and so on.

From mid August on I started to feel good on sport climbs also and got back in shape in my home crag of Pian​ Bernardo as usual. I decided to try TTT because it's a great line and not so far from home, which is good with the current oil prices. Basically worked on it for seven days wasting the first three days trying some weird kneebar method that did not work at all.

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Luca Bana and the FA of Extrasistole 9a

Luca Bana did the FA of Extrasistole galoppante (9a) in December 2021. "Outstanding project on the 'heart' sector, bolted in 2010 by Yuri parimbelli and remained unclimbed until now. A mix of big exposure, rock quality and savage moves makes it one of the best hard routes of the area!"

Japan, USA and Slovenia dominated the 2022 WC

Here is the Combined national World Cup ranking in 2022. It was more or less the same ranking in 2021, aside from Japan creating an even bigger gap between themselves and the other countries chasing them. The Czech Republic has dropped in ranking due to the absence of Adam Ondra. Remarkably, Sloveni…

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TCT 9a by Claudia Ghisolfi

TCT 9a by Claudia Ghisolfi

Claudia Ghisolfi, who was #9 in the Edinburgh WC two weeks ago, has done TCT (9a) at Gravere. The name of the route is a tribute to Tito Claudio Traversa, who died in a climbing accident in 2013 at age 11. (c) Diego Borello

"The route is in Gravere a crag near Turin, my hometown! It was freed by my brother Stefano in 2014. It's a connection between an 8c (you have to do the entire 8c) and the end of the route is an 8b+ (10 hard moves). I did the 8c in 2018 (it was my first 8c) and I did the 8b+ this august so I decided to try the 9a and I did it after another five sessions! So happy! I had shoulder surgery 14 months ago, I can't believe I can climb a 9a after that big injury!"

How come you are not in Jakarta for the last World Cup?
It is too far and the Italian federation decided to ask only Ludovico and Laura to go because they can do podium overall.

What are your next projects and autumn plans?
I don't really know. Now there are the Italian Championships, 1-2 October boulder in Rome and 8-9 October lead in Arco.

L'extremacura plus 8c+ by Pietro Bassotto (59)

L'extremacura plus 8c+ by Pietro Bassotto (59)

Pietro Bassotto sets a new standard for 59-year-old's by doing L'extremacura plus (8c+) at Gravere. He started to climb 35 years ago and in 1989 he was #13 in a Speed World Cup. In 2010, being 47 years old, he did his first 8b+.

Could you say something about the ascent?
After doing Extrema Cura (8c) in 2019, I stopped spending time at Gravere, dedicating myself to bouldering and routes with a prevalence of strength, which are the ones that suit me best, and for which I train. In spring 2021 I started trying the extension Extrema Cura Plus and I immediately had good sensations, but unfortunately, I had to stop due to an injury that stopped me for a few months. Since this spring I have started to try it again with constancy, falling several times on the last movements. After a break in the summer due to too much heat, the perfect day has finally arrived. When I felt the north wind blowing, I was no longer in my skin, it does not often happen that the physical conditions coincide with the optimal ones of the rock, and with the willingness to be able to climb. I always carry with me an instrument that indicates the temperature and humidity. Conditions were at the top on Saturday. So after two warm-up pitches, I climbed my first 8c +. Despite my age, I still feel room for improvement...

How much and how are you training?
I train twice a week on the wall of my house, or boulder and Moon board in the gym. I only strength never resistance. During the weekends, I normally climb one day outdoors. Next year I will retire so I will have much more time.

How come do you think you are peaking now at age 59?
As a younger man I have always worked a lot and I dedicated a lot of free time to my family, and to my hobbies which are many; tennis, windsurfing, photography, chess, farmer, CNC automation. I always have new ideas that excite me.

The reasons for my improvement are basically three:
1. I climb more in comparison to when had small children.
2. I am always very motivated. I am lucky to have a son "Davide" who climbs on 8c+/9a and 8B/+. He pushes me, especially when we train and climb together.
3. I only train the maximum strength to have the stimulus always high. I do pull-ups, I train on the wall of my house and I boulder outdoors.

Martin Krpan 9a by  Andrea Chelleris (13)

Martin Krpan 9a by Andrea Chelleris (13)

Andrea Chelleris, who did Puro Dreaming 8c+/9a last July, has done Martin Krpan (9a) in Osp/Misja Pec. The 13-year-old is an Italian champion in both slalom and bouldering.

How has your summer been?
On the first days of June, I went skiing for the Blizzard meeting so I took the opportunity to climb for a week in France. I tried San ku kai (8c+) and I liked it very much because it is a technical route with a lot of particular heel hooks. I had a good feeling so after the national championships in Arco I came back and did it. Before the second trip in France I did Intermono (8c) near my home. When I came back I did 5th Avenue 8b+ on my 3rd go in Landro and Elefant Man (8b+) on my 5th go. After that I did Il sicario sanguinario (8c) in Baratro.

Do you have any plans for the autumn?
In October, I probably will go to Saint Léger to climb onsight. I also want go to Arco to try Reini's Vibes (8c) and to find a new project in Osp/Misja Pec before I start the ski season.

Ziga-zaga 9a by Jose Agustí (45)

Ziga-zaga 9a by Jose Agustí (45)

Jose Agustí, who did his first and only 9a in 2017, has done the FA of Ziga-zaga (9a) at Sant Miquel del Fai. "After 1 year working on this crazy line I completed the FA of this challenge. Thanks to all my dudes (Eudald, Diegos, Paco, Mateo, Fèlix, Blassi, Fran) and above all thanks to Olga Aniol and Elsa!!! Come on!"

Can you tell us more about this route?
It’s about 50 meter roof line. The name Ziga-zaga comes from its sinuosity when climbing you describe a Z. This line was tried firstly by Diego Marsella and it links the hardest and the best lines of this amazing roof sector situated 5km from Cova de l'ocell.

You start on Penjim penjam, a classical 8c till a rest, and then traverse without clipping any of the next 8 bolts. This second half of the route should be an 8c really physical but also psychological due to the fact of climbing 20 meters off this roof without clipping. Then you get to rest and clip. From there you can do the last part, an easy 8a with an active rest, and a pumpy end where I was close to falling...

Why did you skip eight clips?
In order to avoid rope friction. It is safe but you can fall about 15 meters and it is not possible to get back to the route... A little bit like a Psicobloc route...

Las Meninas 9a/+ by Anak Verhoeven

Las Meninas 9a/+ by Anak Verhoeven

Anak Verhoeven has done Las Meninas 9a/+ in Rodellar. It was bolted by Gonzalo Larrocha who made the third ascent after Jorge Diaz-Rullo, who made the FA, followed by Jonatan Flor. ”I prepared for this trip by training in the gym. I had lots of long sessions of climbing hard lead routes. I also had power/strength sessions at home.”

More info and an interview on Fanatic Climbing. Anak was previously a very successful competition climber, and has now done 15 routes 8c+/9a and harder. At just 26 years old, the Belgian is already one of the world's top performing female climbers.