Cameron Hörst sends third 9a in a month!

Cameron Hörst sends third 9a in a month!

Cameron Hörst has done Zoolander (9a) in Red River Gorge. (c) Jonathan Hörst

I belayed Alex Megos when he made the first ascent in the fall of 2019. Since then it has been repeated by Daniel Woods and Yannick Flohe. I finally was able to try and found it suited me very well. Short, steep and powerful with small crimps/pockets! Oh yeah, and only took a couple sessions. Feeling FITTTT”.

The 22-year-old started making 8a headlines when he did three 8b+ in 2012. Looking at his scorecard, it's clear that he has had eleven years of steady progress. Cameron's father is the well known climbing trainer and author, Eric Hörst who has helped shape and guide Cameron's solid and gradual progress over the years.

How can you explain your recent peak performance?
I can attribute my performance so far this year to compounding interest of my training (over the last couple years). I would also say, my focus on improving my climbing weaknesses over the year or so has helped a ton. On top of that I become a climbing trainer/ performance coach over the last year, which caused me to analyze my climbing training and performance in new way as well. Which has helped so it seems.


by Jens Larssen, Editor-in-Chief

Water World 9a onsight by Adam Ondra

Adam Ondra onsighted Water world (9a) in Osp/Misja Pec, last November."Yees, very proud to onsight it. Possibly not the hardest 9a especially with kneepads, but not a very obvious one to onsight. Super happy."


The Story of 2 Worlds (8C) by Stefan Hochbaum

The Story of 2 Worlds (8C) by Stefan Hochbaum

Stefan Hochbaum has done The Story Of 2 Worlds (8C) in Cresciano. ”Finally! So happy for finishing off this beast after many ups and downs. Perseverance paid off once again. Had a hard mental battle with this one. Many moves and lot's of room for mistakes make it even more satisfying!”

Can you tell us your story about the ascent?
The whole story begun when I first visited the dagger in March 2021. I surprised myself back then sending it after my second session really quick. Back than I only touched the holds of The Story after my Dagger send and thought it would be too hard at this moment, so I left Cresciano and climbed some other great problems in Brione because I had only few days left in Ticino. In October 2021 I started to working The Story of 2 worlds. After my 3th session I fell 3 moves before the last jug and got super hyped but skin and power were gone at this moment so I couldn't finish it this time.

In March 2022 I got back to Cresciano and thought this time I am going to send it fast. Weather was too warm and conditions terrible for such a long and hard boulder. I couldn't get back to my highpoint and got shut down and frustrated. So I left it again and focused on some easier stuff in Cresciano because I haven't climbed there anything. One year later March 2023 I got back to The Story. After arriving at this bloc all moves felt so much easier and I could finally send it. In total I spend 12 sessions at this bloc.

Can you tell us about your climbing background?
I am 29 years old, climbing 14 years now and living in North Germany where we don't have lots of good possibilities to go bouldering outside. So I am always syked to travel to the alps. I flashed 8A boulders and climbed 5 8B+ boulders in total.

What’s your next plan? I have only 2 days left here so I am taking it easy and try to climb so beautiful problems here.
Back home, 1.5 h drive from my hometown, I have a long outstanding project in an area called scharfenstein. It's next to the city Kassel. I am trying to do a first ascent there which a local showed me some time ago. Since 12 years it's an Project now and the hardest boulder I've ever tried. Fell on the last hard move 3 month ago. So super syked to go back. There will also be a short movie about all the process after I've finished it 🙂

Niccolò Ceria does Off the Wagon Sit (8C+)

Niccolò Ceria does Off the Wagon Sit (8C+)

Niccolò Ceria has repeated Shawn Raboutou’s Off the Wagon Sit (8C+) in Valle Bavona, Insta video.

Could you tell us more about the ascent and how many sessions it took?
It was a nice climb mostly because I could understand how different my body was and how differently it moves from when I did it (the stand) in 2014 and the time I returned on it last Feb. I tried it one day on Nov 22 and then the day I did it in Feb. All the rest was from pre-2014.

So you actually sent it on the first day having not tried it for three months?
Yes, correct. I did climb between Nov and Feb. Some indoors in Jan because I couldn’t travel and then a trip to Sardinia in December.

What’s coming up next?
Aosta Valley in a few weeks :) then hopefully UK!

In 2005, Dave Graham started working on Off the Wagon (8B+) and the following year, Chris Sharma and Nalle Hukkataival began projecting it. Six years later, Nalle did the FA of the stand start calling it 8C. Two days later Jan Hojer did the first repeat, calling it 8B+, which was later confirmed. In 2018, Shawn Raboutou made the FA of the sit start, using the wagon, but it has also been done standing from the ground, in both cases using the same starting holds.

Another week and another 9a for Loic Zehani!

Another week and another 9a for Loic Zehani!

Loic Zehani has done Life is a rock trip (9a) in Margalef. During the last 12 months, the 21-year-old has done 23 routes 9a to 9b and, in total, he has done 63 routes graded 9a or harder, which puts him in the #7 position on that list.

"Tom Bolger's amazing line. Big overhang. Two parts separated by a good but physical rest. Very nice first part on two fingers pockets (brown rock) then the second part, the hardest part, is twenty-five resistant moves (grey rock). Very varied moves. 2 days, 5 tries. Cold day but good conditions. Thanks, Jean-Marc for the belay for taking the pictures 😉. Maybe second ascent after Tom."

In just March, Loic has done four routes 8c and harder including Le côté obscur (8c+) in Gorges du Loup.

Esclatamasters (9a) by Angelika Rainer

Esclatamasters (9a) by Angelika Rainer

Angelika Rainer, 3 time Ice World Champion, has sent Esclatamasters (9a) in Perles. The 36-year-old did her first 8c+ this January. (c) Grivel/Genis Zapater

"After having admitted to my big dream, the real work started. I decided that I needed some professional help to prepare for this goal, so I started to train according to the workouts created by former World Champion Patxi Usobiaga. Then I choose a route that I thought could suit me, characterized by power endurance. Last October I did my first trip to Spain to find out if the route could be possible for me and more importantly if I would like it. Once arriving at the little hamlet of Perles, one can see from the parking lot a spectacular rock arch and on the right side of this arch the line of Esclatamasters is located. I immediately realized that I loved the place, and the route was amazing. After a few tries, I was able to do all single moves and even if a couple of them were totally on my limit, I felt confident because in the past when I was able to do all moves on a route, I’d always able to link them sooner or later and I was hoping this would be the case also on this route. During this first trip, I decided to focus on trying the first part of the route which is steep, powerful climbing on tufas, slopers and some crimps. At the end of this trip, I was able to do Sin Perdon, an 8b+ that shares all the first part with Esclatamasters before doing a separate exit to the left. The temperatures in October were much warmer than usual and together with the high air humidity, this made it hard to try the upper part of Esclatamasters where the climbing style changes to small crimps that often accommodate less than the first phalanx of the fingers.

But on my return in mid-February, the conditions were totally different: lower temperatures and a nice, fresh breeze allowed me to feel much better on those tiny holds. The improvement was visible from the beginning. After only 4 days on the route, I was able to get to the anchor with 2 rests, on the 6th day I only needed 1 rest. From this moment on I was assisted in a fascinating process of improvements I had never seen on another project of mine. Usually, I would fall various times in the crux sequence, but on this route every day I made it 1, 2 or 3 moves further, until I clipped the anchor with an enormous smile on my face. I would like to thank my partner Marco and my friends Barbara and Gordon for their support, the patient belays, and the warmest cheering, without you this wouldn’t have been possible."

What kind of training advice did you get from Patxi?(An interview with Patxi is coming soon).
I started to train with Patxi in December 2021. That Winter we did 3 months of intensive training with 4-5 days of training and 1-2 of rock climbing a week. The training consisted mainly of bouldering and fingerboard exercises as my weakness is definitely power. Then as the rock climbing season started, we switched to 1-2 days of training and 3-4 of outdoor climbing. Once I had decided that I wanted to try Esclatamasters last autumn, he included specific finger training and power endurance of the kind needed on this route into the training routine. During the 3 weeks, I spent in Spain I would try the route 3-4 times a week and some days in between I trained on Patxi’s home wall in order to maintain my shape.

What are you looking to do next? Do you have any time left in Spain?
For now, I’m happy to go home after 4 weeks in Spain and enjoy the moment for a bit. Then I will think about new projects. I will for sure keep working hard and trying to {re} shape my limits.

Ultra Instinct (8C) FA'd by Orrin Coley

Ultra Instinct (8C) FA'd by Orrin Coley

Orrin Coley, who over the last six years has sent nine 8B+ graded boulders, has done the FA of Ultra Instinct (8C) in Forest rock. "3 years of effort over in 26 seconds."

Can you tell us more about those 3 years and 26 seconds?
So in early 2019 I started working on a project which after 14 sessions became Limit Breaker (8B+). I was fairly confident at the time it was the hardest I'd done and took me significantly more amount of effort than any other 8B+'s I'd done.

The following year, I wanted a new project to sink into and started trying a lower start into Limit Breaker. The original start was flawed in that it was very vague and high up, but at the time I couldn't conceive a way of doing it from any lower so just settled for that. This new start is significantly better and supersedes the original in my eyes as it begins on two undercuts at chest height and creates a way more full problem by adding a 2/3 move 8A sequence into the original 8B+.

The crag is only 20 minutes from my home, so it's easy for me to get to and work at a moments notice. It suffers from fickle conditions being heavily affected by rapid temperature changes and seepage, so being so local makes it easier to manage those barriers. Then obviously the pandemic hit, no one wants to hear that story again but long story short, once I got out of the house I got back to it! I had one magic go that same year where I dropped the finishing hold, but it was more fluke than deserved, just a magic try. It took about a year to match that high point again and not for a lack of trying, as by that point I'd easily had over 40 sessions.

At that point it had well and truly got to my head, it became a painful psychological battle which I lost every time and only made it harder to deal with until eventually I hated being there under it trying the moves and just wanted to be as far away from it as possible. I kept trying to get into it in 2022, but it was too much to deal with so I eventually just walked away. I wasn't going to try it again until I actually knew I wanted to. That then lead to this year, I found a spark and decided to follow it. I had my first session, loved every minute, learnt lots and rekindled the psych. Then just over a week later, I was back trying again and soon enough there I was - at the end.

What about adding a sit start to it?
I think a sit start would be possible, but I'm not sure if I'm motivated for it, at least not now. It wouldn't add much quality, just a short 8A+/B sequence into what's now Ultra Instinct. I think I'm more motivated to get out, enjoy climbing different things and just have some more fulfilling experiences again, this took a toll and I'm not sure I'm ready to go through that again just now.

Lethal Design 8A+ by Juliet Hammer

Lethal Design 8A+ by Juliet Hammer

Juliet Hammer, who has already done seven 8As and one 8A+, has done Lethal Design (8A+) in Red Rock (NV).

Can you tell us more about your ascent?
I was excited to try Lethal because I had seen lots of pictures and videos of it and knew it was my style. I did two sessions on it in December last year then was able to come back on this trip and put it together.

Sans Complexe 9a FA by Erwan Legrand, 14

Sans Complexe 9a FA by Erwan Legrand, 14

Erwan Legrand, son of Francois, one of the very best competition climbers in history, has made the FA of the 45 meter long Sans Complexe (9a) in Lourmarin. Additionally he has done three 8c+s, including José pine le gardien dans la cave (8c+), which he did last week.

Can you tell us more about your FA?
My dad bolted and tried it 15 years ago and he thought it was a real 9a but he never sent it. I have rated it 8c+/9a but I'm not sure. This route starts with a 7c. Then there is the first anchor where there is a brief bad rest, and then the second part is Perplexe (8b+) which is very hard for its grade. I have spent a lot of time [working towards] sending it. The third part is the shortest but also the most overhanging and intense. There is a 7C boulder problem which is very physical with pockets and also very aleatory. I screamed more than Adam Ondra when he sent Silence 😉😂. I never fall in the last part. When I managed the 8b+++++, I sent the rest of the route and that, I don't understand. I thought I will fall 20 times or more here! (My father fell more than 10 times on the final crux.) It's incredible.

How active is your father these days? (Interview is coming up)
We climb together in crag every other weekend, and sometimes in training during the week like yesterday when we trained in the climbing gym. Lately, he has not climbed a lot but he has bolted some routes in Buoux. Recently he has done the FA of a 7c+ in his style because it’s not too steep and very technical, but also in his anti-style because the route is short with a big dyno in the middle and after it's still really pumpy! 😉

Colin Duffy sends Bookkeeping (8C+)

Colin Duffy sends Bookkeeping (8C+)

Colin Duffy has made the first repeat of Drew Ruana's 25 move Bookkeeping (8C+) in Clear Creek Canyon (CO), video.

"Climbs off the books (8A) into Spidey (8B+), finishing on No Way Home (8A+). Despite being a linkup, the movement is quite nice and it flows well. Did not expect to send this one at all, I just had one of those days where everything was clicking and I was able to execute. As far as the grade, I don't have much input because it is extremely my style and I haven't tried any other hard boulders in this style. A route grade might be equally as appropriate as a boulder grade for this one. Hopefully, this thing can get more repeats in the future!"

The 19-year-old has previously done four 8B+ boulders and two 9a's. In the Olympics, he was #7 but mathematically speaking, if he had not false started by a mere 0.005 seconds in Speed, he would have won the gold. Last year, he won both Lead and Boulder in the Innsbruck World Cup.