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First Ley 9a+ by Marco Zanone

First Ley 9a+ by Marco Zanone

Marco Zanone, who previously has done three 9a's, has sent First Ley (9a+) in Margalef. "The hardest route I've ever climbed, such a relief to clip the chain of this beast!! So happy"" (c) Andrea Zanone

"The first time I tried this route was back in December 2019. I've been climbing in Spain for so many years that I felt like it was the right moment to try something very hard for me. First Ley was the one I decided to try because of its unique style that usually it's the one that suits me the most. After only a few days of work, I realized it was possible, I was feeling great on the sequence except for the middle section. I was struggling because of a tricky kneebar, It was my first time wearing a knee pad so my body was a little bit confused. The 15-days trip ended with very positive feelings, falling a bunch of times at the very last hard move before moving to the left.

After that trip, I came back in February 2020, just before covid happened, but I was not able to stick that infamous last move, also due to a partial break of a key hold. (It didn't change the way I was using the hold with my hand, but it became much worse as a foothold). Then winter 2020/2021 came, same fitness, same high point again, but this time I was really busy with work (I was climbing and working at the same time here in Spain) and also the conditions were awful, always very cold and foggy, until an epic snowstorm hit the Montsant area, blowing away any other possibility.

Two years after the first time, here I am again. I knew the route became almost only a matter of good weather conditions and about finding the right mindset. After a week of very hot weather, the wind started blowing again, the clouds came in and during a perfect mid-day session with some friends I was able to get to the top of my first 9a+."

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Grandi Gesti 8c+ by Giorgio Tomatis (18)

Grandi Gesti 8c+ by Giorgio Tomatis (18)

Giorgio Tomatis and Alberto Gotta have done Grandi Gesti 8c+ in Sperlonga. It was put up as an 9a and then Adam Ondra did it second go and suggested a personal 8c+ grade. Both Giorgio and Alberto confirm this and together with Stefano Ghisolfi's recent grade update, the great roof traverse should be considered an 8c+.

Gotta was runner-up in the Italian Championship after Ghisolfi in 2021. Tomatis, who did his first 8c+ at age 14 and has done four 9a's, won one Euro Youth Cup last year. (c) Sara Grippo

What is your plan and ambition in 2022?
Surely try to climb Lapsus (9a+) and then in the competition a goal that I would like to achieve is the victory of the youth world championship in lead. For now, these are my first goals, surely during the season, there will be others.

Dreamtime 8C (B+) by Marco Müller

Dreamtime 8C (B+) by Marco Müller

Marco Müller has done Fred Nicole's classical Dreamtime 8C (B+) in Cresciano using the original dyno beta. "I finally decided to try this megaclassic in Cresciano, dreaming about it for a long time ;) On my third session I found out how to move on the dyno and I could climb the stand start. I then checked out the lower moves, which are more technical and suited me well. It took me four more sessions to do the dyno move from the ground and I finally could climb the whole line." (c) Benjamin Weber

The Swizz has previously done three 8B+ and this summer he did his seventh 9a as well as his first 9a+.

Two 8A+ by Bayes Wilder (10)

Two 8A+ by Bayes Wilder (10)

Bayes Wilder (10), who did his first 8c+ route two months ago, has during a two weeks trip to Hueco Tanks done ten boulders 7C and harder, including two 8A+, Barefoot on Sacred Ground and Rumble in the Jungle. The latter the 10-year-old actually did in just one day. We asked his father Matt, who back in the days made 8a news by doing a 9a, if he could share their story.

How did Bayes prepare for the trip?
Since our RRG trip in early Nov., Bayes has just been doing his 3 * 2-hour practices per week at Team ABC. Those have been all bouldering practices.

How are the climbs selected and how does he normally project them?
I'm very familiar with Hueco and many other areas from my years of climbing so I often will select potential climbs that I think might fit him well. He'll look through the guidebooks and pick stuff out as well. Things like Barefoot on Sacred Ground were goals he had from watching videos of Ashima in Hueco. Rumble in the Jungle wasn't even on our list, but he wanted to finish up a cool V6 nearby and so we decided to look at it and he got psyched.

When he's working on a problem, I'll often support him. Generally, it's a long process because he has to figure out the unique beta for his size. It's like in the old days when you couldn't watch videos of other people doing a problem before going out and you just had to figure the moves out yourself. He's pretty creative and knows his climbing style really well and so often comes up with a sequence himself. I'm pretty analytical too and so I'll often throw out different ideas if he's stuck somewhere. Sometimes I'll give him coaching on how to approach the problem and what parts to try, etc., but usually, I just let him do his thing. He has definitely gotten pretty good at figuring out the beta. What about your impact versus his own driving force?
Bayes has a love for climbing and he is super psyched on most problems. He is not overly goal-oriented so he doesn't usually have a long list of problems he has to do. He just likes to go out and challenge himself. He did have the goal of climbing V12 on this trip and was working Right Martini V12 a bunch. That problem didn't pan out for him, but a couple of the other ones did. I don't have strong goals for him either and just try to help him find problems that are classic and challenging so that he can direct his psych and love for the sport.

Two hot 8b OS and a freezing 8b+ by Eva Hammelmüller

Eva Hammelmüller has onsighted Zona 0 (8b) and Sexo sentido (8b) in Siurana. This was the 21-year-old's first two 8b onsights and including also four 8a+ and some 8a onsights, she is #2 in the female onsight ranking game. "It was way too hot to climb in the sun, and also in the shade it was very warm for my taste🙈."

A couple of weeks earlier, she had done an equally impressive ascent in a contrast temperature, Get Hungry (8b+) in Martinswand. "Coldest ascent I have ever done; -2 degrees, no sun, and some wind. Thanks for the good vibes boyz!"

How was it possible to make a route is such freezing conditions?
At first, we thought that it was not possible at all to climb, because our fingers were numb within three moves. The friction was pretty good, but that doesn’t help when you can’t feel the holds😅😋 When I sent the route, I climbed it until the last move of the crux, came down, waited for ten minutes, and then my fingers were warm enough to climb it till the end🤩.

Did you do any special trick to keep warm? What clothing did you wear?
We tried hot stones from a fire, but the resting positions were so poor that I couldn‘t keep my hands in the chalk bag long enough, so I decided not to use them😉. 2 trousers, 4 long sleeves, a buff and a headband😂😂 Felt like I couldn’t move but it worked out😂😂

Adam Ondra takes Magnus Midtbö into his private wall and Midtbö is very impressed. "I have never seen something quite like this."Later he joins Ondra for a session in the sauna. "I think he prepared harder than...pretty much anyone."

Ondra takes Midtbö to Olympic sauna torture training

Adam Ondra takes Magnus Midtbö into his private wall and Midtbö is very impressed. "I have never seen something quite like this."Later he joins Ondra for a session in the sauna. "I think he prepared harder than...pretty much anyone."