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Tatanka 9a FA by Thomas Salakenos

Tatanka 9a FA by Thomas Salakenos

Thomas Salakenos, who had 8b+ as his personal best four months ago, has done the FA of Tatanka 9a in Trou margritte. "The route is located in Anseremme, 2 km's from Freyr. It has been bolted approximately in 1995 by Michel Vanheinde. I needed six sessions in total on a 3 weeks period. 3 sessions for working out the moves then 3 more to send.

Recently, I shifted my focus on routes, because of the Covid-19 crisis and the travelling restrictions, as there is almost no bouldering in Belgium. I became more and more relaxed about climbing on a rope and quickly managed to send most of Belgium's hardest short routes (all are my first of the grades)."


What are your next plans and goals?
My goals for the summer is to have two little trips to Magic Wood. One short in July to try to finish old projects and work out the moves of the next ones for the second trip in September. Maybe a trip to the USA next year, and of course Rocklands in the next two years!

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Northern Lights 9a by William Bosi

Northern Lights 9a by William Bosi

William Bosi, who did six routes 9a to 9b+ during a one month trip to Spain this spring, has done Northern Lights 9a at Kilnsey, after just two sessions. He was belayed by Ben Moon who bolted it more than 25 years ago. "World class line with so much history!"

Moon actually stopped sport climbing and started bouldering in 1996, after tried it for 30 days without success. Then Steve McClure did the FA in 2000 and it has only been repeated by Adam Ondra in 2010 and Alex Megos in 2016. McClure is known for his hard grade and Moon has said that he thinks that it merits 9a+.

So what have you been doing since returning from Spain?
Since returning from Spain I’ve continued my training in preparation for the competitions later in the year.

How was the process taking it down?
As the route is only about 15 meters it is all about power endurance, so making each move as efficient as possible was key. So I spent the first day just working on each individual move and section. I did give a redpoint go at the end of the day where I fell just before the last draw. I knew it was game on at this point so I decided to rest and come back. Coming back I warmed up and then gave two redpoint goes, the first I fell on the second last move and the second I was able to fight through and clip the anchor! Definitely has to be one of the best routes I’ve climbed.

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Empath 9a (+) by Herson (17), Takahashi and Pringle

Empath 9a (+) by Herson (17), Takahashi and Pringle

Keenan Takahashi, Ethan Pringle and Connor Herson have done Empath 9a (+) in Tahoe which Carlo Traversi opened last year. It has also been done by James Webb, Daniel Woods and Nathaniel Coleman, everyone calling it one of the best. Alex Aristei has taken the picture of the young phenomena who did an 8c+ 2nd go at age 14 and one year later the 8b+ big wall The Nose. The best multi-disciplin teenager inthe world has been Top-16 in the last three Youth World Champions.

How was the process taking it down? Did you use crack gloves like Pringle? (c) Tradisplaid
I think I sent empath on my 5th session, but I nearly sent it on my 3rd and 4th sessions as well. I was able to jam my way past the three of the four cruxes on the route, making each of them substantially easier. I did not wear any tape or crack gloves for the send.

What does tour Insta presentation, "Obsessed with climbing", stand for?
I made climbing a very important part of my life because I enjoy it so much. Whether it’s the amazing locations trad climbing takes me, the try hard of sport climbing, the intensity of competition, or any combination of these, every type of climbing has its own appeal.

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Arrested Development 9a (8c+) 2nd go by Dylan Barks

Arrested Development 9a (8c+) 2nd go by Dylan Barks

Dylan Barks has done Arrested Development on his 2nd go in Mount Charleston suggesting a personal grade at 8c+. It has four ascents in the 8a database out of which two have said "low-end 9a" and the other two did it as their first 9a, including Alex Honnold, who actually also said it might be 8c+. (c) Rachael Melville

"I went up my first try bolt to bolt, being able to do all the moves. I quickly realized the route was my style (dynamic and powerful with a fitness element), but definitely didn’t expect to do it second go. I just tied in and started climbing with no expectations and somehow that led me to the chains! As for the grade, it felt more like 8c+ from my experience, but like I said the route did suit me quite well. Next for me is to switch gears a bit and get ready for alpine bouldering this summer in CO. I would love to come back to the Las Vegas area in the early fall, however, and dive back into the sport climbing there! "

The 26-year-old also did Americas Least Wanted 2nd go the same day, and once again suggested a personal downgrade. Most other repeaters have called it 8c/+ in the 8a database so it might be that both those routes should be officially downgraded?

"America’s Least Wanted and is actually on the same wall as Arrested Development. It’s a lot shorter though, being around 14 moves. I went up and checked the moves on my first try, doing the final jump move a few times. Nothing on the route felt too cruxy, so I knew I might have a chance to do it second try. I ended up tying in a few minutes after my first burn and taking it to the chains! I think the route has been given a slash grade of 8c/+ for a while now and I guess it felt more on the 8c side to me, but again, this felt like a style that suits me quite well so I’m not totally sure."

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Puro Dreaming 9a by Stefan Scherz (19)

Puro Dreaming 9a by Stefan Scherz (19)

Stefan Scherz, Combined Euro Youth Champion in 2020, has done his second 9a, Puro Dreaming in Arco which Adam Ondra did the FA of in 2018. (c) Julian Parsert

How do you use rock climbing preparing for the upcoming competitions?
Climbing outdoors always helps me a lot to refocus and to gain fitness for the upcoming competitions. I’ve spent a few days in Arco recently, where I was able to send “Pure Dreaming” despite bad conditions! So, confidence and psych are high for WC Innsbruck in just a few weeks!

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Pornographie 9a by Nao Monchois

Pornographie 9a by Nao Monchois

Nao Monchois, who last year was #8 in the Briancon WC, has done his second 9a in Céüse, Pornographie. "It is a super nice endurance route in the mythical Biography sector. Quite short, 20m, and intense, it’s a perfect test for comp climbers 😊 I first tried the route for three days one month ago with a little finger tweak, and absolutely no chance to send it. So I came back to Céüse right after the French national team selection comp to decompress, and also retry this route. After a dozen tries and a big fight, It finally went down 😊"

So how was the selection?
The selection went pretty good. I’ll participate in Innsbruck, Chamonix and Briancon WC’s for sure and I don’t know yet for the second part of the season!

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Just two fix 9a/+ FA by Pierre Le Cerf

Just two fix 9a/+ FA by Pierre Le Cerf

Pierre Le Cerf, who previously has done six 9a’s and Punt X 9A+, has done the FA of Just two fix 9a/+ in Gorges du Loup. It is an 8b+ extension, bolted by Cedric Lo Piccolo, to Just on fix 8c+. (c) Sam Bié

"Between two competitions, two workouts and two stretches, I make my first FA! The route consists of some 70 moves on a very beautiful 32m panel. Four sessions of drying the holds and doing move by move, impossible to make a real try due to some wet holds by movement in the track, impossible to put a test because of some wet holds. Then the first dry day I send on my first go. During my send, my body directed my brain and not my brain which directed my body, I was a spectator of this rise... very surprising emotions, state of mind and thoughts during the sequence that signaled me to have the slightest fatigue... the flow? I don't think so but it was not far;). In any case, it is a great gift that this route has offered me."

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Grand Illusion 8C+ by Daniel Woods

Grand Illusion 8C+ by Daniel Woods

Daniel Woods reports on Insta that he has done the third ascent of Nathaniel Coleman's Grand Illusion 8C+ at Little Cottonwood Canyon. Sean Bailey, who won the last WC in SLC, did the second ascent calling it 9a+/b. Daniel, who has won one WC and twice been runner-up, has done 30+ boulders 8C to 9A, meaning he is #1 with a big margin measuring tick lists.

How was the process taking it down and how many sessions were needed?
Mmm, think I put in around 22 sessions on this thing. I first tried it last year with Jimmy and Sean Bailey. Sean cruised it on his 3rd day (kids got mad resistance). I kept falling on the last move then the snow came.

This year I came back for 5 days in April but it was too cold to link it (hands would numb out). I returned back middle of may with warmer temps and continued to fall on the last move. Finally, was able to stick it and send. The climb is borderline a route. 21 moves to the final jug. There is no rest. Some of the coolest granite features that I have climbed on.

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Little Baby Cheeses 9a FA in Tom O'Halloran

Little Baby Cheeses 9a FA in Tom O'Halloran

Tom O'Halloran, the Oceania Olympic representative, who last week made a 9a FA in Nowra (interview), has done one more, Little Baby Cheeses. Last year he projected it for ten days and this year it went down after just two days. On Insta he comments, "This one felt insanely good! An absolutely mega pitch of climbing straight through the guts of the cave to the very top."

It seems you are in the best shape of your life :)?
It would seem that way. I spent a lot of days in this last year and kept falling at the tough bouldery crux.

Is this an independent line of the other FA you just did?
The line is completely independent of Cheesecake, though you can climb Cheesecake into the main hard middle 15m of this to get something even harder. I’m psyched to try linking the two together! But there are a few other things I’m psyched on too.

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Chris Sharma made the FA of Biographie in Céüse in 2001 as one of the very first 9a+ in the world. It has been repeated 20+ times and in 2017, Margo Hayes at age 19, did the first and only female ascent.

Margo Hayes documentary sending Biographie 9a+

Chris Sharma made the FA of Biographie in Céüse in 2001 as one of the very first 9a+ in the world. It has been repeated 20+ times and in 2017, Margo Hayes at age 19, did the first and only female ascent.

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