EDITORIAL

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


Interview with Anak Verhoeven (updated)

Interview with Anak Verhoeven (updated)

Anak Verhoeven is historically speaking one of the best female Lead competition climbers. She made finals in the WC 36 times in a row. In total, she made the po…

The Polish Youth National rock climbing team

The Polish Youth National rock climbing team

Mateusz Haladaj has just been on a trip to Osp/Misja Pec with the Polish Youth National rock climbing team. We asked him if he could tell us how this team is se…

Bike to 8a

“Bike to Eight” is the name of the project created by Grenoble climbers Romain Noulette and Tanguy Topin joined by videographer Thibault Cattelain. Their project? Climb at the crags around Grenoble to tick off mythical routes in 8a grade by reaching the sectors by bike. As the first episode of their…

Complete closure of the ‘Badener Wand' (Battert) in Germany - sign petition!

Complete closure of the ‘Badener Wand' (Battert) in Germany - sign petition!

On the 9th of November 2022 the regional council in Karlsruhe, Germany announced that the crag ‘Badener Wand’ at the ‘Battertfels’ close to Baden-Baden will be …

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Action Directe 9a by Marco Zanone

Action Directe 9a by Marco Zanone

Marco Zanone, who in 2022 previously has done three 9a's and his first 9a+, has sent Action Directe (9a) in Frankenjura, in just six sessions. (c) Andrea Zanone

Solid work! Can you tell us more about your ascent?
The first time I tried AD was at the beginning of this trip. I left Italy on the 4th of October, and after a few days to get used to the style I went to check the route. It was a grey and humid day, but still, I was very psyched to try and see how the holds on this legendary route are. Honestly, I was feeling under pressure because of the holy atmosphere you breathe, when you are staring at the line from the bottom. It’s very hard to describe the feeling. After that session, I was hooked, but conditions in Frankenjura this fall were very bad. It was raining almost every 2 days and inside the forest, it was crazy humid and damp. Sometimes the temperatures were quite high, which was almost even worse than humid and cold, because the surface of the rock was wet due to condensation. I could try the route, but not as much as I wanted and day after day I was more conscious that the chance of failure was higher than succeeding.

I ended up sending AD after six days of effort, It was also the last chance for this trip. That day the conditions were quite good, the wind was finally blowing inside the forest and the rock was stickier than ever before!! I was feeling very fit but also very very stressed out. After 3 tries falling in the middle section, I could enter the traverse part for the first time and climb all the way to the top. It’s a priceless experience being able to stand on the top of this legendary route. Thanks, Wolfgang for your vision.

5 Uve 8c flash by Alex Ventajas

5 Uve 8c flash by Alex Ventajas

Alex Ventajas, who previously has done a handful 9a’s, has flashed 5 Uve (8c) in Narango. The Spaniard has been waiting for the perfect moment for a year, checking others working it, and after he watched a video of it he finally went for it.

Could you say something about the flash?
When I started climbing I wasn’t really thinking about anything, my mind was kind of blank and my body was flowing, one hold after another. All the way up I had the feeling I already knew the moves, such as when you are projecting a route and you have already metabolized the sequences.

The final crux was my only doubt because that day the weather was pretty humid and I didn’t know which of the two betas I saw would have been better. My head was working pretty fast and, at first, I decided to try catching a sloper hold but I understood I might fall because it was kind of slippery, so I rapidly changed beta bumping to catch a crimp. Everything happened so fast in that section, I found inside myself a huge motivation, a fresh energy that let me keep going without hesitation through those crimpy holds.

When I reached the good one I took a breath, reset my mind and kept climbing carefully till the top!

López and Potočar win epic MP show

López and Potočar win epic MP show

Yesterday, the Olympic winner Alberto Gines López spent an hour trying and obsessing on the crimpy, Poison the Well (8C+), until it got cold and dark.

15 hours later he is on the last belay station on the Red Bull Duel Ascent, watching his team mate, the 2022 World Cup winner Luka Potočar totally exhausted and sweaty going for the last and sixth 8a pitch.

I saw Domen (Skofic) was ahead and I just told Luka to fight. Once (Jernej) had taken his unfortunate fall, possibly due to accepting a bigger risk, I had recovered and had full control although I was exhausted.”

How about making this an Olympic discipline, the spectators seem to love it?
Please No :)

Luka: It was a totally new experience. I was exhausted as if I had never been in a competition before but is was great trying to stay on the wall. But I feel bad for Jernej and Domen.

Jernej: I blame my bouldering career. We tried to go so fast in the first pitches but in the end I was just too pumped.

Open Your Mind direct 9a (+) by Loic Zehani

Open Your Mind direct 9a (+) by Loic Zehani

Loic Zehani has done Direct open your mind (9a) in Santa Linya. (c) Eduardo Ruano Li

Could you tells us more about your ascent
It is a very beautiful route which is divided into 2 parts. The first is 8c+ and the second 8c. With a good rest in between. The first part is the hardest for me. The movements are powerful and resistant. I fell there a few times. The second part suits me better (one and two fingers pockets). It took me about ten tries.

What's next for you?
I am currently looking for an apartment around Lleida to stay 6 months there (santa linya, margalef, siurana). I don’t really have any routes in mind. Just want to try lots of hard routes.

In total, the 20-year-old has now done 50 routes 9a and harder, out of which 25 are FAs. During the last 12 months, he has done 17 routes 9a to 9b.

The Ice Knife sit-start 8C+ by Drew Ruana

The Ice Knife sit-start 8C+ by Drew Ruana

Drew Ruana, who previously has done four 8C+, reports on Insta that he has done The Ice Knife (sit-start) (8C+) in Guanella Pass, commenting that it is his hardest send ever and that he projected it for some 35 days. (c) Alton Richardson

Drew is a former successful competition climber who was #8 in the World Championship in 2019. He stopped competing after he failed to qualify for the Olympics. Since then the 22-year-old has been one of the very best boulderers in the world. In total, he has done more than 80 boulders 8B+ and harder. Here is an 8a interview with the full time Chemical engineering University student.

The stand start was put up by David Graham in 2011 as an 8C. Then Daniel Woods repeated it giving it a personal 8B+ grade and when he later did the FA of the sit-start he proposed 8C, saying it was his hardest ever. In 2016, Daniel upgraded it and some other of his hardest boulders and here is his logbook comments.
The sit adds in a powerful and awkward 4 move 8A+ into the 8B+ with no rest. The style of this boulder is different than anything I have climbed on. The holds require good friction and the movement is off balance and weird.

Esprit de vi 8b (a) 2nd go by Cathy Wagner (57)

Cathy Wagner has done Esprit de vi (8b) in Bellver, on her second go, giving it a personal 8a grade.

A must-do 👌. A perfect overhanging route packed with knee-bars working for both moves and rests. Hard 8a seems fair to me.”

In total, the 57-year-old has 866 routes 8a and harder in her logbook, the first one being in 1994. Without personal grades, she has probably done close to 900, which is more than any other female has climbed. She shows no signs of slowing down, having had more or less the same 8a score for 25 years straight. During the last 12 months, she has logged 36 routes 8a and harder.