EDITORIAL

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


New Combined format to be tested in ECH Munich

The European Championships, in Munich, starts on 11/8 and finishes on 17-18/8 with the Combined final events. The Combined qualification rankings are based on (World Cup) points gained in the Lead and Boulder events at the beginning of the Championships. In other words, 850 points might be needed to…

Outsiders in Euro Champ in Munich

The European Championship in Munich starts 11/8 and some will compete for four days straight doing three rounds in Boulder and Lead respectively. This means that the athletes only doing one discipline have an advantage and that goes especially for the male athletes only doing Lead and the female ath…

10 nations share the 18 medals in Graz

The third and final day of the Euro Youth Championship in Graz started with the semifinal for the oldest juniors. Surprisingly, both the boys and the girls competed on almost identical boulders as the final Youth A boulders from yesterday. Several coaches were upset as this is against the onsight fo…

Korosec and Mabboni Youth A winners in Graz

On the second day of the European Youth Championship in Graz, Allesia Mabboni from Italy won Youth A making two tops and four zones (24). Runner-up was Iziar Martinez from Spain who flashed the two boulders which Allesia could not do but she could only make three zones. The Spaniard was #15 in the …

Very hard boulders in ECH - Graz

The European Youth Championship in Bouldering started today in Graz. Unfortunately, the boulders were very hard and both climbers and coaches were upset. The Norweigian Head Coach, Reino "Nicki" Horak said that for the girls, it was the worst and hardest setting he has ever seen. "It was much worse …

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Speed Integral 9a by Luisa Deubzer

Speed Integral 9a by Luisa Deubzer

Luisa "Lulu" Deubzer has done Speed Integral (9a) in Voralpsee. The 28-year-old was one of the very best Lead competition climbers in the world at age 15. Two years later she did her first 8b and stopped competing. Last year she did her first 8c (interview), and this spring she has done two more as well as the trad climb Prinzip Hoffnung (8b+), in spite of having struggled with some injuries.

What is next climbing wise for you and what do you think would be most important for us climbers to change/improve in order to reduce our footprint?
I guess I can stop sport climbing for a bit now… This summer I’ll hopefully get to enjoy plenty of moderate multi pitch climbing and mountains. As Speed really was this life-time dream of mine, I want to bask in this feeling for a bit and the plan therefore is to not get sucked into the next big project right away… Let’s see how that goes.

To your second question, I’m clearly not in the position to tell others what to do, as I am myself far from perfect. Climbers, just like anyone else, all have different lifestyles. Therefore, I think it makes sense to look at your individual footprint to identify which area you still have the biggest room for improvement and how you could and want to adapt your lifestyle accordingly.

Collectively speaking, I think there is still a lot of room for denormalising plane travel to go climbing. I feel like the narrative around this has already changed quite a bit in the last years, but it is still somehow ingrained in our culture that is is „cool“ to discover far away places on your holiday, to escape winter, to chase good conditions… Not to say you can’t take the plane to go on a trip, I just think it shouldn’t be the socially acceptable default anymore in these times… Every time, someone decides against a trip by plane and talks about the environmental reasons for it, it changes the narrative a bit. To me, the French/Belgian Crew sailing to Yosemite is one of the most inspiring things this year, especially with Sebastien Berthe having such a hard objective. Of course, there are a lot of other climbing culture specific habits that could require change, the traveling one is just the first one that comes to my mind. A couple years ago, I tried to order my thoughts around this topic a bit in the form of words if anyone is interested to read further: https://talesofhillsandrails.weebly.com/faq Nothing of this is novel, just a collection of discussion points around this.

Fanatic climbing has published a long interview.

"I like getting my ass kicked and expanding my comfort zone, that’s why I really enjoy that climbing in the wider sense is so varied. I have broadened my skills in the other forms of climbing quite a bit over the last years as a member of the current all-female ‘Young Alpinist Group’ of the German Alpine Club (although I still suck at these various forms of Alpinism). Depending on the season, weather and motivation, I have periods where I ice and mixed climb more, do multipitches or a mountain here and there. At the end of the day, however, my strengths do lie in sport climbing." Photo: DAV- Silvan Metz

Bianca 8a+ OS by Andrea Locatelli (11)

Bianca 8a+ OS by Andrea Locatelli (11)

Andrea Locatelli, who has onsighted eight 8a's in 2022, has onsighted Bianca (8a+) in Somplago. The eleven-year-old did his first 8c last year but this year he has focused on onsight, having done eight 8a's. We reached out to his father to get some comments.

"Last year Andrea climbed his first 8c in six attempts and realized that with a few more attempts he could reach even higher levels. However, the choice was to improve the climbing onsight, certainly much more useful to train for the competitions but also to deal more easily with the less difficult sections of a possible hard project. In fact, at the beginning of 2022, Andrea worked on a new project for 5/6 sessions equipped by a friend, probably between 8c/8c+. When I realized that he felt too much pressure we decided together to temporarily abandon it... and dedicate ourselves to climbing onsight or short redpoints in the day, both at home but especially when we are travelling. Then came the first 8a and now 8a+ onsight!

I must admit that Andrea has a good reading of the rock and excellent use of the feet, and also his mobility helps him a lot. Certainly climbing onsight allows him to express himself without pressure and amuses him. And at 11, I think it’s more important than adults that climbing is a game. I think also that climbing to these levels at his age will allow him in the future to be more effective and efficient in the hard redpoint projects!"

Paradise Found 8C FA by James Squire

Paradise Found 8C FA by James Squire

James Squire, who previously has done four 8C's, has done the FA of Paradise Found (8C) in Hartland. It took him 15 sessions and there is a video on Insta.

"I first tried the project in summer 2020 but took a break from climbing and training in 2021. This year I spent around 15 sessions working on the boulder. This is a totally different style from many hard boulders. It does not involve sharp holds or small crimps instead, the difficulty comes from powerful bicep intensive moves, body tension, and complex beta. To train for the boulder, I spent more time lifting weights in the gym to cope with the athleticness of the boulder. Over the last 6 months, I had a weight gain of around ~8kg. Initially, I was a bit worried this might affect my fingers, but after some time to get used to it, my climbing and body, in general, feel stronger and more stable. I believe this is the hardest boulder I have ever climbed and is one of the best super hard boulders in the UK."

What about the ladder in the picture? Where does the boulder start?
It starts where I am in the Insta video (starts on two big undercuts). I started off the ladder as the beach level changes by a few meters week to week. Sometimes you can pull on normally. Tide and seasons affect it. An unusual condition you have to take into account when trying the boulder! You also can’t access it at high tide. So you can only try for a few hours of the day.

Legacy 9a by Paul Robinson

Legacy 9a by Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson has done the third ascent of Legacy (9a) in Rocklands. It was found and tried by Dave Graham as a scary highball. Later Fred Nicole bolted it and tried it for five years. In 2019, Giuliano Cameroni got the permission to try it and made the FA and then Nicole made the first repeat few days later. Lizzy Ellison

Paul Robinson says on Insta that it could also be graded 8B+. "The route is short so it really is hard to say which grade to use but it sure is a stunner!"

So what do you think are the pros and cons with the bolts?
You kind of need to rope climb it because the landing is really bad with a tree and a few of the holds are fragile at the end and could risk breaking and if you fell there you would die.

Brace for the Cure 8C+ FA by Matt Fultz - updated

Brace for the Cure 8C+ FA by Matt Fultz - updated

Matt Fultz, who previously has done four 8C+, has done the FA of Brace for the Cure (8C+) in Green 45. It starts in Jade (8B+) and then continues on small crimpers in a left loop. Video on his Insta.

"This is quite a unique problem. Each move individually isn’t too bad if you hit the holds perfectly. But the crimps are sharp, small, and precise. Often I would grab one of the holds wrong by just a little bit, then would be frozen for the next move. So satisfying to send and hit every hold perfectly for once!".

Could you say something about the process how you took it down?
The problem starts by doing the classic Jade (8B+) into a crux transition where it’s really hard to get your fingers perfectly on the precise crimps. Then you finish with a 1-move 7C+ which feels much harder when you’re a little pumped! I fell off the last hard move back in 2020 right before I moved away from Colorado. I came back in the summer of 2021 but only had one session on it before I got injured. This year, I trained in Boise through May specifically for this problem and it payed off!

Gakido 8C+ FA by Nomura Shinichiro

Shinichiro Nomura did the FA of Gakido (8C+)in Chigobutai, three months ago. "Finally i sent the old project, known as one of the biggest japanese routes. In addition to bad holdings, i struggle with the worst positioning that i’ve never felt, compared with some over V15 projects. However i managed to send by my sense that i found. Although Japanese routes require a lot of moves and are hard to connect as a whole, this route is short and severe. but the shape of boulder is awesome so I am really happy that i sent it." Here is the great video.

Duffy wins also in Lead in Innsbruck

Duffy wins also in Lead in Innsbruck

Colin Duffy, who won the Boulder WC in Innsbruck three days ago, got the victory also in Lead. Although the 18-year-old was just two holds above the #6, he was pretty superior as he had good control of the last five moves where the others struggled more. In the short Molly Thompson-Smith interview, he commented. "I was feeling quite tired both physically and mentally. I think keeping yourself together through that many rounds of hard competition is really hard on the mind, but as soon as I stepped on the stage for Lead finals I was right back in the zone. I was just happy to climb. I knew the stakes were possible to get the double win, but at the end of the day I really just wanted to climb to my potential."
Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC

Runner-up was Ao Yurikusa - JPN, who was #6 last week in Innsbruck in the University World Championship, beating Jesse Grupper -USA on time. Noteworthy is that USA had three in the Top-11, Japan had four in the Top-12 and Germany three in the Top-13. Complete results

In the Olympics Colin was #7 and last in the final. However, had he not made a false start with 0.002 seconds against Alberto Gines López in the Speed, he would probably have gotten the Olympic gold.

Janja wins again and saves the show

Janja wins again and saves the show

Janja Garnbret, who has not competed since she won the Boulder WC in Meiringen in April, won in Innsbruck showing her superiority. Reaching hold 27, she rested and hesitated for 45 seconds. Looking down and checking the clock the spectators salute her and she waves back and after one more chalk up she goes for the cross-over dyno footless move and as she controls it the crowd goes wild and Janja smiles as she understands that she probably will win again. Then she continues ten more moves. Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC

Commenting afterwards she said, "It’s good to be back! I think it was a good decision to skip Boulder comps, I could come back refreshed with a fresh mind, so I really enjoyed the weekend. I won’t lie, I was nervous because I haven’t done a competition for so long, but I enjoyed the whole weekend and it just feels so good to be back. I need to thank the routesetting team because they did an amazing job. I love hard routes and especially after semi’s was too easy, we got something completely opposite – probably the hardest route I’ve ever climbed on the World Cup circuit! It’s amazing and I hope this continues the whole season, she was nervous but that it was a good decision to skip the Boulder comps."

1. Janja Garbret SLO 38+
2. Chaehyun Seo KOR 27+
3. Brooke Raboutou USA 27+
4. Laura Rogora ITA 27+

The ranking 2 - 4 was decided by who climbed faster and it should be mentioned that Chaehyun also was the one being closest to scoring 28. Janja loved the very hard route but for the rest of the field, it actually looked too hard.

Overall, the 23-year-old has now won 21 of the 39 World Cups and World Championships she has participated in.