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Grupper and Natsuki ahead before the finals

The Briancon Lead World Cup is on its way for the 12th consecutive year. Jesse Grupper and Chaehyun Seo won the qualification. In the semi, Grupper topped together with Luca Potocar. Among the females, Natsuki Tanii got highest win Janja Garnbret as the runner-up. Male results and Female results

Finals Saturday 8 pm

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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European Human Being 8A+ by Alex Johnson

European Human Being 8A+ by Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson has done European Human Being (8A+) RMNP (CO). "This went super quick for me this trip! It felt really good, I might feel the fittest on rock I've ever felt. I’ve tried this boulder in the past years ago, in 2009, and was super close but never topped. It was always on my life list to return to finish." (c) Allison Vest

The 32-year-old did her first Youth World Championship in 2003 and then in her World Cup debut in 2008 in Vail, she won. In 2019, after a three-year competition break, she did most of the World Cups trying to qualify for the Olympics and she was three times Top-13 in Bouldering. Alex did her first 8A+ at age 18 and actually, the last year has been her best ever for the 175 cm with five boulders 8A+ and harder.

Hades 9a by Alex Ventajas

Hades 9a by Alex Ventajas

Alex Ventajas has done Hades (9a) in Nassereith after projecting it for five days. "I’m really happy about the work I made to send this stunning line. Differently from other times, this was a continuous and linear progression. I dedicated myself to refining every detail and minimizing the mistakes, falling higher every time. 🧗🏻 I managed to truly enjoy every single try, something that you can’t take for granted." More info on his Insta. (c) Daniele Coppola

What are your following summer plans?
I don’t have anything concrete planned yet. Here in Arco it’s really hot and I’ll probably spend next weekend between bouldering in Valdaone, doing some easier routes to keep in shape and hopefully, I’ll try some trad multi pitch routes in Dolomiti, a new passion I’m developing recently. Finally, in august, I’ll go for a couple of weeks to Rodellar and I’ll probably try something harder💪🏼

Shawn Raboutou doing the FA of Story of 3 Worlds 8C+

In 2005, David Graham made the FA of The Story Of 2 Worlds (8C) in Cresciano. The name reflected the new inflated grades of that time and Dave made a statement that pretty much stopped the inflation and later many hard-core boulders were actually downgraded to fit the "new 8C standard". In the video, Shawn Raboutou has added a new start from the left where he makes an insane dyno into an undercling, linking it midways into Dave's classical testpiece, establishing Story of 3 Worlds 8C+. Shawn, the sibling to Olympian Brooke, has been somewhat under the radar for some years, not updating his hardest ascent on Insta. One example of this is that Shawn has done two possible 9A's which 8a has reported but which Shawn has not posted. Including also, at least, six 8C+ the 24-year-old should be a contender to Daniel Woods to be the #1 boulderer in the world.

Carlo Traversi made the third repeat back in 2013 and comments. "I’ve always looked at the left start for the Story, but with the way that I climbed Story it always seemed unlikely to make the full link work. The discovery of many kneebars obviously makes this link far more doable than without using them."

Three 8c+ (9a) by David Firnenburg

Three 8c+ (9a) by David Firnenburg

David Firnenburg, who previously has done 20 routes 9a or 9a+, has during three climbing days in Switzerland sent two 9a’s and an 8c+, logging them all as 8c+.

Torture physique 2.0 (9a): "Nice add-on to the first anchor! Didn‘t clip the first bolt from artificial (unfortunately) side-hold crimp but did the very long move to the pockets and clipped the second higher bolt of the anchor to call it a proper ascent of this second part of Torture. The last move definitely adds difficulty. The grade checks in around 8c+/9a, I think. Probably 9a for small people. I am around 1.80m. Sooner or later the third and final extension (intergrale) is calling! Moves feel possible…"

Cabane au Canada (9a): "Superb!"

Golden Shower (8c+): "Great summer crag in Valais (if there is wind). North faced. Really nice climb with compression moves at the start, crimps in the middle and pumpy at the top."

Could you tell us more about your trip and how you managed to do these climbs so quickly?
Well, the summer heat is hitting Switzerland and I was in search of crags in the shade and where there is wind. And I wanted to finish some routes which I already tried but didn’t send. A climbing friend, Andy Winterleitner, asked me to join him in Rawyl, a famous climbing spot above Sion in Valais, on an evening session. So, on the first day we went there and I could, after once checking out the moves again, send “Cabane au Canada” (~8c+). I tried it around 2 years ago and fell at the very last move because my foot slipped. This time I could really do every move in control and didn’t get really pumped. On the second day we went to a new crag at the climbing garden of Ravoire above Martigny, also in Valais. Around 3 weeks ago I went there with Samuel Ometz the first time and I tried “Golden Shower” (~8c+). Back then I spent two sessions in the route and fell close to the top. The conditions were pretty warm though, although it’s north faced (>35 degrees in the valley plus no wind).

This time could send it second go again on the day after putting back in the quick draws. On the wall there are some projects left which can be around 9a. I already started to work on a really nice hard line.

And on the 3rd day I teamed up with Dimitri Flick, another climbing friend of mine from Zurich, to go up to Gastlosen again. This summer I already spent one day up there to check out “Torture Physique” until the second anchor (~8c+/9a) but I already failed in the first part (~8c) because of a bad beta (risky heel hook). I wanted to come back and finish it because I felt fit enough to do it. This time I went one more time through the moves to change the beta. On my first try from the bottom I fell on the last hard move right above the second anchor, so really close. And on my 3rd try this day I could stick the last hard move and clipped the anchor. The difficulty of this route really comes down to this last move. Dimitri also could sent the first part in his 3rd try which was nice. So, sending train! The weekend afterwards he ended up 5th at the Euro Lead Cup in Slovakia 👍

Hattori Hanzo 8b+ MP by Katherine Choong

Hattori Hanzo 8b+ MP by Katherine Choong

Katherine Choong, who has been top-30 in the World Cup some 30 times, has done Hattori Hanzo (8b+) in Titlis Nordwand. The 30-year-old has previously also done two 9a’s and several other hard MP’s up to 8b+. In other words, her track record is one of the most impressive out there. (c) Vladek Zumr

So happy to complete a perfect no fall ascent the multi-pitch route Hattori Hanzo, 7 pitches, 8b+ max. (5b, 6b, 7b, 6c, 8b+, 8a+, 7a) in a day. And, the best part is that my partner Jim Zimmermann also sent the route on the same day. I led all the pitches, one after the other. Jim top roped the 4 « easy » first pitches and I belayed him on lead for the 3 last pitches. Thank you Matthias Trottmann for bolting this amazing route!”

What are your following summer plans?
Not sure yet but I would like to go to La Ramirole again (single pitch and maybe try the multi pitch route Hosana 8c max.), Aiglun with Ali Baba and maybe Piz dal Naz 8b max. also in the Titlis north face.

What is it you like the most doing multi-pitches?
The challenge is very complete. You have the fear of heights to deal with, the rope handling. In this route there was no trace of chalk. So the first time it seemed impossible! Then you get used to it and you finally surpass your limits. And then you don't "just" have to send a pitch but send several pitches in a row, mentally and physically I find that difficult! And of course the fact that it's a two-person adventure. You share so much more with your partner when you are in a multi-pitch climbing.

Two 8A's by Natalie Bärtschi

Two 8A's by Natalie Bärtschi

Natalie Bärtschi has been on a four week trip to Rocklands ticking almost 30 boulders where the highlights grade-wise were Mintberry Crunch (8A) and Cinquiéme soleil (8A). In the picture, the 28-year-old is doing Pinotage (7B+).

"I was very pleased to find myself in better shape than the years before and finish off some classics like Caroline (7C+) and Pinotage (7C). My personal highlight was climbing Cinquième Soleil (8A) in a single session. It's a comp style dyno with a foot stab into a tricky and committing end which took me a lot more tries than the actual jump. It's rare to find these kinds of moves outside and therefore hard to compare grade-wise but I think the style of this one suited me particularly well. Another one that went down surprisingly quick was Mintberry Crunch (8A) in Echo Valley (near Cape Town), which I had already spent one session on 4 years ago. Definitely not the hardest for its grade but still tricky for me since I was pretty much climbing at full span on the crux moves. My main goal this year was Black Shadow (8A+) which I had already tried on previous trips. I could consistently do it in two parts but unfortunately couldn't quite put it together, so this will have to wait for next time."

What do you think has been the key to being stronger this trip?
Well, it‘s been four years since my last trip and I‘ve been training a lot, mostly for competitions which I think made me a more well-rounded climber in general. In climbing there are so many variables physically and mentally but probably the biggest difference I‘ve noticed is improved finger strength, mostly through continuous hangboarding and climbing on a spray wall (35-45 degree). However, I would still consider finger strength one of my biggest weaknesses, especially when climbing outside. I‘ve also struggled with heel hooks (which are oftentimes crucial, especially in Rocklands) because of some minor knee issues but this year it seems like my legs are finally strong and healthy, never skip leg day I guess 😉 Last but not least, I decided to reduce my workload as a chiropractor and I have been working part-time since last autumn which allows me to put more time into training and climbing in general. Sorry for the long answer but it‘s hard to pinpoint exactly what made the difference, I guess consistency is key!