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Alex Megos' Margalef sending spree

Alex Megos' Margalef sending spree

Alex Megos, who the last three weeks has done five 9a to 9b routes in Margalef, reports on Insta that he has done three more 9a and harder FAs. Furthermore, three 8c+, out of which, two FAs and a flash of Patan el Villano 8c. (c) Javi Pec

Chan Chan Bastards 9a+/b: ”The Journey P1 into the unfortunately chipped top of Café Colombia"
Pink Patatas 9a+: "The first part is a sit start boulder problem that checks in at around 8A+ (V12) and finishes on a good flake from which an 8c+ route starts. Climbing the boulder into the route adds up to about 9a+ I'd say. 50 moves in a roof make it very pumpy for sure 😅."
Patatas Pantera 9a: "I put my focus on a new cave found and bolted by Tom Bolger."

Schwarz Mönch 9a (+) by Obed Hadmeier

Schwarz Mönch 9a (+) by Obed Hadmeier

Obed Hardmeier has done Schwarz Mönch (9a), which is an extension to Renardo Rules (8c) that follows a beautiful black strip up the iconic wall in Gimmelwald. (c) Rainer Eder

"Two years ago I tried the route for the first time. Last year I seriously projected the route as far as it was possible and I had to end the season without an ascent. This year I already had some good attempts in spring which increased the motivation again. On Sunday there was a lot of Foehn wind, which is quite rare in Gimmelwald - in the first attempt of the day I was able to send the route immediately and was overjoyed.

As for the difficulty of the route, I am not sure. In any case, I find the route significantly harder than the 9a "Jungfraumarathon" and "Alpenbitter" next door. Further ascents will clarify..."


What is next?
Currently, I don't have a new goal yet I first have to find another project or finish smaller existing projects. What is for sure is that the season in Gimmelwald is slowly coming to an end. At the end of September, I started my Master's degree (civil engineer ETH Zurich) and still work about 20% besides my studies - so maybe my next goal/challenge is to find a way to combine full-time studies, work and climbing ;).

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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Jumbo Love 9b by Seb Bouin

Jumbo Love 9b by Seb Bouin

Sebastien BOUIN, who previously has done nine routes 9b to 9c, has sent Jumbo Love (9b) at Clark Mountain. It took him ten days and now he is working on a more direct and harder variation. (c) Clarisse Bompard

“An old dream came true last Wednesday. This king line has attracted me for a long time. It was a true inspiration to see the footage of Chris Sharma on it. I started climbing around 2005 and it was one of the most incredible climbing films I had watched at that time. Jumbo Love looked like everything I like in Climbing: A perfect huge orange steep wall in the middle of the Mojave desert.

I knew this line and this wall will be my pure climbing style. Climbing on this line is something I have been waiting for, for several years. And I am definitely not disappointed. It's an amazing line with perfect moves. But, Jumbo Love is not just a hard line, it's a whole adventure. I totally underestimated the total process, the drive, the off-roading, and the hike in. We changed our car three times because it was not good enough to get to the crag. We also changed two tires due to off-road driving incidents,... The 1h hike really takes it out of you. I am used to climbing for many days in a row. But, here, that would be a mistake. We had to preserve ourselves. And keep our energy and motivation up. We were sleeping some nights in the desert, so as not to drive every day. I did the route on my 10th climbing day.

My overarching objective would be to do the Direct variation of Jumbo Love, which is supposed to be harder. My approach was simple, find the best betas possible in Jumbo Love, in order to have the highest chances possible to send it coming from the direct (adding an 8c+ route before the 9b). In this process, I used kneepads for the send, in three places. This kind of rock (orange rock with pockets) is actually not the best for using kneepads, but I still found it helped a little, with some tricky ‘expert ++’ kneebars. I was falling half of the time, slipping from kneebars. I almost gave up with these kneebars at some point because it was to sketchy. I was thinking the route a bit more powerful without kneebars, but way more secure if you have the strength required.

Yet, I was still thinking about how to approach the direct version. With the normal start, you are coming into the jumbo Love crux really fresh because there is not so hard climbing before (around 8a to reach the crux). So I still had a lot of power reaching the crux from the original start. Yet, in the objective to start from the direct (which add an 8c+ route right before the crux) I would need to find some less powerful beta, even if it's more technical. That's why I stuck with my kneebar beta. The kneebar help so in this route, I don't think they are changing the grade. It's not like "Iron Curtain" or "Change" where the kneebars are making a big difference. I think Jumbo Love stays on the same level, with or without. This route is really stunning! Incredible and futuristic vision from Randy Leavitt to bolt this one in the 90's... Thanks for the futuristic vision and the line, and thanks for the inspiration Chris Sharma and Reel Rock.”

Compass North 8B+ by Marine Thevenet

Compass North 8B+ by Marine Thevenet

Marine Thevenet reports on Insta that she has repeated Compass North (8B+) in Fionnay after just some 5-6 sessions. (c) Clement Lechaptois, who did the FA and commented. "Starts as Underground paradise and Fuck the system, and goes straight into the grey 45 panel in the other side of the big cave. Basic climbing on crimps!"

Can you fill us in on this climb and your send?
I tried a few with Clément when it still was a project, but at that time I couldn’t figure out the crux (mostly due to a pulley injury). I came back in good shape after Rocklands and I focused on the end to be sure that, when I will pass the crux I will not fall! The reality was really different 😅 I fell quite a lot in the "easy part"!

After sending Zima Blue (8B) in august I tried it from the bottom! I did a lot of Moonboard to have contact strength, and some stamina on the Smartboard cause the boulder is a little bit long!

No pain no gain 9a+ by Anak Verhoeven

No pain no gain 9a+ by Anak Verhoeven

Anak Verhoeven reports on Insta that she has repeated Dani Fuerte's No pain no gain (9a+) in Rodellar. (c) Leoni von Ristok

"I was focused, but not as nervous as during my first try a few days before. Lots of things could make me fall, but I tried to climb in a relaxed way nevertheless. When I reached the end of the last crux, I fought to stay on and managed to keep going. A big rest brought relief and gave me the energy for the last tricky boulder. And then I clipped the chains. :)"

How many days of projecting did it take?
Some 8 climbing days before sending.

What about going for 9b or even 9b+? It seems you have the level.
Maybe ;)

Anak was previously a very successful competition climber. She has won three World Cups and was runner-up eight times, almost always behind Janja Garnbret. The 26-year-old Belgian stopped competing in 2019 due to an elbow injury she first sustained in 2017. In 2020 she ruptured a pulley and had to undergo surgery. In total, she has now done 16 routes 8c+/9a and harder putting her #2 and just behind Laura Rogora on the leaderboard of hard redpointing.

Primitivo Stand 8A+ by Camilla Moroni

Primitivo Stand 8A+ by Camilla Moroni

Camilla Moroni has done her fourth 8A+ during the last three weeks, Primitivo Stand 8A, which originally was 8B, in Valle Bavona. The 21-year-old Italian was #9 in the World Cup this year and in the 8a ranking game, she is #5.


What's next?
At the beginning of November I will start training again so I will only be able to climb on rock on the weekends. I would like to send some 8A+ (lines) in Ticino (like Second Life and King of Sonlerto) and start trying Heritage (8B+).

Blackout 8B by Alex Johnson

Blackout 8B by Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson has done Blackout (8B) in Joe's Valley (UT) and here is the video. (c) Melina Costanza

My thoughts have been absorbed by this thing for months, waiting for temps to drop in Utah. Getting on Colorado crimp lines this summer only made me obsess over this one more. I tried it once last year with Allison Vest when she sent, and it was one of those climbs that just sunk its hooks into me. Quintessential crimp pulling test piece; the epitome of my climbing style. After dropping the end last weekend in maybe the biggest punt of my life, I’m real content with putting it away, and where I’m at with my climbing and fitness right now. What’s next? Unsure, but I know without a doubt this isn’t my limit.”

The 33-year-old first made headlines on 8a in 2008, when we followed up on her victory at the Vail World Cup 2008 in an article. The same year she did her first 8A+ and was also #1 in the 8a ranking game. In 2010, she was overall #4 in the Boulder World Cup including winning one event. She stopped competing in 2015 and took it up again in 2019, trying to qualify for the Olympics. Outdoors, she is having her best year ever in 2022 with two 8B’s and five 8A+’.

Smeagol 8B by Karoline Sinnhuber

Smeagol 8B by Karoline Sinnhuber

Karoline Sinnhuber has done Smeagol (8B) in Zillertal. "How much struggle did I have on the last 3 moves? - YES! Sososososo happy I could finally keep my shit together and top it out 😍"

In total, the former competition climber has done 46 boulders 8A+ and 8B. Last week, 8a reported that she had done her first 8A+ in eight months. The Austrian explained that she in June partly ruptured her pulley and later in July/August suffered from further inflammation.

La flûte en chantier 8c+ by Solène Amoros

La flûte en chantier 8c+ by Solène Amoros

Solène Amoros, a french multi-pitch specialist, has set a new PB by doing La flûte en chantier (8c+) in Verdon. (c) Theo Cartier

"I’ve been trying the route a little bit for the last two seasons, and this year I trained specifically for this. It is an incredibly beautiful line, with two (very bad) parallel tufas. One of the first lines you see when you arrive in the cave. It is composed of 3 sections: a physical 8b, a powerful 8b+ on bad holds (the crux) and an 8a+. The first 8b is composed of big moves in a 45° steep wall for about 15 m, it's not that hard but difficult enough to consume a consequent part of your energy balance. Then it’s less steep, and a good but really painful rest allows you to breathe a bit before the crux section: 15 intense movements without any possibility to shake or chalk. It is super hard to pinch and to be precise enough on the holds of this single tufa during a few meters. The feet are really bad and you need to rush forward until the moment you have to traverse to another tufa.

It’s a big traverse move and I sent the route the first time I stuck it. A 5 stars drop knee section leads you to another big rest. And then you're only left with a final 8a+, 20 m long and very stressful during the send! When I sent it, a little breeze was cheering me on, it was perfect. This year, it took me 10 days to send, divided between 3 trips. I was working and training in between and could go every two weekends only. In the end, I don’t really remember the send go but more so all the other tries and high points. Maybe because it obsessed me until the next one? I really enjoyed the process, the training and the good stress of giving everything for a route. Especially when the route is in a place as beautiful as La Ramirole. The Verdon gorges are a peaceful and quiet area that I really love, and I can’t wait to spend more time there in the next years."


What are the hardest MPs you have done the last two years?
Alibaba (8a+ - 240 m) in September
La Ramirole (8b max -150 m) in May
Hôtel Supramonte (8b max - 400 m except for the last easy pitches that were wet at the tile) last November
Lignes de vie (8a+ max - 150 m) in Grenoble last summer
Asproman (8a max - 200m) in Ailefroide 2 years ago 🙂.

What is your next plan and what about this winter?
I'm going to climb and bolt new routes in Albania for the next two weeks and then start training again to climb 9a on day 🙃

Multiverse 8C by Taylor McNeill

Multiverse 8C by Taylor McNeill

Taylor McNeill has done Multiverse (8C) in Neverland, after projecting it for 8 days. "Perfect line... Best of the best." James Webb put it up in 2014 as an 8B+ and commenting, "Absolutely one of the best lines I've done. So glad to make the FA. Maybe the low now? Hope it's possible!" Then in 2019 a video was presented calling it 8C.

Do you know why it was 8B+ originally?
If I remember correctly, Jimmy had never done an established 8C at that time and didn’t feel comfortable calling it harder. The boulder is in the middle of nowhere, about an hour of driving on dirt roads. Also is quite hard. Daniel came really close in the spring, I bet it will see another ascent soon.