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Chilam Balam 9a+/b by Jonathan Flor

Chilam Balam 9a+/b by Jonathan Flor

Jonathan Flor reports on Insta that he has done Chilam Balam 9a+/b in Villanueva del Rosario.(c) Carlos Padilla

The 80 meters super steep route was put up by Barnabé Fernandez in 2003 as a 9b+. This created controversies as even 9b had not been confirmed before and Alex Huber did officially question the grade. Furthermore, as Fernandez could not name his belayer or was not interested to talk about his ascent with the Spanish media, it was not considered legitimate for many years.

Adam Ondra did the first repeat and suggested a downgrade to 9b. Later it has been repeated by five more guys with 9a+/b as the consensus grade. Jonathan Flor has previously done some 55 routes 8c+/9a or harder which puts him as #7 on that list.

Will Bosi has made the FA of the long standing project, Brandenburg Gate (9a+) at Raven Tor. “The climb is very similar to Hubble in a sense but the sequence of moves are a lot more complex and technically demanding. I was stuck for a while on the lower section but once I was able to unlock a sequence, the route came together really quickly for me”.

Overall, it took Will eight sessions to unlock the sequence on Brandenburg and 7 redpoint attempts to finally complete the chains. The route was widely assumed to be graded 9b due to its perceived difficulty and being an open project on such a popular sport climbing destination however Bosi settled on 9a+.

“My view is that Brandenburg was a soft end 9a+, in comparison to Mutation which I regard as solid 9a+. The climbing was harder than other 9a’s I have done in the past but not by a large degree so I feel it just about deserves 9a+. However, again I look forward to seeing the route get more ascents so the grade can settle one way or the other”.

The ascent is another milestone in a breakout year for Bosi on rock where he has climbed 9b+ and claimed multiple first ascents in Spain, rapid ascents of hard boulders out in Switzerland alongside his recent exploits at Raven Tor which places him at the vanguard of the new generation of strong British talent and alongside the true elite of world sport climbing.

Brandenburg Gate 9a+ FA by Will Bosi

Will Bosi has made the FA of the long standing project, Brandenburg Gate (9a+) at Raven Tor. “The climb is very similar to Hubble in a sense but the sequence of moves are a lot more complex and technically demanding. I was stuck for a while on the lower section but once I was able to unlock a sequence, the route came together really quickly for me”.

Overall, it took Will eight sessions to unlock the sequence on Brandenburg and 7 redpoint attempts to finally complete the chains. The route was widely assumed to be graded 9b due to its perceived difficulty and being an open project on such a popular sport climbing destination however Bosi settled on 9a+.

“My view is that Brandenburg was a soft end 9a+, in comparison to Mutation which I regard as solid 9a+. The climbing was harder than other 9a’s I have done in the past but not by a large degree so I feel it just about deserves 9a+. However, again I look forward to seeing the route get more ascents so the grade can settle one way or the other”.

The ascent is another milestone in a breakout year for Bosi on rock where he has climbed 9b+ and claimed multiple first ascents in Spain, rapid ascents of hard boulders out in Switzerland alongside his recent exploits at Raven Tor which places him at the vanguard of the new generation of strong British talent and alongside the true elite of world sport climbing.

Masterpiece 8B by Natalia Grossman

Natalia Grossman, the gold and silver medalist at the world championship in September, has done Masterpiece (8B). During just four climbing days in Joe's Valley (UT), the 20-year-old has done 14 boulders 7C+ and harder and there is a video coming up,
Insta teaser.

Catxasa 9a (+) by Gonzalo Larrocha (37)

Catxasa 9a (+) by Gonzalo Larrocha (37)

Gonzalo Larrocha has repeated Chris Sharma's Catxasa (9a+) in Santa Linya, giving it a personal 9a grade. In total, the 37-year-old has done 24 routes 9a and harder out of which five in 2021. (c) Jorge Diaz-Rullo from Victimes del Futur.

How was the process taking it down and what about knee pads?
I started trying the route just before the lockdown. I failed uncountable times because it's very hard to put my knees well so my feet don't slip. I climb with two kneepads but the most important is the one on the right leg. I found some betas using knees which made the crux section possible for me.

I was really grateful to share that day with Pol Ortiz, who give me a lot of motivation as he sent La novena puerta 8c+. He is one of the most important reasons I could do Catxasa.

Papichulo 9a+ by Mathieu Bouyoud

Papichulo 9a+ by Mathieu Bouyoud

Mathieu Bouyoud has done Papichulo (9a+) in Oliana. The 31-year-old has previously put up two 9a+ FAs and this was his first repeat of the grade. Full story at Fanatic Climbing (c) Toni Mas Bucacha

“My first check in Papichulo was in June 2019, just after my send of “Esclatamasters”. I did a second trip in November 2019, a week for Christmas 2019 and 10 days in Fébruary 2020, where I was close, falling in the loop. Unfortunately, Covid pandemia didn’t allow me to finish this project, so I stick a postcard of the crag on my fridge as a reminder, to keep the motivation high! Just having a talk about the projects with friends who were trying too as Axel Ballay gives me a lot of hope. “Papichulo” is one of the best 9a+ to climb, the place is incredible, this blue line perfect. A route that suits my style, fingery and sustained. I did the perfect try to conquer it.”

Furtunadrago 8B (A+) by Camilla Moroni

Furtunadrago 8B (A+) by Camilla Moroni

Camilla Moroni, who the last three weeks has done four 8As and one 8A+, has sent her first 8B, Fortunadrago in Varazze. In the last month 8a ranking game, she is runner-up behind Natalia Grossman which also where their result at the World Championship in Moscow in September.

"I had three sessions on this boulder, unlocking all the moves in the first and being very close to the send in the second. On the third day, the boulder was completely wet, we dried the holds and an hour later I was standing on the top after fighting with the terrible conditions. I don't have much experience as it's my first of the 8B grade but I think it could be a quite easy one."

The Story of 2 Worlds 8C (B+) by Killian Chabrier

The Story of 2 Worlds 8C (B+) by Killian Chabrier

Killian Chabrier, who just did Dreamtime 8B+ (C) in two sessions has done a likewise quick ascent of another Cresciano classic, The Story Of 2 Worlds (8C) giving it also a personal 8B+ grade. Video on his Insta.

How was the process taking it down?
So on my third day of climbing, I wanted to try The Dagger because I feel exhausted from my two previous days of climbing. I started warming up in it and did all the moves very quickly, and in one hour I send it. The line feels for me like an 8A+, not 8B or 8B+. At the end of the session, I tried a bit of the sit start (The Story of 2 Worlds) but I was too tired to do all the moves. In my second session, I did really quickly the moves to get to the stand. And on a try where I just wanted to try the first two moves, I did the start and arrived on the stand, the end is much easier so falling wasn’t an option and I sent it!

For the beta, I did exactly the same as Alex Megos. I decided to not use my kneepad because it wasn’t changing a lot for the start, maybe a little bit easier but it’s not significant and it’s more pleasant to climb without a kneepad. I decided to put 8B+ for the line because the recent beta that had been discovered is much easier than the original one, and for me, it feels a little bit easier than Dreamtime so 8B+ is logical for me!

It should be mentioned that the name of Dave Graham's classical testpiece from 2005 derived from "The Story of 2 Grading Worlds" back then. Dave talked about the grade inflation and called this, "The new 8C standard”. Some actually thought this was a sandbag grade and that 8C+ would be more appropriate. Basically, his strong statement, which was backed up by 8a, stopped the current grade inflation.

In 2010 Dai Koyamada did the second ascent but as he was told he had started too high, the 165cm tall came back in 2012 and did it from a lying position adding Low to the name and calling it 8C+. Later is was found out that he had started in the right position and also that his lying start actually did not add any difficulty.

Noteworthy is that Sebastian Cotting repeated Koyamada’s The Story... Low in 2018, also with the new beta going more feet first and called it 8B+, using a knee pad, video.