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P con fin mas Hulk extension 9a by Alex Ventajas

P con fin mas Hulk extension 9a by Alex Ventajas

Alex Ventajas has been on a trip to Rodellar where he did four 8c’s and P con fin mas Hulk extension (9a) (c) Silvia Coppola

Rodellar is one of my favorite spots to spend the summer holidays. I love this climbing style with a lot of knee pads, overhang, and roof climbing. It is like a little paradise for climbers.

Since few days before departure, I wasn’t sure about what to do, but in the end, I took the guide and made up a list of the 8c routes I haven’t done yet. I thought it could be a good compromise between climbing hard and having fun. Also, an Italian friend of mine was coming with me and I wanted to show him different sectors, instead of having to go always in the same place to try one specific route.

In the end, I think I made a really good choice. The 8c routes I choose were super different from each other, so it ended up being a really stimulating and fanatic challenge:

Welcome to Tijuana (8c) is a very demanding and bouldery route, with super powerful moves on crimps,

El hijo libre (8c) it’s pure roof climbing with lots of kneebars and tricks to figure out,

La Florida (8c) is 40 meters endurance climbing with some hard moves in between.

Hulk extension (8c), a classic in Alì Baba cave: a very physical line with bad holds and crazy kneebars.

After sending it I got curious about the 9a “Proa + Fin de Ali Hulk Extension”, a logical line that connects an 8A or 8A+ boulder problem with the 8c: it’s a super physical route that tires all your body, especially your legs and I managed to solve the boulder quite rapidly and, in the beginning, I thought that if I could pass the boulder I wasn’t going to fall in the second part. Things went exactly in the opposite way: the route in fact it’s quite longer than it seems and in the last few meters hides an infinity of moves! Actually, in the first two attempts, I manage to pass the boulder falling in the last move of the 8c because I run out of strength, and I finally sent the route on my third go.

I found it pretty funny to combine boulder and rope in the same route, so maybe next trip here I would try the original connection “Ali Baba Hulk extension“ (9a+), that crosses the entire cave!

TTT 9a by Théo Blass (12)

TTT 9a by Théo Blass (12)

Théo Blass has done Trip tik tonik (9a) in Gorges du Loup, after trying it for some ten odd sessions. The 12-year and 9-months-old climber has now taken "the youngest in the world to reach 9a title", from Gianluca Vighetti, who was two months older. (c) Alizée Blass (9) who, on the same day, did her first 8a.

Fanatic Climbing has made an interview with his father Vladimir Arnaoudov about the ascent. When Théo was 10 years old he did his first 8c his father explained his son's climbing background to 8a.

"Theo started climbing more regularly when he was 8 (he was climbing before, but quite irregularly). His progression was quite interesting: it took him a few months of projecting to send his first 6b+ (on top rope) and then he progressed from 6b+ to 8b in less than a year and a half. His training is a bit chaotic and highly dependent on motivation, time of the year and availability of other more fun activities (such as mountain biking, skiing or building a shack in the garden). At the beginning of the lockdown he trained a lot at our small home bouldering wall but then he lost motivation and did not train for a month.

From the dad's perspective, there are two key takeaways from the experience of belaying, watching, encouraging, counseling, supporting and occasionally arguing with Theo about beta: (1) adult grades are a bit of a nonsense when it comes to kids - two of the hardest moves on the route for Theo are among the easiest for adults - so not worth getting too excited about grades (especially when you are under 1m40); (2) even if fear, frustration and failure are part of the game, climbing kids of the world, enjoy every moment of climbing, projecting, trying hard, sending and try to have fun, and confidence - the future belongs to you."

EDITORIAL

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


Luca Bana and the FA of Extrasistole 9a

Luca Bana did the FA of Extrasistole galoppante (9a) in December 2021. "Outstanding project on the 'heart' sector, bolted in 2010 by Yuri parimbelli and remained unclimbed until now. A mix of big exposure, rock quality and savage moves makes it one of the best hard routes of the area!"

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Redoublement d’effort 9a by Tanguy Merard (18)

Redoublement d’effort 9a by Tanguy Merard (18)

Tanguy Merard, who did La moustache qui fâche (9a+) in July, has done the second ascent of Redoublement d'effort (9a) in La Roche-de-Rame. In June, the 18-year-old was #3 in a Euro Youth Cup.

"I heard about this route when my friend Diego Fourbet did the FA a few years ago. Then I lived two years in Briançon to climb with a great team and suddenly I was able to try it. In my first year there (2020) I was able to do La proue debridée (8c+) which is the start of Redoublement d'effort (9a). At the end of the year I started to try and put 3/4 sessions into it with.

This spring I did not try because I did a lot of competitions. I went back on it when I worked as a server in Ailefroide this summer. In my first session on it, I had trouble and I arrived pumped at the crux. From the second session, I fell at the last movement. Then I did a little Moonboard at Mélissa's (Le Nevé) in La Roche, rested a bit and it went down on the 3rd session.

Now I am concentrating on Biographie (9a+). Last week I passed the crux for the 2nd time and I fell one move before the final jug. I am so happy to finally have made this progress on that route. Just have to be patient and love it 😁"

Foundations Edge 8C by Simone Tentori

Foundations Edge 8C by Simone Tentori

Simone Tentori has done Dave Graham's Foundations Edge (8C) in Fionnay. "I'm just so happy to have climbed one of my lifetime dream boulders. It's my second 8C boulder after the FA I put up in April 2021 in Val Masino, but I sent this one unexpectedly fast. It was my first visit ever to Fionnay a week ago and I was really lucky to have shared a session on the Foundation boulder with Clem Lachaptoise. He was very kind to show me the perfect beta and I was close to sending that day, but I felt tired and with bad skin so the next day I rested. The next day Simon Lorenzi showed up and sent really fast, but then he left because he had to drive to Magic Wood. I was left alone but after 1h of cooling down my skin and readjusting a bit the hand positions I had a really good try and I was on top."

Isabelle Faus feature segment and an 8B+ FA

Isabelle Faus has been one of the best female boulderers since 2014 when she did her first 8B. In total, she has now done at least 33 boulder problems graded 8B or 8B+. When it comes to FA's, the 29-year-old has done four 8Bs and two 8B+, which makes her unique in the female bouldering scene.

Oblivion 9a FA by Alex Rohr

Oblivion 9a FA by Alex Rohr

Alexander Rohr has done the FA of Oblivion (9a) in Gimmelwald. The 26-year-old has previously done a dozen 9a’s and last month he did his first 9a+, Change P1. (c) John Thornton

Yesterday I could do the first ascent of an old project in Gimmelwald. It is a link-up between Alpenbitter (8c+/9a) and Renardo Rules(8c/8c+). It consists of the first and easier part of Alpenbitter, a hard boulder crux, ~8A+, in the middle and the finish of Renardo Rules. There is no real rest and the main problem of the route is doing the 4 move boulder crux a little tired. The first two moves of the crux are not very hard but offer very tricky climbing with high probability of doing mistakes. One little mistake and the two last moves felt impossible.

I wanted to do this route before Flatanger but couldn‘t finish it. After returning from Norway, I immediately jumped on that challenge again and spent another four days until yesterday, when I could finally link all the moves together. I hesitated about the grade a little, but after the successful try, I repeated Alpenbitter as a training and had to realize, that the new link-up must be harder.”

Deltaplane Man Direct 8c+ by Graham Owens (17)

Deltaplane Man Direct 8c+ by Graham Owens (17)

Graham Owens has done Deltaplane man direct (8c+) in Entraygues. The 17-year-old has previously done one 9a and three 8c+.

Could you say something about the process of how you took it down?
It was a cool process. I did the 8b version quickly but worked out the top part and found one move quite hard. I took a break from the route and came back in better conditions, which helped a lot. I sent on the third go of that day with the same direct beta of jumping to the crux crimp.

What is the autumn plan?
This fall the plan is to rage Jaws II (9a+) at Rumney which I’ve been seriously trying since I sent my first 9a last year. The route is hard and low percentage but I’ve made good progress and feel psyched on it. I’ll also try to do some bouldering and maybe a few open comps.

Zangerl and Larcher comment on their amazing Eternal Flame ascent

Zangerl and Larcher comment on their amazing Eternal Flame ascent

In July, Barbara Zangerl and Jacopo Larcher made a six-day onsight/flash ascent of the 650m Eternal Flame 7c+ in Pakistan, topping out at 6 240m. Babsi and Jacopo chose to ‘swing-leads’ - meaning they each led alternate pitches. However, they also decided they would both lead the four hard crux (7c-7c+) pitches on the route. All removable protection was placed on lead, as they climbed. Here are some further details of their amazing ascent as well as a mini-interview. (c) Austin Sidak - Reel Rock

What were the driving forces going for such a big project, doing Eternal Flame?
Eternal Flame was always a dream route for us. Inspired by the vision of Kurt Albert and Wolfgang Güllich. All pictures we saw about this free-standing tower kept us psyched to finally visit this place and try to repeat it. We were already there last year but didn’t get lucky enough with the weather. So last year we spent all our time hiking up and down the gully with just a very little of climbing. All in all, it was a fantastic trip anyway. The country the culture, the people the food, the landscape, staying in this beautiful place without cell phone service or internet far away from everything was kind of a new and great experience. We knew it won’t be our last visit.

What were climbing-wise the biggest challenges for you?
The biggest challenge is of course the altitude and the conditions. You don’t always feel very well at this altitude, everything that you do up there is way more exhausting compared to normal. You don’t really recover from climbing or don’t sleep much during the night. It is also a very long and steep approach in a dangerous gully because of rock falls.

It takes approximately one week to get from home to base camp and then you need to get acclimatized before you even can start to climb this wall. For the first 8 days, we just carried up all the gear, food, tents, the portaledge, and sleeping bags. We went up and down multiple times and slept a couple of times at 5000-5500m before we started our ground-up push. So it takes a lot of time to finally get into climbing mode. And last but not least you need very good conditions otherwise you can’t free climb up there.

How do you feel climbing at such a high altitude? Grading-wise, would the hardest pitch be 7c+ also at sea level?
Yes, I think that the grading is ok where ever it would be. It is just way harder to climb at this altitude. If you don’t have perfect conditions you can’t even think about climbing at 6000m.

Last year we have spent 5 weeks at the Trango Towers and there was not a single chance to climb Eternal flame. It was wet or there was ice in the cracks. So you need to be also very lucky to find the route in good condition. And even if you have good weather it can be pretty cold up there. So compared to other walls we did before….it was definitely more challenging and complicated all in all.

Day 1 – 18th July
At 4 a.m they got up and carried their load up to the base of the wall. They climbed the first 9 pitches, up to ‘Sun Terrace’. (swinging leads) (Lead: 7a+ Babsi, 6c+ Jacopo, 5c Babsi, 5c Jacopo, 5b Babsi, 5b Jacopo, 5c Babsi, 6c Jacopo, 3b Babsi) They set up their bivi at Sun Terrace for the night.

Day 2 – 19th July
They climbed 6 pitches up to the bottom of the first 7b (the 7b was completely wet. So they decided to rappel back down to sun terrace) They spent the afternoon there and rested for the rest of the day. (Lead: 5b Babsi, 7a-Jacopo, 7a+ Babsi, 7a Jacopo, Babsi 7a, Jacopo 6c+)

Day 3 – 20th July
Babsi and Jacopo jumared up to the previous day’s high point. They were quite early and it was so cold that they couldn’t start climbing until the sun came around the corner. They were waiting at the hanging belay for 2 hours. Jacopo climbed the 7b pitch with numb fingers and toes. The wind was blowing and it was very hard and took lots of energy. That day they only climbed 3 pitches (7b, 6c+,7c). Both leading the 7c (first Jacopo, then Babsi), then swinging leads on the others. They were exhausted after this day and the next 7c was still completely wet. So we abseiled back to the sun terrace on the fixed lines.

Day 4 - 21st July
They jumared up to the last day’s high point. Babsi climbed the next 7c in ok conditions. A bit of ice and water at the start of the pitch which made it tricky. Afterward, Jacopo also sent this pitch on lead. Babsi took the next 6c on lead. Jacopo then following her to the snow ledge. They took a rest on the snow ledge—Edu was filming on the next crack pitch- and after one hour they kept on climbing. Jacopo led the next 6c, Babsi 7b, Jacopo 6c, Babsi led the 7c+ on sight then Jacopo also led it first try (flash) After this, they abseiled back down to the snow ledge for the night.

Day 5 – 22nd July
They jumared back to their high point. Jacopo onsighted the next 7c, Afterward Babsi also flashed it on lead, Babsi 6c+ lead, Jacopo 7a lead, Then back to snow ledge for the night.

Day 6 – 23rd July
Babsi 4c, Jacopo 5c, Babsi 5c, Jacopo 5c/M5, then Babsi led the last pitch to the top. They rappelled down the same day and went back to base camp. Some days later they went back to the wall to clean all the ropes.