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Barefoot on Sacred Ground 8A+ by Courtney Arnold

Courtney Arnold has done Barefoot on Sacred Ground (8A+) and El Techo de Los Tres B (8A) in Hueco Tanks (TX). "Life list boulder. No longer hate Hueco or Josh lol." In the 8a ranking game, the 21-year-old is #10.

Nolekita 8A by Angie Scarth-Johnson (17)

Nolekita 8A by Angie Scarth-Johnson (17)

Angelina (Angie ) Scarth-Johnson, who did her first 9a last autumn, reports on Insta that she has done Jorge Broncano's Nolekita 8A in La Pedriza. (c) Talo Martin

Angie started making headlines on 8a already in 2013 when she did her first 8b at age 9. The year after she did her first 8c and before turning teenager she had done two 8c+. Here is the first 8a interview from that time. The Australian spent several months every year mainly in Spain being "home-schooled" by her non-climbing parents.

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The Story of Two Worlds 8C by Marco Müller

The Story of Two Worlds 8C by Marco Müller

Marco Müller, who last week did Dreamtime 8C, has on the other side of the big block done The Story of Two Worlds (8C) in Cresciano. "Sit start, without kneepads, head first."

Interestingly, the Swiss national had previously only done three 8B+ and then he does two super classic 8C's in a week. For a couple of months, he is doing his master thesis in Mechanical engineering which he hopes to finish in April.

How was the process taking it down?
I could climb "The Dagger" (stand start) seven years ago, which took me seven or eight sessions if I remember correctly. I briefly tried the sit start a couple of years later, but couldn't do the moves. This year I was in much better shape. After I climbed "Dreamtime", I quickly went on the other side of the bloc to try the sit a bit and it felt possible. A couple of sessions later everything was dialled in and it finally went down.

How have you been able to step up your game lately in spite of all your studying?
I'm not sure, maybe due to more consistent training. I don't know what other factors there might be. The limited-time I have to train in the evenings helped me a lot to strictly stick to my training plan and make the best use of the time I had. And all the outdoor projects kept the motivation to train extremely high.

El camino de las flores R-2 OS by Dani Fuertes (41)

El camino de las flores R-2 OS by Dani Fuertes (41)

Daniel Fuertes has set a great onsight personal best at age 41 with El camino de las flores R-2 (8c) in L'Ocaive. Interesting is that the last 18 months have been his best ever including Ali Hulk sit start extension total (9b) and Patanics (9a+).

"It was a wonderful day of Reyes!!! It was a hard mentally fight because the route has a long technical sequence. I’m very happy, it was one of my dreams 🤗 Previously, I have done some 8b+ onsight and very close to some 8c, but the latter without success 🤷‍♂️ Now, I hope to repeat the goal!! Jaja 😂🙏"

The 50-meter route and 15-meter overhang route was bolted by Pedro Navas and it is divided into two parts. The first physical part is 8a+ and then the second part is more technical, including the most difficult cruxes.


It should be mentioned that during the last years, there has actually been a decline of hard male onsights. During the last four years, only a dozen have onsighted 8c or harder. Adam Ondra has onsighted 86 routes 8c and harder and contender for being runner-up is Piotr Schab with eleven 8c onsights.

Escalatamasters 9a (8c+) by Anak Verhoeven, twice

Escalatamasters 9a (8c+) by Anak Verhoeven, twice

Anak Verhoeven reports on Insta that she has done Escalatamasters 9a (8c+) in Perles. The excellent climb was originally 9a but was later downgraded but is probably back to 9a again after a hold has broken in the upper part. In total, the former very successful competition climber has done twelve routes 8c+/9a and harder. (c) Ramon Pajul

"Esclatamasters is a route of about 35 meters and is made up of 2 very distinct parts: an overhanging traverse on tufas and a more vertical, technical top part. This last one is the most difficult and gives the route its 9a grade. It’s an amazing line situated in a beautiful landscape. I first spent 2 pretty relaxed days working the traverse. In the third session, I worked the upper part; I went up twice and managed to do all the moves. I would have preferred to know the route a bit more into detail, but the end of the trip was drawing near and if I still wanted to have a chance of climbing it, I had to do an attempt the next climbing day. So that’s what I did and I topped it in my first redpoint try! (With a bleeding ring finger – not ideal for delicate climbing and deadpoint moves on 3-finger edges, haha)."

And then you did it a second time, without knee pads?
Climbing it again without kneepads was a completely unplanned, personal challenge. Not easy because I had only had one hour of rest between the sends (it was getting cold and dark). In my opinion, there wasn’t that much of a difference between climbing it with or without kneepads (for this particular route), because of the no-hands rest in the middle of the route which is also possible without pads.

Aborigen Sit 8A+/B by Maja Jonic

Aborigen Sit 8A+/B by Maja Jonic

Maja Jonic reports on Insta, with a video, that she has done Aborigen sit in Mogan (Gran Canaria). Adrian Garcia did the FA of the stand start calling it 7C+ but later some have actually called it 8A+ and Maja did it in 2017. The FA of the sit start was done by Beto Rocasolano who suggested 8B but Maja thinks it is more 8A+/B. The 28-year-old has previously done five 8A+ and harder.

Crystal Ship 8C by Kim Marschner and Florian Wientjes

Crystal Ship 8C by Kim Marschner and Florian Wientjes

Kim Marschner and Florian Wientjes have done Crystal Ship (8C) in Cresciano in just four respectively five sessions each. Kim who took the picture of Flo shares their story.

"I tried it first at the end of last year with the support of Giul. It was really warm and I couldn’t do one of the two hard moves but anyhow they felt possible straight away. A few days later I hiked up there again with Flo Wientjes and we both stuck the move to the lip with a rope but couldn’t do the far lock-off move. The same happened one week later when I and Flo tried it again together.

Now one month later with a little time off the boulder I came back with Flo and we both felt way stronger on the lock off move. Quickly Flo stuck the move and gave shots from the ground falling three or four times at the last move to the lip. I finally found a little different position for the thumb which helped me a lot and I also stuck the move. After one try falling at the move to the lip I decided to call it a day and save the skin for another project but Flo was still psyched.

Getting tired I thought the day is also over for him but suddenly he stuck the lock off again perfectly and climbed to the top which made me super psyched again to give it one more try. With all that great sending vibes in the air, I felt super strong again and also climbed it to the top."

Two 8c+ (9a) by Alex Garriga

Two 8c+ (9a) by Alex Garriga

Alex Garriga, who last year did 29 routes 8c+ and harder, has started 2022 by doing eleven routes 8a and harder including Frenesí (8c+) and Pal norte (8c+) in Margalef. Tom Bolger did the FA of Frenesi with a 9a/+ suggestion and Pal Norte was put up as an 8c+ by Ramon Julian Puigblanque but later some guys have suggested an upgrade.

"I sent Pal Norte in a false second go (I did the first part, which is common with Pal Este three years ago). Then I tried Frenesí and could send it the following day, after four tries in total." (c) Carlos Pascual