Connor Herson (19) - multi discipline excellence

Connor Herson (19) - multi discipline excellence

Connor Herson made his first 8a headline in 2018 when he did an 8c+, 2nd go at age 14. In the same year he repeated The Nose 8b+ MP; and was #11 in the Youth World Championship. Earlier this year he did the bolted route Empath 9a (+) on trad gear and three weeks ago he was #12 in the YWC after being #2 in the qualification round. In other words, Connor is the #1 youngster in the world when it comes to multi-discipline climbing. In the picture by Christian Adam, Connor onsights, Moonlight Buttress, a 7c multi-pitch.

Do you boulder?
Bouldering is certainly my weakest discipline, so hopefully, I can boulder a bit more in the next few years. It’s always helpful for me to work on my weakness!

How have you gone about trying and excelling at so many different types of climbing?
Both my parents have been climbing for several decades, so they exposed me to so many different climbing disciplines. During the weekend it made more sense to go up multi-pitch climbs in the Sierras, but on weekdays I climbed with the youth team at my local climbing gym, which got me interested in competition climbing.

What is your next plan?
I have a trip to Rifle planned, and then I’ll be starting college at Stanford. I’m not sure how much free time I will have in college, but I’m hoping I can still get out to Yosemite on some weekends!

Do you have any big long-term goals such as the Olympics, climbing 9b, or a big wall FA?
I don’t have any particular goals at the moment - I think it depends on how college goes. But I’d like to pursue outdoor climbing more, especially trad/big walls.

Why is studying so important to you?
I think I am just as excited about studying as I am about climbing. Even though I have some very generous and supportive sponsors, I think I’d love to try to keep that balance between academics and climbing. To clarify, although I’m starting college in a week, I don’t intend to stop climbing at all. I might be climbing less frequently, but I’ll still be finding projects, pushing myself, and - most importantly- having fun.


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

Japan, USA and Slovenia dominated the 2022 WC

Here is the Combined national World Cup ranking in 2022. It was more or less the same ranking in 2021, aside from Japan creating an even bigger gap between themselves and the other countries chasing them. The Czech Republic has dropped in ranking due to the absence of Adam Ondra. Remarkably, Sloveni…

The story of Flatanger's pioneers

The story of Flatanger's pioneers

Flatanger is a municipality in Norway with 1 100 inhabitants and also the name of one of the most impressive climbing caves in the world which the locals call, …

Japan adds Lead to their list of team wins.

Janja Garnbret and Luka Potocar both from Slovenia are the overall Lead World Cup winners in 2022. However, the team rankings are as follows: 1. Japan 21 355 2. Slovenia 18 274 3. USA 16 598 4. Germany 9 484 5. Italy 7 947 Complete results


Grupper and Mori win in Edinburgh

Grupper and Mori win in Edinburgh

Jesse Grupper from the USA was the only one to top out the final route in Edinburgh. Luka Potocar from Slovenia took the silver and Toby Roberts from Great Britain the bronze. Japan was the best overall having five guys in the Top-11. Interview with Jesse is coming up. Grupper commented to IFSC. "I’m pretty ecstatic. After last weekend [in Koper] I definitely felt I was at a low point in competition climbing. I knew I still had it in me, and I have been training pretty hard. I am probably the most fit I have been all season and it feels so rewarding to feel that I am back."

Grupper is one of the slower climber on the circuit and has been timed out. "I was super aware of the time. In qualis I had six seconds left. In semis I had three seconds left. The only way to go in finals was to have no seconds left." Complete results
(c) Lena Drapella/IFSC

Among the females, the routes turned out to be too easy again. First, we saw six double tops in the qualifications, and then Ai Mori from Japan and Chaehyun from Korea topped the semi. Janja Garnbret then topped the final but Mori won on countback as she also topped. "I was feeling nervous before I started because I knew Janja had reached the top, and that meant I had to. But when I climb I just forget about my nerves and enjoy it." Seo took the bronze and was timed out. Complete results

My Curse 8c+/9a FA by Joe Skopec

My Curse 8c+/9a FA by Joe Skopec

Joe Skopec has done the FA of My Curse (8c+/9a) in Lion's head. His previous PB was the FA of Home Away From Home (8c+) which took him 2+ years to put up. The access situation is very sensitive. Here you can stay updated.

"Fought this route for over one year… I had to push my limits mentally/physically. I trained so hard and gave up so much in life to send this route… It’s time to relax and move on to other adventures in life. Hopefully, my Curse of being so obsessive to complete any goal does not come back for a while. My mind needs a break. I need a break haha. It’s done… it’s finally done… I can sleep in peace :)"

Could you tell us more about this FA?
The route breaks down to 5.13d (8b) to a good rest, v12 (12 moves 8A+), to a good rest, to a pumpy 5.13d (8b) that finishes with huge dyno to the anchors. But the route comes down to more than just the difficulty. Many big run-outs and skipping two bolts during the crux were always a mental battle for me. (I usually only train alone in the garage and don’t have a chance to work my mental game on rock).

Lion's head cliff is always an adventure. The hike in is a minimum of one hour, rap down 100 feet (33m), and then at the end of the day climbing back out with the backpack on is always a bit more tiring than you want haha. Please come prepared for Lion's head. One can easily be stuck at the bottom of the cliff if one is not experienced enough. As for the grade, all I know is it’s harder than the 8c+‘s I’ve tried, so I’ll grade it 8c+/9a. I have no idea what a 9a feels like. Took about one year and a half to send :)

La menina sixtina R2 8c+ (9a) by Daniel Fuertes (41)

La menina sixtina R2 8c+ (9a) by Daniel Fuertes (41)

Daniel Fuertes, who, two years ago, climbed Ali Hulk sit start extension total (9b), has done La menina sixtina R2 8c+ (9a) in Rodellar.

The first pitch is an endurance 8c, easy for some people but very hard for me. The second pitch is more tricky with very technical kneebars. Sending the first pitch was the hardest for me. It took me about ten sessions. Once I did the first pitch I also did the second pitch."

Insomniac 8C+ by Shawn Raboutou

Shawn Raboutou reports on Insta that he has repeated Drew Ruana’s Insomniac at Lincoln Lake. It starts by doing eight moves of Wheel of wolvo (8B+) followed by a good rest and then continues through We Can Build You (8B+).

The 24-year-old has previously done a handful 8C+ boulders and Alphane 9A, which was published several months after the ascent. 8a has also received word that he has done one more 9A FA, The Megatron project in Eldorado Canyon - A seven-move 8C low start, with zero resting options, into Daniel Wood’s Tron 8B+ put up in 2017.

If this turns out to be true, he must be considered the best boulderer in the world along with Daniel Woods.

Ghisolfi breaking the beta on Silence

Stefano Ghisolfi is making progress on Silence (9c) by breaking the Adam Ondra beta. Adam is excited to see that Stefano has taken on the challenge, but thinks the new beta is equally hard.

Ramayana 8b+ MP by Alex Huber (54)

Ramayana 8b+ MP by Alex Huber (54)

Alex Huber, who has been a globally impressive first ascensionist since the 90s, has put up the six pitch Ramayana 8b+ on Waidringer Steinplatte in Austria. In the area, the 54-year-old has previously put up two 8b+ and two 8c MPs. Alex worked it last autumn climbing ground-up alone with a soloist set up.

"Ramayana is a new, six-pitch long alpine climb in the Tyrolean Steinplatte which hosts many other alpine climbs like Nirwana, Sansara, Mauerläufer, Highway, and Feuertaufe. It's basically a challenging route with high technical difficulties, but it also needs to be protected with removeable gear. The first redpoint ascent took place on the 18th of July. Thanks to Tobi Ebner for giving me the belay on the ascent. Big thanks to Klaus Fengler for taking the great photos."

Pitch 1: 35 meters, 6c+, Cams, Nuts
Pitch 2: 20 meters, 7a+, Cams
Pitch 3: 40 meters, 8b+, 5 bolts
Pitch 4: 25 meters, 7c, 1 bolt, Cams
Pitch 5: 20 meters, 7c, 1 bolt, Cams
Pitch 6: 35 meters, 8a+, 3 bolts, Cams

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!