Seb Berthe did the third ascent of Seb Bouin's Beyond (9a+) in January. The 30-year-old is a former international competition climber who twice has won the Belgium Championship. He is perhaps best known for his big wall ascents but more recently he has been turning his attention to sport climbing, a…

Victor Guillermin, 18, ticks Le Cadafist (9a)

Victor Guillermin, who won the bronze in the Euro Championship last September, has repeated Gerome Pouvreau's Le Cadafist (9a) in St Léger. (c) Emile Pino

Can you tell us more about the ascent?
I was looking for a side project near Grenoble and saw the Megos video in Le Cadafist. I wanted so badly to try it! I was not disappointed. This route can be divided into 3 parts, a first 8a, then a good rest, where you can sit on a tree. It is so weird to rest on a tree, but it is allowed, and it gave the name to the route. Only the goat Megos didn't take it 🤣. After that comes two 8c's, separated by a good rest. The first one, powerful, didn't feel that hard, but the second one, pumpy on crimps, was way harder, especially the last big dynamic move to a crimp. On my 4th and 5th sessions, I fell on this move. Finally, on my 6th session, with my skin completely destroyed, I managed to send this gem! I am so glad to be able to do such hard routes! Now back to training for Stoking the Fire (9b), the main goal of this year!

What about comps this year?
2024 will be my last youth competition year. So I'll try to get the world title! And I'll try to get in the senior French Team... If it's not this year, it will be the next one. I'm not in a rush.

Stefano Carnati does Martin Krpan (9a)

Stefano Carnati, who has 25 routes 9a to 9b under his belt, has done Martin Krpan (9a) in Mišja Peč. "Martin Krpan is a classic of Mišja Peč and although it might not be as appealing as other routes I was curious to check it out sooner or later. So I first tried it in December and realized it actually climbs way better than it appears! I had some attempts during different days struggling mostly with the cold temps. Yesterday conditions were warmer and pump was all I had to fight against! The decision to climb it without kneebars and the rest out left at the top was mainly dictated by how this route was originally climbed back in the days (I’m not against kneepads at all)." (c) Nicholas Hobley

How hard do you think it would be with kneepads?
Hard to guess but kneepads allow you to rest at three crucial points just before and after the main crux. I suppose 8c\+ max. As I said, it was put up in 2001… it’s a link… rock climbing is just a game it’s good to play… as I said I’m not against kneepads at all. I believe that nowadays routes must be climbed/graded in the best conditions and in the easiest possible way.

Michaela Kiersch does Nagual (8B)

Michaela Kiersch, who last week did five boulder problems 8A to 8B in Hueco Tanks (TX), has sent Nagual (8B) in just two sessions. (c) Nic Oklobzija

"My first session was short and I did the moves in two overlapping sections. Paid the price in blood on this one — ripped off basically my whole index pad while giving warm up tries but sometimes you gotta tape it up, pop an ibu, and get it done. The holds are tiny and sharp but I wanted to send so I just taped it up and tried my hardest."

The 29-year-old has now completed eleven boulders 8B and harder, out of which nine she's done in the last 18 months. She has also climbed 15 routes 8c+ to 9a, with most of those ascents taking place over the the last two years, cementing her place among the top elite female climbers globally.

Find your logbook in the Vertical-Life app!

We’ve just released the updated Vertical-Life app on the App Store and the Google Play store !
You’ll now get synced profiles, logbooks, ascents and outdoor content between and the Vertical-Life app. Vertical-Life is the app for your profile, logbook, and the route database, with many other features such as outdoor topos, maps and offline mode.
Some features, such as the rankings, followings and galleries remain to be synced, so they currently only reflect in-app activities. We will roll out updates over the next months that address this.
This Wednesday, we will release Vertical-Life Web. Expect all your favourite features with a fresh look, alongside numerous enhancements and fixes. More on that on Wednesday!

Zach Galla logs two 8C’s

Zach Galla, who sent Sleepwalker (8C+) in December, has added The Doors Of Perception (8C) in Little Cottonwood and Southern drawl (8C) in Chattanooga to his impressive tick list. The 23-year-old has now climbed five boulder problems graded 8C and harder over the last four months.

"Southern drawl [in the picture] is a banger! I managed to finish it up on my last trip home to visit family for the holidays. I was originally trying with beta a lot more standard but I was quite sick and didn’t have the power endurance for the last sequence. I thought if I could manage the jump way it would be much faster and could work in my current fitness. It ended up suiting me well that way and I was able to get it done.

It’s been good momentum for me recently! Doors is one of the hardest things I’ve ever managed to climb. I did some cleaning work getting it ready to go last season and put in around 5 or so days before Sean [Bailey] joined me on it and he managed the first ascent in about 4-5 sessions. We were both super close on the FA but with the boulder being so finicky and a foot crumbling after Sean’s ascent, it took me about 5 more days."

The last three years, Zach has been #8, #11 and #5 in the Salt Lake City World Cup.

After missing my olympic opportunity and a few long seasons dedicated to comps, I plan on focusing on rock all [of] 2024. I was 3rd at the Pan American games and needed to win for a spot.”

Ben Burkhalter completes Southern Drawl (8C)

Ben Burkhalter, who last year did three 8C’s, has repeated James Webb's Southern drawl (8C) (FA'ed as an 8B+) in Chattanooga. In the 8a ranking game, the 23-year-old is #6.

Can you tell us more about the ascent?
Southern Drawl is a very meaningful boulder for me! It encapsulates everything that I was bad at. Pure big hold power on slopers that need perfect friction to stick. It also demands ton of body tension plus open hand / half crimp strength, which for a long time has been my total anti-style. Despite having grown up climbing in the Southeast, I’ve always been strongest on crimps. Drawl is one of those mystical lines that I’d heard about long ago, but with its brutal difficulty and physical style I never thought it could ever go for me.

I first tried it last winter, but didn’t really come close to sending. Then I had a few sessions over Thanksgiving this year and had a total breakthrough falling on the final rip into the victory jug EIGHT times from the bottom last day of my trip! Because of my height, I am unable to release before the final dyno like others have previously. Instead, have to do a violent slam across into the hold which makes it much harder to hold the swing. This move turned out to be my crux, constantly spitting me off many times each session, leaving me with gnarly flappers.

After 5 more sessions of falling on the last move I finally had the magic go where I hit everything right and ended up on top! It was a perfect moment of total bliss, disbelief, and happiness as I watched the sun set behind the southern hills. To me, sending this boulder marks the end of the final chapter in my Southeastern climbing journey. There will always be more hard lines to try, but none will be as meaningful as this. So psyched!