Angelina (Angie ) Scarth-Johnson made the first 8a headline at age 9 by doing an 8b in Red River Gorge (KY). Amazingly, her parents did not climb but supported her big interest by doing nine 1 - 3 months trips to Europe and the USA until she was 16. At age eleven, she did her first 8c and we made an interview. "I don’t have a trainer, I tried for a couple of months having an online trainer but it didn’t work out, so I just went back to training myself. I write my own programs and have done this since I was 8. I find that this really works for me."
Last September, the Australian did her first 9a, Victimes del Future in Margalef where she has spent the last year. We asked Angie if she describe how it was being a lifestyle globetrotter since age 9. (c) Jan Novak
"I started climbing when I was 7 years old, not long after I began climbing outside in the local crags after school with my dad. When I started climbing, competitions weren’t really a massive thing and I wasn't really interested in it anyways. I enjoy the challenges that came with climbing rocks and the process of projecting. When I was 9 years old my parents planned our first overseas family trip to the United States. By this point, I was totally in love with climbing and it was mostly all I thought about. My parents suggested we could maybe stop by and visit some outdoor crags in the states to try out the climbing in another country. This was extremely exciting for me, with Australia being pretty far from the rest of the world, climbing in another country was a big deal.
We visited Red River Gorge. A very picturesque climbing area, especially in the autumn. I'd say after this trip I was more hooked on climbing than ever before. I sent my first 8b and a bunch of other amazing lines, my eyes were suddenly open to the possibilities within climbing. After this successful trip, I began to seek out other climbing opportunities around the world. We started to do two trips overseas per year. Eventually, the trips got longer and more frequent. With all the travelling, training and climbing going on I needed an alternative to my schooling. This is when I started a homeschooling program and I began to study at the crag, on the planes and at the gyms. My mum would teach me and we’d often visit a lot of historical sites around the world as history was my favourite subject.
A lot of people often ask if I missed out on having friends because I didn’t go to a normal school. Because of the level I climbed at, I was always surrounded by older climbers growing up, so I ended up having a lot of older friends, funnily enough, almost all of those people are still my friends today. I learned a lot through watching these people climb.
I returned back to school in the first year of high school, my parents wanted to allow me to see if I wanted to finish my schooling years back at school and spend time with kids my own age. I actually hated it, I felt lost amongst a bunch of kids, even though I was a kid. I guess I had matured a lot faster, and I was really just interested in finding myself in climbing. So, Back to the outdoors, I went with my books and my pens and I finished high school at the crag.
My schooling years were very unique, to say the least. But it allowed me to continue with my climbing and fully focus on what I loved to do. Now looking back on it I wouldn’t change a thing. At the moment I’m now spending a lot of time living between Spain and Australia. I finished school and I continue to chase my climbing goals wherever it may take me."
Brooke Raboutou, #5 in the Olympics, reports on Insta that she is back in Ticino having done La Proue (8B) and Kings of Sonlerto 8A+ (B). Talking about grades are personal and subjective. The latter was put up by Dave Graham in 2005 as an 8B+ and at that time he thought Fred Nicole’s well confirmed La Proue 8B was 8A+. (c) Finn Stack
The 20-year-old made her first headlines on 8a in 2010 doing her first 8a route as well as her first 7C+. Last year was Brooke’s best ever. In the Boulder World Cup she twice made the podium and in her only Lead events, she was #2 in a World Cup and #5 in the World Championship. Outdoors, she did one 8B+ and flashed her first 8A+.
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Alex Johnson has done Ching (8A+) in Little Cottonwood and here is her Insta selfie video. "Oof, so many sessions, stoked to finally put ‘er down. Last left hand seems to have crumbled recently, definitely a tad harder now."
The 32-year-old did her first Youth World Championship in 2003 and then in her World Cup debut in 2008 in Vail, she won. In 2019, after a three-year break, she did most of the World Cups trying to qualify for the Olympics and she was three times Top-13 in Bouldering. Alex did her first 8A+ at age 18 and actually, the last year has been her best ever for the 175 cm with two 8B's. (c) Bree Robles
How come you think you have raised your level during the last year?
I think all the training I was doing for competitions and world cups in 2019-2020 (even tho that season was canceled) just lead to my overall fitness increasing so much that my baseline is higher, so now when I start a new training cycle I can just build even more.
Being in Utah also allows me to climb outside so much year round, we have Little Cottonwood granite, and Vegas and Joe’s are so close. Having a home crag like Little Cottonwood so close makes it so easy to have projects.
Amandine Loury, who previously has done seven 8c and harder routes, has done Tumult' Asie (8A+) in La Capelle. Interesting is that she pretty much started bouldering in 2021 and has already done four 8A's and harder. (c) Jeunet
” For Tumulte Asie I had to find new beta because I was too small for doing the «original» mouvement. At the first session I did all the mouvement. At the second I had more tries of the sections. From the third session, I began to try the boulder to send it. I did a very good run and I was so surprising that I have put myself under pressure and I fell at the last difficult mouv but which was not the more difficult of the boulder. Two days after I came back in La Capelle, I was fine, but weather was too humid and humid rock hurts my finger skin.
So I rested two days and when I returned the conditions were very good to send the boulder. There was a lot of wind and the temperatures were cold. Almost too much... but despite it I did good runs but without success. I began to lose hope. But at the end of the day, I did a new run and with the very good cheering of my friends, I send Tumulte Asie, my first 8a+ bouldering and certainly the first feminin ascent of this boulder.”
How come you started bouldering just in 2021?
It is mostly because of winter conditions which makes it too cold for me to climb routes. I think that bouldering is a very good option to training for hard routes. Better than a climbing gym. So when the weather is favorable I go outside. At this start of the year also because of my work as I do not have a lot of time climbing routes. Bouldering sessions are shorter, so it’s better for me in my current life.
What about that "Objectif 👉 9a" you have posted on Insta?
I have started to try Supercrakinette 9a+ in Saint Léger du Ventoux. But I don’t like trying only one route for several months. So I try other routes according to my motivation.
Victor Guillermin reports on Insta that he has done Estado critico (9a) in Siurana. The 16-year-old has previoulsy done two 8c+ and in 2020 he was #2 in a Euro Youth Cup.
"2021 was definitively a good year because I managed to climb "Le Bronx" (the first french 8c+) after weeks of work and now "Estado Critico"! To send this route, it was quite fast, because it suits me a lot, a long and pumpy route... So the first day, I checked the moves and after three days struggling on the upper part, I finally climbed this crazy line in my 9th try. It was an indescribable feeling to top it! And now 2022 begin with a lot of projects... and training ; )".
Adam Ondra is back in Siurana where he has onsighted Tres tristes triceps (8b) and Palindrom (8c). "Cool line, even though a little morpho. Could be 8b+ if you are tall? Clipping the draws and being tired after King Capella."
In total, the Czech has now onsighted 89 routes 8c and harder but without all his personal grades, it would have been more than 100. This can be compared with the runner up in this list, Piotr Schab with eleven 8c onsights. What possibly makes Adam even more unique is that he has done 800 onsights 8a to 9a. On his latest Insta there is a video where he talks us through onsighting Referendum, which is a sandbagged vertical 8b. No chalk, no quickdraws in place and it was even a bit dirty as it probably had not been tried for many years. In any case, it was the first-ever recorded ascent of the more than 30-year-old route. (c) Petr Chodura
Jakob Schubert, who got the bronze in Tokyo, reports on Insta that he has done Erebor 9b in Arco. Actually, he did it almost twice as a good heal hook broke as he was about to clip the chain in a previous attempt. The Austrian says it became a bit harder but the grade remains the same.
“It took me two 2 day trips to Arco (one 2 weeks ago with terrible conditions and one now). Very cool route 😉.”
In total, this was the 31-year-old's 48th route 8c+/9a and harder out of which eighth 9b's and one 9b+. Only during the last three months, he has sent eighth routes 9a and harder out of which he has given personal grades for all but Erebor. When it comes to competitions, he has the best male track record during the last ten years; Two World Championships, Three WC overall, #2 in a Boulder World Championship as well as once in the overall WC. But probably most impressive is still his seven straight wins in the Lead World Cup in 2011. Including also six 8C boulders and three 8B+ flashes, he is a contender for being the second-best climber in the world after Adam Ondra.
Silvio Reffo has been on a short family climbing trip to Rome where he onsighted six routes 8a to 8b+. Previously he has onsighted more than 70 8a+ and harder. In the annual 8a onsight ranking game, the Italian is tied #2.
"When I have some days to climb in a new crag I love climb onsight, because around my home I climbed more or less all the routes that I can try with this style. I think that the secret to climbing well onsight, is to climb onsight often😂😂😂. Every onsight trip I start to climb with “easy” routes for two days to be confident with the style of climbing. After that, I try to send hard routes. Top climbers often try only extreme routes and skip the other routes in mid-range. I like to try extreme routes only if I have a two weeks trip."
What is newsworthy is that the male top onsight level has not increased during the last 15 years or so, if we exclude Adam Ondra. Surely, Covid-19 has limited the possibilities of travelling for the last two years but even so it is anyhow only Adam Ondra who has until last year, for some years in a row, done several 8b+ onsights. At the same time, we have seen extreme progress when it comes to the redpoint level. Currently, Martina Demmel is the 8a onsight ranking leader, ahead of all males and she has only been climbing for four years. The only climber having onsighted two 8c's in 2021 was Janja Garnbret.
by 8a Founder and Editor-in-Chief Jens Larssen including also Analyses, Reviews, Training, Polls and Opinions etc.
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