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Fish Eye 8c and ECO thoughts by Sofie Paulus

Fish Eye 8c and ECO thoughts by Sofie Paulus

Sofie Paulus reports on Insta that she has done Fish eye (8c) in Oliana. She is based in Bayreuth where she is doing a masters in Global Change Ecology and interestingly. Going to Oliana took almost 30 hours by bus via Paris, including car-pooling, and only costed Euro 45 one way. Going to Frankenjura, she often cycles for 90 minutes. "I try hard to avoid flying and I use public transport or car-pooling whenever it is possible."

"Briefly about myself: my name is Sofie, I have been a nature-lover and rock climber since I was little. After school, my fascination for nature and our earth motivated me to study geology. It was great to learn about so many miracles and processes that naturally take place on our planet and explain today’s landscapes (and rocks ). After my bachelor’s degree, I felt the need to work more with the societal and environmental consequences of climate change and globalisation, so I started my masters in Global Change Ecology.

As often as I can, I spend time outside. Climbing and being in nature with other people is incredibly inspiring and healing to me. Climbing has always been that part of my life, where I feel ‘at home’ and instead of planning and setting training goals, I try to find balance and well-being whenever I climb. Nevertheless, I also like challenges and try routes that require high concentration, physical effort, and strength. Two weeks ago, I successfully climbed Fish Eye (8c) in Oliana, which is my hardest grade so far. The character of this endurance route and the atmosphere at the crag are unique and amazing. During the process, I consistently enjoyed finding the right beta and linking the sequences, exchanging, and trying the route with other climbers. It wasn't a real ECOPOINT, video, (definition later in the text), but at least I managed to travel to Catalunya by bus and carpooling.

In many faces of life, I see a need for conscious change to live in a more balanced way with nature. As climbing is an essential part of my life, I had to think about the approach to the crags where I climb. Taking the car to get there each time created an inner conflict. I started looking for alternatives. Sometimes, I took the train to places where other climbers picked me up to access the climbing area car parks. It is not always easy and takes additional time to organize the approach. Last year, I started challenging myself by cycling more frequently to reach local crags. For sure, the whole climbing experience is a bit different, the body feels more tired, but in the end, I always have a great experience. It is a privilege to live relatively close to climbing areas, but even if you live further away, it is always interesting to look for alternatives to flying or driving individually. In my opinion, an alternative view of achievement in climbing would be useful. I don’t feel like ECOPOINTING would prevent me from climbing hard and if so, it doesn’t really matter. Quite the contrary, it is awesome to feel the effort that one has already made to get to the cliffs and to ultimately arrive at the climbing routes with a lower carbon footprint. Moreover, after some bike training, the approach already feels less energy-draining.

Lena Marie Müller and I would like to invite other climbers to share their experiences and personal efforts when it comes to climbing using a more environmentally friendly approach. Climbing a route 'Ecopoint' describes the idea of using public transportation, cycling, or walking to approach the climbing area. It is often challenging and takes more time to access the climbing area by more environmentally friendly means. In my opinion, it simultaneously prolongs the experience of climbing outdoors and feels more intense and richer. Let's start adding Ecopoints to our scorecard wherever it appears possible to us. Let's try to combine the love for our sport with the motivation and the urgent need to fight climate change. It contributes to reducing our impact on the environment.

I feel that taking more time, for one thing, helps a lot and is a precious gift we give ourselves. It is not easy in our world, where so many options exist, where we can do more and more in less time. However, this rushed aspect is also questionable. Doing important things with passion and in a concentrated manner is so much more sustainable than doing many things at once. Regarding climate justice, we need to act now. But here as well, it is also important to find out what we can do as individuals and then take the time and energy we can to focus on the changes we would like to make. Environmentalism is not about denying people what they love, but about rethinking what we really want, about our approach and about exchanging ideas."

Sunshine 8A by Jenn Debellis

Sunshine 8A by Jenn Debellis

Jenn DeBellis has done Sunshine (8A) in Hueco Tanks (TX). "Really psyched to piece this all together! Ended up being a pretty desperate totally pumped out of my mind topout which makes it all the better. Way cooler than I expected."

Interestingly, the 27-year-old started climbing only in 2016 and then it took her two years to go outdoors and within some months she did her first 7C. "I’ve gotten a much later start than many of my friends and I wasn’t sure how far I’d be able to take things with my training and climbing. I learned about Hueco when I was first getting stoked on bouldering and reading about its history and it’s cool to be here for the first time to experience it. “Sunshine” will be a special memory for me! As you walk into East Mountain it’s so easy to see how striking of a line it is. I enjoyed the climb for how much shoulder and body tension it requires to hold onto the rail feature and that you have to fight through some pump at the end."

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Alizee Dufraisse has done Versace (8B) in Brione. The Frenchwoman has been one of the best female climbers in the world since 2003 when she won the Youth World Championship and was Top-9 in both a boulder as well as in a Lead World Cup. She finished her competition career in 2016 and have since done five 8B's and two 9a's. During the last winters, she has spent some 50 sessions projecting La Rambla 9a+.

How was the process taking it down?
The process was pretty long and challenging! After two years of route climbing, I was not sure if my next challenge would be route climbing in Spain or bouldering in Switzerland :) Hard to change when you know that you are in shape for routes. I had no clue what bouldering in Switzerland would be like… How long would it take me to transfer my shape in routes for bouldering? Would I succeed to find my way climbing on granite, which I never really experienced before? Could I handle the cold temps? Will the forecast will be ok in the full wintertime? Will I find some boulders that I get inspired by?

At the last moment, we (Dave and me) decided to go to Swiss. We actually both needed a change from the Spanish scene (even if we love it). As predicted I needed some time to learn how to deal with all the factors I was scared about. The weather was pretty tough when we arrived with a lot of rain/snow/cold. I needed to climb slowly on harder and harder stuff. I needed also to get more and more used to the height, being able to climb without a rope and fall properly. Versace is a boulder in Brione, next to the river. First time I went on it I loved the place and felt good on the moves. I liked the style, the type of rock and features and I could slowly (re)-learn the process of bouldering. It took me 15 days to send the boulder, every day learning something new about climbing and about dealing with my mind :) Now that I start feeling better and better in bouldering, I enjoy more and more every step of the way. I think I will keep bouldering here and maybe Magic Wood afterwards, where I have never been, trying the challenge myself more and more :)

What about the status on La Rambla?
I think a change is good for me. La Rambla has really become mental for me so I think climbing on other stuff, maybe also other routes before coming back is good!! But it's a route and a place I love so I have all the time to come back ❤️. You know I am happy to climb in general and that's the most important for me. Challenging and learning about myself. I try to be a better climber and that goes obviously with trying harder grades. But I don't do that as a competition thing… so I don t really count in this way I meant 😄

Alizee Dufraisse does Versace 8B

Alizee Dufraisse has done Versace (8B) in Brione. The Frenchwoman has been one of the best female climbers in the world since 2003 when she won the Youth World Championship and was Top-9 in both a boulder as well as in a Lead World Cup. She finished her competition career in 2016 and have since done five 8B's and two 9a's. During the last winters, she has spent some 50 sessions projecting La Rambla 9a+.

How was the process taking it down?
The process was pretty long and challenging! After two years of route climbing, I was not sure if my next challenge would be route climbing in Spain or bouldering in Switzerland :) Hard to change when you know that you are in shape for routes. I had no clue what bouldering in Switzerland would be like… How long would it take me to transfer my shape in routes for bouldering? Would I succeed to find my way climbing on granite, which I never really experienced before? Could I handle the cold temps? Will the forecast will be ok in the full wintertime? Will I find some boulders that I get inspired by?

At the last moment, we (Dave and me) decided to go to Swiss. We actually both needed a change from the Spanish scene (even if we love it). As predicted I needed some time to learn how to deal with all the factors I was scared about. The weather was pretty tough when we arrived with a lot of rain/snow/cold. I needed to climb slowly on harder and harder stuff. I needed also to get more and more used to the height, being able to climb without a rope and fall properly. Versace is a boulder in Brione, next to the river. First time I went on it I loved the place and felt good on the moves. I liked the style, the type of rock and features and I could slowly (re)-learn the process of bouldering. It took me 15 days to send the boulder, every day learning something new about climbing and about dealing with my mind :) Now that I start feeling better and better in bouldering, I enjoy more and more every step of the way. I think I will keep bouldering here and maybe Magic Wood afterwards, where I have never been, trying the challenge myself more and more :)

What about the status on La Rambla?
I think a change is good for me. La Rambla has really become mental for me so I think climbing on other stuff, maybe also other routes before coming back is good!! But it's a route and a place I love so I have all the time to come back ❤️. You know I am happy to climb in general and that's the most important for me. Challenging and learning about myself. I try to be a better climber and that goes obviously with trying harder grades. But I don't do that as a competition thing… so I don t really count in this way I meant 😄

Big Conviction 8C+ FA by Simon Lorenzi

Big Conviction 8C+ FA by Simon Lorenzi

Simon Lorenzi reports on Insta that he has done the FA of Big Conviction 8C+ in Fontainebleau, which is a link-up start from Conviction Low into the Big Island 8C. The Belgian has previously done the FA of Soudain Seul 9A (8C+), aka The Big Island Sit, and last month he did the FA of Conviction Low 8B/+. Last year, he made four Would Cups and his Top-3 results were: 5 - 7 - 12. (c) Signarthur

How many moves are added into the Big Island start and could you please describe them?
It starts in the low start of Conviction and then you traverse to the left on the same ramp as the first hold of The Big Island. There are like 5-6 more moves. The first one is the hardest, a very hard move from an undercling with two very bad feet (which make the true difficulty). Then you go far left to a good crimp and it is hard to be precisely in a position with so much tension and you have to keep your feet on the wall when you hit the crimp. If you don't, you will fall. After there it is like 3 or 4 moves to go into the start of The Big Island. Not that hard but it's steep and it makes your hands more sweaty for the end.

What is your next plan and what about comps in 2022?
My next plan is the world cup season 2022 both lead and bouldering and La Révolutionnaire 8C+.

Los Ultimos Vampiros Hippies 8c by Angie Scarth-Johnson

Los Ultimos Vampiros Hippies 8c by Angie Scarth-Johnson

Angelina (Angie ) Scarth-Johnson, who was just featured in an 8a interview, has done Los ultimos vampiros hippies (8c) in Margalef. The 17-year-old Austrailian has been living in Margalef during the last year. She did her first 8b at age 9 and last autumn she did her first 9a. (c) Javi Pec

Furia de Jabali 9a+ by Adam Ondra

Adam Ondra has repeated Will Bosi's Furia de Jabali in Siurana confirming the 9a+ downgrade by Alex Megos and Jakob Schubert. "Checked the moves once, at the end of the day, next day (after trying King Capellla first) rechecked the crux move again and sent on my second go. Done with Wil's method, for the traverse completely different method and probably easier. Low-end 9a+ with my height and method, for shorter climbers can be a tiny bit harder, but not 9b."

Neighbouring routes La Capella and Kind Capella have also previously been downgraded and here is an old article discussing advanced grading theory, suggesting that Furia de Jabali is a soft 9a+ just like Adam says.

Ondra has also onsighted two 8a+' and La pequena Mowgli (8c) giving it a personal 8b+ grade and in fact, he placed the draws and did it at the end of a climbing day. Adam has now done well over 100 onsights 8c and harder but in his scorecard, he has "only" 89 listed. The runner up in the world is Piotr Schab with eleven.

V for Vendetta 8A+ by Valentina Chemyakina

V for Vendetta 8A+ by Valentina Chemyakina

Valentina Chemyakina has done V for Vendetta (8A+) in Bafa Lake and there is a video on her Insta. She started climbing at age 15 but was still fighting doing 7a routes five years ago, when she was 20. Now she has done four 8A+.

"I'm from Belarus, currently based in Moscow. I work as a programmer, riding downhill and doing climbing. I love to climb outside and try to travel during these covid times. Now I’m in Turkey for some winter climbing (as well as working), because in Russia now soo cold 😅 It was my second trip to Bafa. Last year I send Golgotha 8A+, and V Vendetta was my specific goal this time (both FFA?). The climbing goal for this year - is 8B in bouldering. Really psyched to train hard and prepare well for a Rocklands trip (I was there first-time last summer but with a finger injury)."

What about all MTB and pink colour pictures all over the place on your Insta? Have you competed in MTB?
I haven’t participated in downhill competitions yet but planning to do it this year! In bike parks and mountains I ride black trails. I have had pink colour for almost three years (I think I coloured it because I love anime).

What is your climbing background?
Before I met my coach I was climbing around 6c+ in a gym. I was talented but lacked technique. When we started working on it my level got up to solid 7b (even 7c sometimes) in half a year! Then I broke a bone in my knee so I had to recover almost for a year. After this, I had a plateau. We all go through this during the climbing path. I had injury after injury, we didn’t know what to do, a lot of specialists didn’t help. After that, my coach started learning kinesiology and rehabilitation and finally find the right approach for me. It helped break my plato and I started climbing in eighth grade.

Trofeo Dell'Adriatico 9a+ FA by Gabri Moroni

Trofeo Dell'Adriatico 9a+ FA by Gabri Moroni

Gabriele Moroni has done the FA of Trofeo Dell'Adriatico 9a+ in Arco. As reported on Insta, it was bolted by David Lama and he was the one telling Gabri to try it out some ten years ago. The Italian won his first Euro Youth Cup in 2001 and at age 16, he was #3 in the European Championship. After having been one of the best World Cup boulders for ten years he won his first WC in 2018. However, as he did not want to go for the Combined in the Olympics, he could not continue on the circuit. (c) Matteo Pavana

"Trofeo dell’Adriatico is a perfect 25 meters shield on a balcony over the Arco valley. It’s a very intense route with a first part with long and physical moves followed by a fingery boulder on small pinches and a resistance part on a tufa at the end. Around 40 moves without rests."

How was the process taking it down over almost two years?
It was a long process with cleaning finding the moves and eventually giving tries. But I rarely tried it for more than two days every trip. Some weekends and sometimes single day trips during the week. I think it took around 30 sessions.

What about taking up comps again?
I won’t do any comps this year. I have a full-time job as a head setter at Urban Wall Milano. But I will probably work as a coach for the Italian National team at some of the world cups like I did last year.

China Climb 8b+ by Ziheng Qiu (9)

China Climb 8b+ by Ziheng Qiu (9)

Ziheng Qui has set a new girl standard by doing China climb 8b+ in Yangshuo. It was bolted by Logan Barber and FA'ed by Rockabond in 2008 as an 8c. It is 31 meters long and although at least one hold broke and it has become polished it has been downgraded to 8b+. Interestingly, it does not seem to be an advantage to be short or have small fingers fitting in shallow pockets. The 9-year-old does not use any kneebars or knee dropping, instead, she just pushes hard from one open crimp to another including also some pinch moves. As can bee see in the video, she is wearing socks in her shoes that, furthermore, seems too big.

Dreamtime 8C (B+) by Austin Purdy

Dreamtime 8C (B+) by Austin Purdy

Austin Purdy, who previously has done 20 8B+ and two 8C's, has done Dreamtime 8C (8B+) in Cresciano. Last year, the 24-year-old did set some kind of record jumping from a 7c+ PB on routes to doing his first 9a.

"Dreamtime is such an iconic line and has inspired me for a very long time and really stuck with me when I first visited Ticino in 2019, but at the time I was focused on trying Story of 2 Worlds on the other side of the boulder. When I returned from my trip I constantly thought about wanting to go back to do Dreamtime, but shortly after the pandemic hit and it wasn't possible until now. Luckily I was able to return this year after finishing grad school and Dreamtime was the first thing I went to. I quickly realized that it felt well within my abilities, but it still didn't go down without a fight!"