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Seb Bouin explores Champsaur

"It looks like Yosemite, but it's sandstone ... During a climbing trip in Ceuse, we were passing in this valley of Champsaur. I immediately saw this wall. It looked far away in the mountains. But you know, curiosity can bring you far away 😁. After spending an afternoon finding a path to get to the wall, I was amazed by this place and the rock. I had to come back to bolt the first line here.

When I was back in Ceuse, trying Biographie, in summer 2020, I went up for few days to bolt the first route of our French Yosemite. It was quite an expedition to brought all the bolting gear to the top of this mountain. I did many push to brought the gear during my biographie rest days. I was walking as much as possible, trying to find the way to the top. And when I was too tired, I left the gear on the mountain. Coming back the next rest day to attempt it again. I finally reached the top of the mountain, and bolted this giga route. The rock is really cool, but needed some cleaning. As it's sandstone, I remember a lot of sand falling in my eyes 👀 I guess "Sandman" is good name for this one. I was dreaming of this route before sleeping
"

Lazarus 9a+ FA by Moritz Welt

Lazarus 9a+ FA by Moritz Welt

Moritz Welt, who previously has done 16 routes 9a and harder, has made the FA of Lazarus (9a+) in Frankenjura, after some 30 sessions. (c) Lars Decker

Can you tell us more about the FA?
So the route was my main objective since last fall. It was a long-standing project bolted by Markus Bock, and I think I first tried it about 2 and a half years ago. I think it's one of the best lines around and involves some really nice movements with a lot of drop knees etc. Tho it's quite bouldery the final crux for me was power endurance. It's approx. 15m long and on the steepest part, it's about 50°.

I think it really was a good lesson in patience for me. Before trying this I'd never been able to fully focus on one single project over a longer period without getting frustrated.

Are there still many bolted projects in Frankenjura?
I only know a few, not more than 10, and some of them might be even impossible... but I think there is still a bit of potential for bolting new stuff.

What are your winter plans?
Now I'm training for bouldering mostly, already having a Ticino trip planned for end of december/beginning of January.

EDITORIAL

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


Schubert and Ondra on Project Big

What does Project Big mean to you? I’d say, Flatanger is the Yosemite of sports climbing. It’s the rock quality, the potential, the number of difficult routes, it’s simply extraordinary. It’s a beautiful place looking over the fjords to the sea, the cave is massive, it’s steep, offers so many hard r…

Janja Garnbret interview

“Everybody wants to have a world champion at 16, and a long career. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, but I’m seeing too much pressure put on younger athletes, and an increasing number of injuries because to this.”"Do we want to raise the next generation of skeletons?"

Olympic qualification + WC starts in April in Japan

The first Boulder World Cup in 2023 will take place in Hachioji in Japan, April 21st-24th. At this event, competitors will start receiving points in order to qualify for the Olympic qualification series that will take place in the Spring of 2024. The exact details are not yet defined but it seems th…

Two 8c's by Bayes Wilder (11)

Two 8c's by Bayes Wilder (11)

Bayes Wilder, who last year did his first 8c+, has been on a three week climbing trip around Lleida where he did 20 routes, (mainly onsight or flash), 7b and ha…

MORE NEWS

New Base Line 8B+ by Siara Fabbri

New Base Line 8B+ by Siara Fabbri

Siara Fabbri, who had 8A as her personal best five months ago, has done New base line (8B+) in Magic Wood. The 29-year-old is working full-time as an antimatter researcher and has previously this autumn done four boulders 8A to 8B. (c) Simone Tentori

"Wow, what a journey! Just so happy to do this line and relieved for the send. It ended up being a solo night sess in the snow with a spicy wet top out. Many sessions into it starting this year, but the best feeling to have it so dialed that on the send it flowed and I felt strong. This block taught me a lot, and a lot of special memories here with amazing people."

Can you tell us more about the ascent?
I started trying New Base Line this year, and in the Fall, I felt close but fell a few times toward the end on the cross move after the sidepull. I came back a few weeks ago after a little break, and after dropping the last tricky move to the gaston because of some bad beta, I knew I could send it the next session. I made it back after a big snow and fortunately the boulder was dry except the top and I ended up sending at night in -4 in the snow. It was an amazing experience and such a cool boulder with so many details! Luckily there were pads up at Stairway to Heaven I could borrow so one pad up to NBL then 6 trips up to Stairway total, it was tiring but kept me warm!

How did you warm up in such freezing conditions?
I was already warm from the walk up and did a 30 minute warm-up on the boulder where I tried to rest very little. To stay warm I had two big down jackets and down boots, and I kept my hands inside on my stomach between goes. I did get numbed out on the send and for the topout couldn't feel the holds - which made the wet part extra spicy.

What is your climbing background?
I've been climbing for 8 years but during my PhD I didn't have very much time to climb outside, and started climbing more outdoors this year in Ticino, Fionnay, and Magic Wood. My focus now is bouldering outside and I'm really excited for many more lines to come!

Can you tell us more about your work as an antimatter researcher?
Switzerland has some of the best bouldering in the world as well as the most advanced scientific research facility and only place which produces antiprotons - CERN. I work there as an experimental physicist in the ALPHA Experiment. Composed of a team of roughly 60 people, we make precision measurements on antimatter atoms which help to answer the question as to why the universe as we know it is matter-dominated. We are also aiming to discover the gravitational interaction of antimatter with matter - for example, would an anti-apple fall up or down on Earth? It is super fun working there and a lot of the time I feel like a big kid who gets to build things and see how they work.

The Journey in Colombia 9a+/b by Jorge Diaz-Rullo

The Journey in Colombia 9a+/b by Jorge Diaz-Rullo

Jorge Diaz-Rullo has repeated Alex Megos’ Chan Chan Bastards 9a+/b, aka The journey in Colombia in Margalef. It is a link-up of The Journey 9a+ and the top of Jorge's big project Cafe Colombia. (c) Ignacio Sandoval Buron

"This season I feel better than ever and the feeling in my project is getting better! 😃🔥 I have always liked these two routes a lot and the truth is that it has been good training to now continue with my main project. Also, with new beta for the final crux that is maybe the sending beta!? 🤪💥" More comments on his Insta.

Last Night 9a and Wild Publico 9a by Loic Zehani

Last Night 9a and Wild Publico 9a by Loic Zehani

Loic Zehani has done Last Night (9a) in Siurana, in just two sessions. The route was bolted by Dani Andrada and then William Bosi did the FA in 2021. "8 ultra powerful movements including one that gave me a hard time going from a small two fingers pocket to a vertical hold. The second part is less hard. Nice little route anyway."

Three days later he also did Wild Publico (9a). ”This route starts with a very steep section on pockets including a dyno on a mono then a resistant section when you reach Pal publico (8c). After a good rest, there is still a hard section with very slight slopers and a nice and easy end at the top of the cliff.”

In total, the 19-year-old has done more than 50 routes 9a to 9b out of which almost 20 FA at his home crag Orgon.

How do the grades in Spain compare with your FA grades?
I would say that it’s quite difficult to compare because even if I put four and three tries for the two 9a's in Spain, both are very explosive routes and far from easy. The only thing I can say about my FAs at Orgon is that I think they are fairly well-graded (within half a degree anyway). For the three 9b’s I proposed I think 2 are well graded « Obsession » in 2019 and « Harlem » in 2022, maybe « Chikane » would be more of a big 9a+.

How long will you stay in the area?
I am currently going back and forth to France but in January I plan to start a few months' stay in Catalonia...

Heim nach Afrika 9a by Martina Demmel

Heim nach Afrika 9a by Martina Demmel

Martina Demmel, who started climbing only in 2017, has done Heim nach Afrika (9a) in Kochel. It is a link-up that first Pirmin Bertle reported the FA, calling it 9a/+. Later it was discovered that Philipp Hrozek had done it more than ten years ago, but never reported it, thinking it was 8c+/9a. In two interesting and very much read-worthy long Insta posts the 21-year-old says that the link-up has been her priority for two years. (c) Felix Bub

"The whole period, I've surprisingly never felt unpatient with myself as it probably was one of the first routes which was in the range of "finding out if it's possible at all & not when"...🙃 totally enjoyed this luckily steady process what makes me curious for more of this soon😁❤️‍🔥!! Falling more in love with this 🧩-solving game by finding all those game-changing bodypositions, chalk-up points, releasing the tension moments and simply remembering it all (what's been more difficult than expected...🤪).

I've to admit that I was quite surprised/sad about how many people were only focused on asking me about my opinion on the grade instead of congratulating or being interested in the story/feelings behind at all...🥺 maybe it's normal but I've never noticed it in such an obvious extent🤷‍♀️."


In 2021, Martina became the first-ever female to have won the 8a annual onsight ranking game. In total, she onsighted 18 routes 8a+ and harder in 2021. If we start from 7c and harder she did a stunning 138 onsights the last year. Amazingly, she did her first 7c onsight when she had only climbed for 1.5 years.

Water world 9a OS by Adam Ondra

Water world 9a OS by Adam Ondra

Adam Ondra has onsighted Osapska pošast L2 (8c) (calling it 8b+) and Water world (9a) in Osp/Misja Pec. "Yees, very proud to onsight it. Possibly not the hardest 9a especially with kneepads, but not a very obvious one to onsight. Super happy."

In total, the 29-year-old has now logged 193 onsights 8b+ and harder but this would have been well over 200 without all of his downgrades. A possible contender for being the runner-up in this onsight list could be Piotr Schab who has onsighted eleven 8c's and 20 8b+'s. The picture is from Adam's Insta with now close to 900 000 followers.

Hakuna Matata 9a by Alberto Gotta

Hakuna Matata 9a by Alberto Gotta

Alberto Gotta has done Hakuna Matata (9a) in Cubo, after projecting it for six sessions. Up until 2021, the 30-year-old had done three 8c+ and in 2022, he has already done six 8c+'s and three 9a's. "I'm very Happy about this one. It felt very hard during the first tries but try after try I figured out every move and finally, during the last possible run of the season, everything was perfect and I found myself on the top. One of my proudest achievements so far for sure." (c) Valerio Zenerino

What do you think has been the key to your recent progress?
I think that last year I understood how I personally could train as effectively as possible. Then during this season, I spent more time rock climbing so I had the opportunity to transform all the competition training into rock climbing achievements.

Can you tell us more about your training?
Understanding that I'm basically a weak climber (endurance is more my thing), I focused more on strength-oriented training, keeping the intensity as high as possible. Working all day, I don't have a lot of time for the sessions so this kind of training suits quite well with the available amount of time.

Life of Villains 9a by Rollin Grimmet

Life of Villains 9a by Rollin Grimmet

Rollin Grimmett has done Life Of Villains (9a). The 30-year-old has only been climbing consistently for eight years and has mainly been climbing outdoors. "Wow, feels like a dream. I worked on basically only this route all of last winter, almost every weekend driving down from SLC. Lost count of how many attempts, but probably close to 80 tries over the past 2 years. So incredibly psyched."

Can you tell us more about your climbing background and the ascent?
I fell in love with the movement and problem solving nature of climbing, and from the beginning, I could tell I was naturally proficient. Efficient movement and even the subtle adjustments needed, all came intuitively. But I wasn't immediately very strong. When I first started climbing, I never imagined I'd send 8a, let alone 9a. I was barely climbing 7a outside. But I consistently improved because I was excited to try harder than what I thought I was capable of. I always wanted to be better, and I surrounded myself with friends who would push me. Each year since my first 8a I would project outside of my comfort zone, and each year I would send a new grade, culminating in my send of 9a with 'Life of Villains' last week. Consistently, I would devote whatever time and effort was required.

The key in sport climbing for me is to be as efficient as possible. I don't usually do much traditional training in the gym, I prefer to just climb. So often in the gym in between new sets, I would "train" by repeating hard boulders I had done before. I feel like that's a great way to learn efficiency in movement. I guess I've been pretty fortunate to avoid most injuries or issues that some climbers might experience when ramping up training too fast.

I first tried 'Life of Villains' (LoV) halfway through the Winter of 2020/21. It was my first full season in the Hurricave, and I had sent Peregrination and 86'd. I was feeling quite fit and was inspired by watching Dru Mack and others try LoV. All the moves on the route felt hard, but I could tell the route suited my style. It was crimpy and required excellent power endurance, my specialty. But I knew it was well above my ability at the time. I would fall over and over in the middle crux, and only once made it through before I fell shortly after.

A year later I returned for the winter 2021/22 season. LoV was my singular goal every weekend for almost 5 months. I was stronger this time but needed better endurance. I was steadily improving, falling higher and higher, even once on the last move. But I made a crucial mistake. I limited myself to only giving redpoint attempts. I started losing power, and began falling back at the earlier crux. By the time I course-corrected, the season came to a close, and it was too warm. Since then, this year has been one of immense growth for me. I chose climbing goals that would challenge me, I focused on routes that would train my power through the summer. I sent Supertweak (first American 8c) with pretty hot conditions in July, and also spent way more time bouldering in the gym to train. When I returned this season, LoV felt like an old friend. Like as if it hadn't been 7.5 months since my last try. But this time I felt way more solid. Everything felt smooth, exactly how you want it to feel. And 2 sessions in I was already falling near the end of the redpoint crux. Last weekend I fell twice in a row one move away from the jug at the lip, and I was pretty confident it would happen soon. I took two rest days (crucial for me on this route), returned Wednesday and immediately sent. I executed everything perfectly, it was so flowy it felt like I was on autopilot.

La pequena Mowgli 8c by Sol Sa

Sol Sa signs up to 8a by logging La pequena Mowgli (8c) in Siurana. "It’s really big moves for me…, it’s like a boulder that was fun, fun."

The Korean has been a very active international competition climber since 2009. In 2018, she got the Combined silver World Championship. In 2020, she did This year, she participated in seven Boulder or Lead World Cups, and her worst result was #33. As a boulderer, she has done three 8A+, out of which Social Distortion (8A+) in just six minutes in 2020.


What are your next plans?
I have two plans. My first goal is to win a prize in the Asian Games. However, it is possible to be selected as one of the top two athletes in the Korean national competition early next year. If I can’t be selected another goal of mine is to send an 8B+ boulder and an 8c+ route in 2023.

And if you will be selected?
I want to make it to the bouldering World Cup finals. I want to achieve good results in the 2023 Asian Games as well. When I compete in a competition as a national team, I cannot decide on my own when to go outdoors climbing. After the season is over, I plan to go bouldering to Bishop or Rocklands if I can.