Andi Stull has done Kill On Sight (8A+) in Bishop (CA). Video on her Insta. Last year the 24-year-old did three 8A's and Lethal Design 8A+ and at the time she also talked about the challenges starting to climb at age 18 coming out of an eating disorder. "Over the time I have been climbing, I have recognized that being strong and healthy is far more important than being "light” and will lead to greater physical and mental victories."
Could you please also say something about Kinesiology and DNAclimbing which we can read about in your social media?
This past month, my partner, Devan, and I moved out to Bishop, focusing our time on growing our climbing coaching business, DNA Climbing. During my time in Bishop, I am also devoting myself to obtaining a degree in Kinesiology, as well as growing as a climber. Within the past month, I have been able to achieve a few goals such as earning my certification as a Performance Climbing Coach and sending my mini-proj, ‘Kill On Sight’ (V11).
How was the process taking it down?
I did the stand to it, ‘Standing Kill Order’ (V10) about a year ago. I thought it was one of the most fun boulders I have ever climbed. The movement on it is so good.. crimps, a notoriously finicky toe hook with a fall back into an undercling, pinches, and a pogo to a jug! So much variety of movement is compressed into just a few moves. After doing the stand, I knew I wanted to come back for the sit.
During my first session of trying the sit, I got to the last move and fell. For three more sessions, I continued to get through the “crux” almost every try, just to fall off the top moves. It wasn’t until my 4th session that I was able to finally stick the move and send. This boulder was an unexpected mental battle for me after having so many heartbreaking attempts, but utilizing tools I learned through reading a multitude of “personal development” books proved to be very useful.
What is next?
In the coming months, I’m hoping to get some sessions in on some “bucket-list” boulders, in addition to ticking off a lot of sport climbs in Pine Creek and Owens River.
Theo Blass reports on Insta that he has done the first repeat of Seb Bouin's new 8c+, Guerre Future in Claret. It is a variation to Guere d'usure 8c which he did last year. "There is a hard power endurance section on bad pinches and slopy sidepulls with a lot of heelhooks and small tricks to keep you balanced. I did not count the number of tries but there were many. The route pushed me to my physical and mental limit. I am very happy and relieved:)" (c) Laurent Dormont
Theo did his first 8b at age 9 and has previously also done three 8c's. We reached out to his father Vlad to get some further comments.
"Theo turned 12 a couple of months ago. In the last few months he did some on-sighting (up to 7c+, he also flashed an 8a), some easier routes (a few 8b and 8b+), and projected a few difficult lines mainly in the local area (including a couple of 9as) but due to sub-optimal conditions and difficult access he set this eyes on a new 8c+ in our local winter "old school" crag Claret, which has easy access and projects for the whole family (including Theo’s sister Alizee who is 8 and quite close to reaching the 8th grade).
Claret is known for its mild temperatures in the winter, its hard grades and sometimes ridiculous run-outs. The route is called Guerre Future (Future War) and it shares some common sections with Guere d'usure, an 8c he did last year. Although he was familiar with part of the crux, working a new very intense section leading directly to the crux of Guere d'usure took him another 5-6 sessions. The route was first climbed by Seb Bouin a couple of weeks ago and Theo did the first repeat. The route is a power endurance testpiece on bad pinches and sloppy sidepulls, climbing through a beautiful overhanging prow, combining compression moves, technique and precise footwork. Theo finds the route much harder than Guere d’usure because there are no rests in the hard section in the middle so there are around 20 hard moves to link. Theo loved the route because the line is very "pure" in his view - you need perfect flow, to do all the moves perfectly, using just the right amount of power to avoid slipping off the bad footholds or missing the sloppy handholds."
What is next?
He has a few projects to work on now, mostly in the local area or up to 4-5 hours driving from our place (we have decided not to travel further to reduce our CO2 impact and also because we are lucky and privileged enough to live in an area close to many amazing crags). He will also do some local and national competitions, mostly for fun and to gain some experience – we have been trying to avoid competitions in the past but at the same time we want to ensure that if he decides to do more competitions in the future, he is not completely out of touch with the competition world.
TOP IMAGES OF THE WEEK
Marco Zanone, who just did his first 9a+, has done Estado critico (9a) and Llamps i trons (8c+) in Siurana. (c) Esteban Lahoz
"Estado Critico is a well-known route situated in the El Pati sector in Siurana and It became very famous since it was the first 9a ever onsighted (Alex Megos). I've always been attracted by this route, but I was intimidated as well since the first part it's very steep and because it looks huge when you look at it from the ground. During the first tries, I actually realized it was shorter and less endurance than I expected. The first 40 moves around 8a go by very quickly until you get to a good rest. From there on, the route turns right, getting into the crux which suited me well since day one. The fact that I was trying this route after First Ley (9a+) made me really strong in the head and of course I was feeling super fit, especially on short and hard sections. Passing through the crux from the bottom was not a problem at all, actually on my first try from the bottom, on day two, I basically fell at the top, a few moves before the top out. I was definitely very surprised about my endurance which has always been my weak point.
Then I had to leave Spain for a couple of days of work and once I was back I felt very motivated to try my best. On my third try of the day, after messing up once below the highpoint, I clipped the chain of this beast. I must say I definitely felt it easy for the grade, especially if you are tall, which helps a lot on the crux sequence, but I must also say I'm feeling in very good shape."
How can you explain being in your best shape ever?
I don't know if I'm witnessing the best shape of my life but I'm climbing that hard simply because I have more time to spend on the rock. In 2021 I worked a lot as a filmmaker and my time for rock climbing was very limited, but from mid-December on, the work slowed down and I could finally spend more time on the rock. At the moment I'm living in Spain, working on a film project about exploration in Norway while climbing in these world-class areas. So yeah, I'm feeling in great shape but the fact that I could invest more time on the rock it's giving me extra power. :)
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. 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."
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."
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 😄
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+.
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.
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.
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