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Excalibur 9b+ FA by Stefano Ghisolfi

Excalibur 9b+ FA by Stefano Ghisolfi

Stefano Ghisolfi has done the FA of Excalibur (9b+) in Arco. (c) Marco Erspamer
More info to come

El Koala Extension 8b+ and an 8b onsight by Jorge Diaz-Rullo

El Koala Extension 8b+ and an 8b onsight by Jorge Diaz-Rullo

Jorge Diaz-Rullo has dropped into Santa Linya, and onsighted La Mare del Tano 8b and El Koala Extension 8b+. The 23-year-old has onsighted 29 routes 8b to 8c, out of which, ten he's sent in the last year and he is #2 in the onsight ranking game. The Spaniard has logged 130 days on his mega-project, in Margalef, where he has once has fallen on the final crux move.

Are you training specifically for your project?
My specific training is just to try the route. Doing laps on sections, repeating the crux, doing tries with weight... The rest is training that helps me but it is also for improvement for other projects

Do you think it could be a 9c contender?
I really don't know about the grade because I don't have any reference, I never tried one route for so long like Café Colombia. But definitely, I am sure it is the hardest route that I ever tried. l always thought that the grade is just a symbol, the story that I am living to try to send this route is something really (more) amazing.

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


Slashface 8B by Alex Puccio

Alex Puccio, runner-up in the World Championship in 2014, has done 250+ boulders 8A and up, which is a female record. In the video she sends the classic Slashface (8B) in Hueco Tanks (TX).

Contre-courant 9A traverse by Jean-Pierre Bouvier (65)

Contre-courant 9A traverse by Jean-Pierre Bouvier (65)

Grimper reports that Jean-Pierre Bouvier has done the FA of Contre-courant, which is a 60 move, back and forth, 9A traverse in Fontainebleau. Traverse grading h…

Game over on Excalibur?

Stefano Ghisolfi has published a video on Insta, saying he is just, "one foot and one hand move from the final jug." Meanwhile, Adam Ondra says it is "game over", due to the risk of finger injury.

New World Cup quotas this year

Last year, each country was allowed to field five athletes per discipline at all World Cups events. In 2023, the world ranking will have a bigger impact and each country is only guaranteed 2 + 2 athletes. Furthermore, everyone in the Top-10 ranking from 2022, as also previous years, will be allowed …

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Bouin in Tautavel (The French Chilam Balam)

Sebastien Bouin: "Tautavel is a historical place here in France, close to the Spanish border. There is one particular sector, with an impressive route. It looks like the famous Chilam Balam, a prow of tufas climbing followed by an amazing wall. It's an esthetic line for sure. This route was bolted 30 years ago by Manu Da Silva and it has been waiting for a First Ascent since that time."

Pal Publico 8c by Angie Scarth-Johnson (18)

Pal Publico 8c by Angie Scarth-Johnson (18)

Angie Scarth-Johnson, who last year did two 9a’s, has done Pal publico (8c) in Margalef. ” Great route! The moves felt really far for me so I used a few intermediates that I think made it a little harder.”

The next day, the 18-year-old onsighted Rodillar (8a), also in Margalef. Here is an article with Angie, who has been a globetrotter since the age of 9. "I write my own programs and have done this since I was 8. I find that this really works for me."

Les yeux plus gros que les roubignoles 9a+ by Tanguy Merard (19)

Les yeux plus gros que les roubignoles 9a+ by Tanguy Merard (19)

Tanguy Merard, who earned a bronze in a Euro Youth Cup last year, has done Les yeux plus gros que les roubignoles (9a+) in Russan.

Can you tell us more about the route and your ascent?
The route, (Les yeux plus gros que l'antre (9b)) was free-climbed by Seb Bouin in 2018. and it starts from the bottom of the cave. When I tried, I went there just out of curiosity because I didn't have the level to do it from the bottom of the cave but I found it too beautiful (to forget) so I went back. I started to try the route starting higher in the cave, in an 8a. It had been a long time since I had been so motivated by a route, so I threw myself into it and I didn't give up because I really liked climbing on the route. I progressed very quickly in the route and ended up doing it. It took me around 10 sessions on the route spread over a month. I hope it will motivate people because it's worth the detour, it's not only the hardest route I've done but above all the most beautiful 🤩.

How much shorter is your line compared to Seb's?
I think Seb's line is 80 meters and my line 35 meters.

What are your competition goals for 2023?
For 2023 I want to be qualified for the Lead World Cup, I have to do (make) the final in the France Championship for this.

Return of the Dreamtime 8C+ by Yannick Flohé

Yannick Flohé, who last week did his second 8C+, has done the FA of Return of the Dreamtime (8C+) in Cresciano. "Start like Dreamtime but go right after the Dyno and finish on Somnolence (8B).".

This has been an open project for many years and links 8B/+ into 8B.

Lemento sit 8C by Jesús Muñoz Vaquero

Lemento sit 8C by Jesús Muñoz Vaquero

Jesús Muñoz Vaquero (Chuchi), who previously has done three 8C's, has sent Lemento sit (8C) in La Pedriza.

Can you give us the lowdown on Lemento?
The history of the "Lemento" boulder goes back some twenty years, when the brothers Israel and Abraham Olcina, pioneers of difficult bouldering in the central area of Spain, proposed one of the first 8A+/8B in La Pedriza. Subsequently, Carlos Ruano considered adding the sit-start, something that after much trying, he managed to make a reality in April 2019, thereby proposing the first 8C of the emblematic granite school. Three years passed until the first repetition arrived, in January 2022 by the Italian Lorenzo Puri.

I had already done the standing version (8B or 8A+) a long time ago, even before Carlos Ruano did the sit version. At that time the boulder was like that, we did not raise it in any other way. After they sat it down, I started to think about it, and I've been hitting it a bit, but I didn't really start trying it until last year, in the winter of 2022, when I came close to doing it. Then the heat set in, I went to Switzerland and I already left it until this season, when I resumed it more or less at the end of December or the beginning of January.

It is a boulder that requires a lot of skin, more than usual in La Pedriza, which is already an abrasive granite. Here the coincidence occurs that on two moves there are edges that cut the same finger. Last year I got a split, and as soon as I touched it again, it would open again in the same place. It's a bit frustrating because you can't hit it many times in a row, and that's also why I think the send has taken a longer time.

This year the game started again and yesterday the process came to an end. I am very glad that this was the case. Honestly, it hasn't been easy for me to enjoy it. Making my skin not destroyed in a few tries and finding good conditions has been, on many occasions, desperate. However, today the conditions and the company were perfect. Today everything fell into place and it was very easy to enjoy it.

El osteopata 9a by Jose Luis Olivares Ferrandiz

El osteopata 9a by Jose Luis Olivares Ferrandiz

Jose Luis Olivares Ferrandiz, who previously has done nine 8c+, has done the second ascent of El osteopata (9a) in Mula.

Can you tell us more about the ascent?
I started trying the route in mid-November when it was still a project, half through December I injured my thumb skiing so I had to take a rest. Over Christmas time Alex Ventajas came back to Murcia and sent it really quickly, proposing 9a. A couple of weeks ago I started to try it again, not been completely recovered but able to do the moves as there are only a couple of holds where I had to use my thumb. With cooler conditions, it felt much better, and last Saturday after two failed attempts and quite relaxed because I thought I wasn’t doing it, somehow I managed to top it out.

So you did your first 8c+ in 2016, why did it take so long to come to 9a?
Before COVID I had a couple of 9a projects ready to send or at least try in a local crag, Santuario, with COVID I couldn’t climb and when I wanted to come back there, the crag was closed due to some problems with the owner of the base of the wall. Since then I have had periods of climbing very little, at least sport climbing, and last year I started to climb a lot again. I managed to send some projects near home and this one was on my list for winter.

La diagonale des fous 9a+ FA by Loic Zehani

La diagonale des fous 9a+ FA by Loic Zehani

Loic Zehani has done the FA of La diagonale des fous (9a+) in Spot sud-est. "Amazing climb in an amazing place. 140 movements all natural. A lot of diversity, crimps, tufa, one finger pocket... A long approach, a knee bar, then a perfect boulder section. I fell 3 times in the last hard move, mentally hard to return to "fight". *****."

The 21-year-old, who previously has done close to 60 routes 9a and harder, also recently sent, Electoman (8c+) in the Calanques giving it a personal 9a grade. "It is a route bolted by Laurent Simoni in 1992 which Rémy Bergasse made the FA of in May 2015. He had announced 8c+ but since then a hold has broken in the crux, which requires a tough change of hands. The route of 40 movements in a big overhang is broken down by an 8b start followed by a bouldery section where the hold broke (approximately 8A bouldering) then an 8b+/c to finish. I think now it’s a big 9a. It took me more or less ten sessions."

4-Lo 8C by Martin Stranik

4-Lo 8C by Martin Stranik

Martin Stranik has done 4-Lo (8C) in Valle Bavona. "After failures on other hard climbs, felt pretty good on this one."

What climbs did you "fail" on?
I failed on Dreamtime (8C) and La Rustica (8C), then moved on to 4-low and sent it in one session (+ 1 two years back). I felt pretty good on the powerful moves and struggled with the start move, but I found a toe hook which helped me to solve that first move and sent it fast.

Will you try to qualify for the Olympics?
I will focus on Lead in the World Cup and try some boulder World Cups and will see what can happen. In fact, I need a huge amount of luck to get an Olympic ticket, but I will give it a shot.

Martin won silver in the World Championship in 2007, at age 17, and has been one of the best climbers in the world since then. In total, the Czech has done 17 8C's, out of which four were done in the last year. Up until 2019, he focused on Boulder WCs but later he started doing Lead events as well. In 2021, he made the podium twice at the WC and was #4 at the World Championship.