An 8C FA and 8A+ flash FA by Aidan Roberts

An 8C FA and 8A+ flash FA by Aidan Roberts

Aidan Roberts, who in October, made a relatively quick repeat of Alphane (9A), last month, has done the FA of Unison, (8C) in Brione. Insta video. Yesterday, photographer Vladek Zumr dropped the news that Aidan, pulled off a flash FA of XYZ, 8A+. "The other guys, (Giuliano Cameroni, James Pearson and Nathan Phillips) tried a few times before him, so he saw the lower moves, and then he just crushed it (about an hour after his FA Unison). He's just on another level and a really humble guy.”

Niccolo Ceria added a post that sheds more light on the aesthetic and committing, XYZ. It was envisioned by first Bernd Zangerl who tried it and showed it to Ceria. Four years ago, Ceria re-cleaned and tried it a bit, and with the support of Aiden and a formidable group stoking the fire, Ceria made the fourth repeat . " The climb style also deserves to be mentioned: a simple and basic crimpy sequence leads you to a very high foot placement where you have to shift your body weight to the left, go as low as you can with your hips and bring the right foot on a faint rail to finally cross your hand on the last edge. It took me a while to figure this beta out when I came back for some proper attempts."

La face du mal (8a+) by Cathy Wagner, 57

Cathy Wagner has done La face du mal (8a+) in St Léger, which climbs through and links parts of two 8a+ routes. "All very enduring, very physical but still less hard than the 'integral' of the Face. It must be said that kneebars with kneepads make it easier than before. Very happy anyway!"

This was the second 8a+ in March by the 57-year-old, who in total has done 875 routes 8a and harder.


by Jens Larssen, Editor-in-Chief

Radek Votocek and the stunning Rock Erotic

Radek Votocek did five 8c+ graded routes last year and Rock Erotic (8c+) in Geyik bayiri was his hardest, as it's officially (8c+/9a). Lukáš Černý has put together the video and says, "I had the pleasure to film with Radek during my Christmas trip, and I was able to record some more of his new entr…


Mugen 8C FA by Dai Koyamada (46)

Mugen 8C FA by Dai Koyamada (46)

Dai Koyamada first made headlines in 1998 when he was #4 in a Lead World Cup. After quitting the comp circuit, he did his first 9a in 2002 and the next year he did his first 8C boulder. In total, over the last 20 years he has done over 35 8C’s and most of them are FAs.

The 46-year-old's latest 8C creation is Mugen in Hinohara. He started the project by spending five days building the landing platform made of hundred of sticks, Insta picture plus video, Insta video. "One thing is clear: this problem is great. One of the best problems in my life."

Steve McClure, 52, does Le Voyage, 8b+ (trad)

Steve McClure, 52, does Le Voyage, 8b+ (trad)

Steve McClure, who did the FA of Rainman 9b in Malham Cove in 2017, has repeated James Person's Le Voyage 8b+ in Annot, which is a trad route protected by many cams and wires and also has two fixed threads. On Insta, he comments, "One of the best in the world. 8b+. Enough gear, but spaced and pumpy to place. It feels like a real adventure. 40m long too! Just a couple of days and first lead effort seems like my usual adopted style of only just getting it, with the odd section still barely worked out!" (c) Grace Taylorson

The 52-year-old has been one of the leading climbers in the world for 25+ years. In 1998, he did the FA of Mutation, proposing 9a, but it was later upgraded making it the second 9a+ in the world. When it comes to trad climbing Steve is also one of the most accomplished in the world and two years ago he repeated Lexicon 8b+ (R) after first having taken a 20+ meter fall.

Can you tell us more about Le Voyage and how you trained and prepared for the trip?
Great route! Loved it. One of the best. Prep for trip, zero. Only ended up sorting the trip a week before coming out. I'd not even thought about trying Le Voyage. It was, in fact, James's harder route Bon Voyage that I really noted, though this would be too hard for me, but it brought Le Voyage to my attention and I was really drawn in.

Training…. Well, indoors and out just climbing. I’m too old for proper training! I treat each session as a day of climbing, doing what I like to do. I try sometimes to keep the intensity up as I get weaker and weaker. So indoor bouldering is a good idea. That works well with fitting around work and family anyway.

Do you know why there are fixed threads?
Threads… and all ethics… are all made up in the end. Some people frown on preplaced threads. Their ethic is perhaps purer. Some are very hard or virtually impossible to place on lead, and yet nature has offered natural protection. Threads may offer a better and/or safer experience for some people.

I think for this one, actually, it’s easy to place. There is a no-hands rest right there. For most people attempting this route, the main issue is to strip the route ready for an ascent placing the gear, is SO hard (as it’s steep). The thread makes this possible. With multiple people trying the route the logistics of stripping it all without the thread are just complex, time-consuming and unnecessary (like having to top rope all of it to get the kit out… or put it back in for those who want it left in). Sure this may be a compromise but it’s utterly marginal and really takes nothing away from any actual ascent. For my ascent the thread was in but not a karabeener, which I put in, alongside the other 20 or so wires and cams I placed on lead. I'm happy to take a yellow card, or even a red one. I think I led it in good style, am honest about what I did, and had a whole lot of fun!

It can be done in a better style. For me, there was no quick draw in (as someone had taken them out), but it really makes no odds. And with a no-hands rest, the thread is not a problem to place.

I like the fact that you are the 'guy that asks the questions'... someone has to do that occasionally to avoid bad practice becoming the norm. So well done. With this one though it's just a common sense thing, a bit like making the decision that a pre-clipped first bolt is a good idea above a death landing... no one will argue with that, even though we all know that a pre-clipped first bolt is not the purest ethic. funny game climbing. But isn't it fun!

Vojta Trojan sends Sanjski par extension (9a)

Vojta Trojan sends Sanjski par extension (9a)

Vojta Trojan, who previously has done eight 9a's, has done Sanjski par extension (9a) in Mišja Peč. (c) Lucie Černá

Can you tell us more about the ascent?
Happy to finally send this outstanding roof climb! Never climb a route which is so technical yet so powerful before. At first I struggled a lot with finding the right beta, then I managed to send the first part the 3rd day on. From that point I was falling in the last hard moves before the good holds. During the send I didn’t do anything differently and also didn’t feel better, but somehow I managed to keep it together and send. It took me 3 short trips to Osp this Spring and climbing 7 days in total. Today I also add Strelovod 8c (second go).

What’s coming up next?
Next plans are definetely finishing Action Direct in FJ if the weather is okay and then France in summer.

Interview and portrait with Patxi Usobiaga

Patxi Usobiaga was one of the very best lead competition climbers during the 2000's. He won three silvers and a gold in the World Championships and in the World Cup, the Spaniard won the overall in 2006 and in 2007. In 2007, he also made the first 8c+ onsight in the world, Bizi Euskaraz (8c+) and he has redpointed five 9a+'.

In 2010, he suffered a traffic accident that left him with neck injuries and stopped his climbing for some years. In 2016, he bounced back and the following year he managed to climb to #4 in the 8a ranking game. Patxi has also been working as a coach and has trained many world-class climbers like, Adam Ondra. Lately, Patxi has also dived into bolting routes around his home base in Catalonia. Following the release of this video portrait we reached out to Patxi to find out more about what he's been up to.

Can you describe a normal week?
A week of my life is always a week as I have chosen it, [it's] chaotic, very far from what it was when I was exclusively a professional climber, now although I consider that I can climb like a professional climber, because of my option to be able to climb whenever I want, I need to work to be able to eat and live. The luck that I have is that I have always done what I wanted, I have decided what I want to do and what motivates me.

So if it's a week where I'm fine and I can climb, it could have different variants: In all the possible variants there are priorities and I have to combine them as best I can to get to everything and that is why there are seasons when I get up at 4 am, and others more calmly at 7 am, but always maintaining the order of priorities:
Work, (PUCtraining, PUCSeries, PUCseries Temple Nargó, YouTube, social networks, events and sponsors) and
ME (climb, train, equip etc)

But since I really like everything I do, I manage to organize myself to be able to combine everything as much as possible. Although it is difficult considering that there are 24 hours a day, nothing works if I don't climb, train and/or equipment, and for this reason, I prefer to sleep little and get to meet all my needs and obligations to be able to continue doing what I like. And luckily and by my own decision, I live in Oliana, Lleida, in Alt Urgell, where I can materialize all my concerns by climbing, equipping and training in the climbing walls that I have built for myself. The PUCTraining LAB and the PUCseries Temple NArgó.

Ali Hulk Extension Total 9a (+) by Blasco and Moreno

Ali Hulk Extension Total 9a (+) by Blasco and Moreno

Enrique Beltran Blasco and Dani Moreno have done Ali Hulk Extension Total (9a+) in Rodellar, both feeling it is a soft 9a. The two Spaniards now have their sights set on,9b (a+) Sit start. (c) Dani Moreno

Can you tell us more about your ascent?
Enrique: I wanted to try something hard in Rodellar and my friend Dani Moreno and I got motivated for Ali Baba. The truth is that the route has cost me little, just 6 days of work and what has cost me the most is the rope part since the bouldering part was going well. Now the idea is to try the sit version. Total respect for Andrada. His FA was absolute performance and much more difficult compared to using knee pads and resting no hands every other ten moves. I used four no-hand rests where I stayed for 1 - 5 min in each."

Enrique has logged Hulk extensión total (8c+) with an personal 8b+ grade. With most recent ascents in the cave utilizing knee pads, it's likely that many of the cave's climbs could be subject to downgrades when climbed in this style.

Matjaz Zorko adds a fourth ascent to Malvazija (8c+)

Matjaz Zorko adds a fourth ascent to Malvazija (8c+)

Matjaz Zorko, who did his first three 9a’s last year, has sent Malvazija (8c+) in Dvigrad, after projecting it for ten sessions. Maurizio "Manolo" Zanolla put it up in 1988 as an 8b+ and then in 2010, Cody Roth made the first repeat and suggested 8c+. It's been speculated that holds broke in the crux sometime after Manolo's ascent, plus a few holds broke on Roth during his time on the route. Last month Ale Zeni made the third ascent and confirmed the upgrade, which Zorko says he also agrees with.

Can you fill us in on your ascent?
Well, I spent a few sessions on it last season, just enough to do it with one fall. This year I managed to send it I think on one of the last days with cool temperatures. I think this style suits me quite well. In the first part, the route is vertical on small imaginative holds and footholds. In the second half, it gets slightly steeper and more physical on chipped pockets. I assume that there are 4 drilled pockets. They are quite deep but my fat fingers don’t fit in as well as I would hope. Super happy about the send😊😊 It was nice sharing one session on the route with Zeni and I’m really happy about his send too😊.

What's coming up next for you?
I still have some old projects here in Slovenia to finish😊 and a short trip to Pecka, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Three 8A's by Andi Stull in Ticino

Three 8A's by Andi Stull in Ticino

Andi Stullhas been in Ticino for almost three weeks, sending three 8A's; Teamwork (8A), Pause cervelas (8A) and Forever More (8A), in the picture.

Can you tell us more about your trip?
I think ‘Teamwork’ was my favorite of the 8As I’ve done this trip! Sharp crimps and cool movement with a toe hook! ‘Pause Cervelas’ is so beautiful too, being that is it right on the river on beautiful rock! I had to find my own beta for that one, as the normal, more dynamic beta felt like too big of a span for me, so that was a fun process! The top out of forever more is a bit silly and simultaneously spooky! It’s a true mantle, then some bad slopers and smeary feet. As a was mantling, my hand slid a little due to my skin being so dry, that was pretty scary, but luckily, I didn’t fall! It’s a bit unfortunate that there’s graffiti on the next boulder over, as it’s right by the river and such a beautiful scenery, otherwise!

This is my first time in Ticino, and I’m already planning another trip back! I didn’t want to focus too much on one specific project this trip, as I wanted to get a taste of everything! I was initially planning on being here for 6 weeks, but I, unfortunately, will be cutting my trip short and leaving at the end of this week.

What is next when you are back home?
I would love to make it out to Bishop, but the Buttermilk road is inaccessible at the moment. So, I may either do the 3-mile hike to the boulders, or get straight back into training mode and prepare for next season! I may come back to Swiss in October. If that’s the case, I will be training hard for that!

Two 8B+'s in a day by Giuliano Cameroni

Two 8B+'s in a day by Giuliano Cameroni

Giuliano Cameroni has had a great day in Valle Bavona sending both Ninjutsu (8B+) and Fight Club (8B+).

"Fight Club was founded by @jwebxl in 2019. That same year we built the landing but didn’t get a chance to try. The next year I spent 5/6 sessions with @daisukeichimiya but we didn’t find any of the kneebars that make this thing more doable. In 2022 the line was finally freed by @shawnraboutou. This year I went back with @dave_graham_ and he showed me his impeccable kneebar beta. What a vision 🤯." Check out Cameroni's Insta video