Thea Wulff, who did her first two 7C+' at age 13, has done her first 8A+, Euro Trash in Little Cottonwood. (c) Quinn Mason
Could you please say something about your climbing background and how you took it down?
I’ve been climbing for 9 years, but I mainly focus on indoor competition climbing (I’ll be competing at the Salt Lake City World Cups in a couple of weeks). I’ve been trying to get outside more often, but it’s hard to find the time with training. I just moved to Salt Lake City and Little Cottonwood Canyon is only 15 minutes away, so I wanted to check out Euro Roof. On my first session last weekend, I did the 7C+ start, and tried the 8A+ moves but was too tired to give a real effort. Natalia Grossman was working the 8B, so we decided to head back out yesterday, and both of us sent in under an hour! Until this climb, I hadn’t seriously tried any other 8A+ boulders, but now I’m more psyched than ever to get on some more hard outdoor blocs!
Jonathan Siegrist has repeated James Litz' Ace of Spades 9a+ in Poptire. Actually, Litz did not grade so the proposal came from Daniel Woods who did the first repeat and Jonathan agrees. (c) Matt Pincus
"I first came to this crag in 2017 and I had a really good trip, I climbed everything in the cave more or less but I just did not have the bouldering power to really imagine being able to try this route. My climbing has changed a lot in the last several years as I have gotten much more powerful (at least for my low standard!). So it was nice to come back and do this route in a couple of days.
As for James Litz, he is an incredible dark horse and has been a fixture for hard bouldering first ascents in the US for many years. These are his hardest routes, and in many ways his opus, or at least it would seem. I am not sure how much he climbs any more but he is one of those names that command respect from those who know who he is."
8a interview with James from 2018, talking about his possible 9b FA.
Jana Vincourková has had an amazing April after getting out from lockdown, doing three 8A+' and a flash of Red Hot Tortilas 8A. In the 8a ranking game, the 23-year-old Czech is #7. Here are her two latest videos showing her impressive ascents; video #8 and
"Finally after being locked in the town for three months, we finally could travel in April. In total, I spent eight days on the rocks already, yaay. We began around Brno where I managed to send 8A+ and 8A. Then we travelled for our first bouldering trip to Sněžník. We spent six days there. On the first climbing day, I was able to send 8A+ boulder “Nesplněný sen” which was a really good start of the trip for me. The next day I started another 8A+ boulder but wasn't able to send it that day, but I flashed an 8A that Lucie Hrozová had flashed a couple of weeks before. Two rest days later the conditions were so good and I managed to climb that boulder which I said was 8A+ named Ko-Fan.
So those five 8ish boulders I did during two weeks. All I can say is that the hard work during winter is paying off so far. Mainly hang-boarding on small crimps with weight and I also did some pull-ups on small crimps with weight and some maximal weight pull-ups on jugs. There I did a big improvement which helps me now a lot. We also twice a week did a Moonboard session.
Next I am going to try some harder boulders and see how it goes and hopefully I will send some 8B boulder again this year or even harder. The season has just started so we will see. :)"
Michiel Nieuwenhuijsen reports on Insta that he has done the FA of Le Pilier du Désert assis 8C in Fontainebleau after just four sessions, beside two sessions doing the 8A+ stand some years ago. The 34-year-old and 187 cm tall did six 8B+' last year and also his second 8C, The Story of two world's. (c) Bart Van Raaij
Interestingly, Manu Cornu who did the second ascent thought it was 8C+ but the third ascentionist, Nico Pelorson says he leans more towards 8B+ as it just took him three sessions. It should be noted that Nico has previously downgraded two 9A's.
Natalia Grossman, who was #3 in Meiringen, has done her 13th 8A+ the last year, Euro Trash in Little Cottonwood. In the 8a ranking game, including also four 8B's, the 19-year-old is #7. "Felt amazing to spend some time outside! Surprised myself with a 3rd go send and felt really close on euro roof sit!"(c) Sean Faulkner
How was your feeling in Meiringen understanding that you have taken yet another step?
After taking such a long time away from competitions I didn’t know what to expect. I had been training hard during the previous months before Meiringen and I felt strong, however, I definitely surprised myself with my results! It feels really good to have been able to perform well in all three rounds of the competition and I’m very excited for the rest of the season.
What goes through your mind during the finale and how do you handle the mental pressure?
During the final, I had no expectations and I simply enjoyed the moment. It wasn’t until the last climb when I realized that if I got the zone I would secure my spot on the podium. Knowing this information made me lose my focus a little bit, but I was able to recenter myself and find a top on the final boulder!
Mental pressure can be tough at time but learning to release any expectations I may be carrying has been very helpful. I’ve also found that if I remember to enjoy the moment, the mental pressure seems to float away and I am able to have fun and stay positive which allows me to try hard and perform to the best of my abilities.
Dylan Chuat has done his fourth 9a, during the last nine months, Coup de Grace in Ticino. On Insta he comments, "It felt incredible 😍!!
I’m excited to find a route really hard which will take me some time to work on and put in a lot of attempts until I make it 😁💪🏼!!" (c) Fedir Samoilov
During the last weeks, the 20-year-old has also done two 8B FAs in Valle Bavona. Last November he was #11 in the Euro Lead Championship in Moscow.
Staša Gejo, who has done five 8A's in 2021, has done her third 8A+ during the last year, Backgammon in Frankenjura and amazingly she took it down on her second session, video.
So how was it possible to take it down in just two sessions?
Well, to be honest, I don't think 8A+ is my realistic upper limit, so I need to try something harder. Additionally, this one really suited me well.
When will you start trying 8B and 8B+?
I tried some, they feel pretty hard, but doable. I need to find something that suits me better 🤷🏻♀️ I have time :)
Giuliano Cameroni has done Jimmy Webb's La Rustica in Valle Bavona. "Could never do the crux move for the past years. A few weeks ago I realized that it was possible so I started investing more time into it. Took me three days to stick the crux move and on that same try, I luckily didn’t let go and made it to the top. It was an epic fight haha.
Concerning the grade, it personally felt like a very hard 8C."
Previously, the 23-year-old Swizz, has done 18 8C's and harder out of which eight FAs. On Insta he comments, "Perfect rock and moves make this one of the coolest lines I’ve ever seen!"
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