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Blindgänger 9a by David Firnenburg

David Firnenburg, who previously has done 20 routes graded 9a or 9a+, has done Blindgänger (9a) in Unterwald. "Nice route on crimps, slopers and pockets! FA by Dimitri Vogt in 2021. Located on the left side of the crag. First through the small roof and then resistant climbing straight up. Rather felt soft for the grade (8c+/9a?) but time will tell. Good day with Sam Ometz. Unterwald is a good alternative to Gimmelwald in the region of Berner Oberland!"

How many sessions did it take?
It took me three sessions. I was already close to sending it on my 2nd session but I kept falling on a tricky sequence in the upper part of the route. It’s nice to see that there is still a lot of potential for new hard routes here in Switzerland 😊

Diaz-Rullo portrait doing El Bon Combat 9b

Jorge Diaz-Rullo did Chris Sharma's El Bon Combat (9b) in Cova del Ocell in 2020. It took him 32 days and for almost two months he lived in the area alone in his van. "It has cost me so much, it's my antistyle and the conditions did not help at all... It was truly, very difficult for me! So long story short, whatever the grade is, I'm just happy to have done it! 😃💥"

EDITORIAL

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


8c+ OS by Ondra with a margin

Adam Ondra onsighted Solitary Souls (8c+) in Arco in March. In total, he has now onsighted 25 routes 8c+ and 9a at the same time as no other climber has onsighed more than two such graded climbs. In the end of the video, Ondra comments, "Furtunately, the margin was indeed there." The FA Alfredo Webb…

The Boulder and Lead WC will finish in Japan

IFSC inform that Morioka-Iwate in Japan will host a Boulder and Lead World Cup in between October 20-22. This means that there will be a total of seven events each in Boulder and Lead in the World Cup in 2022. Two weeks ago, two IFSC WCs in China were cancelled due to the pandemics.

Boulder World Cup for the first time in Brixen (South Tyrol)

Boulder World Cup for the first time in Brixen (South Tyrol)

From 10 to 12 June, a Boulder World Cup will take place in South Tyrol for the first time. The world’s best 250 athletes are expected at the Vertikal Climbing S…

Boulder WC rankings after 3 events

1. Natalia Grossman USA 2 805 - Yoshiyuki Ogata JPN 2 300 2. Oriane Bertone FRA 1 870 - Tomoa Narasaki JPN 2260 3. Brooke Raboutou USA 1 795 - Mejdi Schalck FRA 2 145 4. Stasa Gejo SRB 1 520 - Kokoro Fujii JPN 1 755 5. Camilla Moroni ITA 1 320 - Paul Jenft FRA 1 310 6. Miho Nonaka JPN 1 250 - Nicola…

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Euro Trash 8A+ by Sera Gearhart

Euro Trash 8A+ by Sera Gearhart

Sera Gearhart has done her third 8A+, Euro Trash all of them in 2022. "Finally did this one and felt like I was floating. Learned a lot and had a lot of fun in the process, definitely hardest of the grade I've done." (c) Ryan Moon

Could you say something about the process how you took it down?
This one was really hard for me! I spent a lot of sessions falling on the move to the 10 start. My main goal was to not get really mental from falling on the same move so I tried to be really patient and only go to the boulder maximum once per week. So glad that process worked out! Now I'm looking to try Automator and Nuthin but sunshine in RMNP in a few weeks :)

F-k the System 8C+ FA by Shawn Raboutou

F-k the System 8C+ FA by Shawn Raboutou

Shawn Raboutou reports on Insta that he last summer did the FA of Fuck the System 8C+ in Fionnay. It is a low start to Foundation Edge which Dave Graham put up in 2013 and Shawn repeated in 2018. (c) Clément Lechaptois

Shawn is the older brother of Brooke Raboutou who is currently #3 in the Boulder World Cup. Their parents are Didier and Robyn Erbesfield who were leading climbers during the 90'ies. Shawn has previously done (at least) three 8C+ and 20+ 8C's meaning his track record is among the Top-10 in the world.

Grossman and Schalck win in Salt Lake City

Grossman and Schalck win in Salt Lake City

Natalia Grossman won the Boulder World Cup in Salt Lake City, the only one topping out all four boulders in the final. The 20-year-old has during the last seven Boulder WCs always been Top-2, including being the World Champion in 2021. Among the male, 18-year-old Mejdi Schalck got his first WC victory after barely making it to the final, beating Tomoa Narasaki #7 with one attempt. Jakob Schubert, the only one doing all four boulders in the semi-final had the opposite result ending #6 in the final.

It should be mentioned that the difficulty of the boulders throughout the whole competition was perfect beside one semi-final boulder for the girls. On that boulder everyone but one made the zone on their first attempt but nobody made the top. Noteworthy is also that, although Japan had the best overall results with three podiums, Austria had four athletes making the final. (c) Daniel Gajda

1. Natalia Grossman USA 44 - Mejdi Schalck FRA 44 (9)
2. Brooke Raboutou USA 34 (5) - Yoshiyuki Ogata JPN 44 (11)
3. Miho Nonaka JPN 34 (9) - Rei Kawamata JPN 34
4. Jessica Pilz AUT 34 (16) - Nicolai Uznik AUT 23
5. Franziska Sterrer AUT 13 (1) - Yannick Flohé GER 14
6. Camilla Moroni ITA 13 (2) - Jakob Schubert AUT 12

Riverbed 8B by Michaela Kirsch

Riverbed 8B by Michaela Kirsch

Michaela Kirsch, who three days ago did an 8B in Magic Woods reports on Insta that she has done one more, Riverbed. Amazingly, she just needed 3 + 2 sessions in order to do them both so clearly 8B+ should be possible with some more work. (c) Nina Williams

How do you like Magic Woods and how long will you stay?
I absolutely love it here! I’ll stay until early June!

8b OS and Dures Limites RP by Solveig Korherr

8b OS and Dures Limites RP by Solveig Korherr

Solveig Korherr has had a great trip to Céüse where she onsighted Le chirurgien du crépuscule (8b). "Wow! I’m really surprised and proud of this accomplishment. It was definitely my style and I guess with a bit of luck by reading the sequences well and a lot of trying hard somehow I made it to the top without falling. The slab was really nerve-wracking though, I almost blew it up there :D"

Later, on her fifth day, the 23-year-old did Dures limites (8c). "Probably one of my favourite ones so far. The first crux fit me much better than the top one. After falling three times in a row on the very last big move, I’m super psyched I finally stuck it from the ground. Thanks, Jon and all the strong Briançon kids for cheering me on!"

Previously she has onsighed four 8b's and redpointed 20 routes 8c to 9a. In the 8a ranking game, the german is #2. (c) Jon Shen

Seb Bouin and his (9c) grading

Seb Bouin and his (9c) grading

Sebastien Bouin has done some 60 routes 9a and harder out of which 25 are FAs, including DNA 9c in Verdon which he did last month. Interestingly none of these FAs have been repeated although half of them were put up between 2011 to 2016. The 29-year-old is well known for giving personal down gradings like for Chilam Balam 9a+/b, Era Vella 8c+/9a, Esclatamasters 8c+/9a and Akira. The latter was put up as the world's first 9b and Seb did the first repeat after 20+ years calling it 9a.

Who belayed you during the 250+ tries on DNA and who has tried it?
No other climbers have tried it. I had many friends and also my girlfriend has belayed a lot. However, my mother has done most of that hard work. She lives just 30 min from the crag and I have actually stayed there a lot in between sessions. I live some three hours away.

How were the mental ups and downs during the three year process?
In the beginning, I could not do all moves and I did not know if it was going to be possible. Spending time in this beautiful place unlocking the moves and the sequences was great fun. Later the process got more frustrating. Last Christmas I had a mental breakdown after falling four times close to the top. I had invested so much time and effort and besides almost only projected for several months including multiple redpoint sessions also on Bibliographie. It was kind of a mistake to try both routes at the same time. I had to focus on DNA and mixing with Biblio was fun. But I was missing the focus to close such a hard project. This winter, I had forced the process too much. I missed travelling and climbing easier routes and got very frustrated. Later I had to recharge by going on several trips and also doing some hard indoor training but no replica training.

What would you have done if you had not sent it?
I had plenty of time before the summer heat so I was not under so much pressure. I was enjoying the process and would have continued in the autumn. I would have recharged again during the summer and eventually done it. I bolted it in 2019 and it has been in my heart since. It is such a beautiful place and route so, during this spring, I enjoyed every session. It's different from winter, spring helps a lot in the process.

What was your rationale suggesting 9c for DNA?
Giving this grade was really hard. I was thinking about it a lot. It was hard to choose between 9c and 9b+ (read the black diamond story). I have based the grade on the comparison with other routes (in terms of time and feeling), and with the climbing style (which is 100% mine). I like endurance challenges on big overhangs with tufas etc. I talked to Adam Ondra to discuss that. Happy to see the good feedback. He has been in the sector trying some of my other FAs.

I could never have done a 9c in Norway as Adam did. One key for the send was actually that I could stay and be belayed by my mother. The grade was secondary. It was the perfect beautiful project which I wanted to complete. I do hope many climbers will come and try the routes in Ramirole and enjoy the crag. I always invite other climbers to come and many top climbers have been there. You will see when the video comes out that it is an amazing place and route.

What about upgrading some of your FAs in order to increase the interest in them?
I know I could upgrade a couple but I will not do this. I welcome others to try my routes and suggest upgrades if they feel it is needed. It feels wrong to suggest upgrades just because your routes are still unrepeated. My FA grades are based on how difficult and how many sessions were needed for me to do them. Possibly you could add a + to a few of my FAs if I compare them with some of the popular 9a's in Spain and other countries.

Detailed info in regards the process since 2019 can be found on Seb's Insta (c) Lena Drapella

(Jens Larssen: From a personal point of view it is a bit sad that I needed to talk about the grade so much with Seb. I have been communicating with him for ten years and he is not in it for the grade whatsoever. When we talked about Akira he could have taken the easy path calling it 9a+ but honesty is very important for him. He actually said that it is probably 8c+ with a knee pad but at the time, I did not publish this. Seb is just a very passionate climber who has been focusing on doing FAs. I think he is the perfect role model and he will become one of the more influential climbers in the world. In one way, we can also say that he is like a late bloomer meaning that I think that there is plenty of more 9b+ and 9c's to come, although some of them will get these grades due to upgrading. He is a very modest and humble guy.

When I called him, I started with a joke using french. "Je m'apalle Jens dans le huit a...". Then he answered my questions about DNA for a couple of minutes and he actually thought he was communicating with an anonymous person until he started laughing.

- Ahh, it is Jens! I am sorry for my bad English. I did not recognize your voice.

The Journey 9a (+) FA by Tom Bolger repeated by Jorge Diaz-Rullo

The Journey 9a (+) FA by Tom Bolger repeated by Jorge Diaz-Rullo

Tom Bolger has done yet another hardcore FA, The journey (9a+) in Margalef, which Jorge Diaz-Rullo has repeated giving it a personal 9a/+ grade. "What a great line equipped by Tom with very fun, physical steps and a spicy touch of resistance, very complete! It was interesting to see me so close in my second go although later with heat and plaster it cost me a little more... 9a/+ in my opinion if I compare with other 9a+ routes on the wall, others will tell." (c) Ignacio Sandoval Buron

Steppenwolf 8B by Michaela Kiersch

Steppenwolf 8B by Michaela Kiersch

Michaela Kiersch reports on Insta that she has done Steppenwolf 8B in Magic Woods in just two sessions. (c) Nina Williams

Three weeks ago she became a doctor in hand therapy and then she left for the Petzl Roctrip during two weeks in Manikia. Previously she has done eight boulders 8A+ and harder and the same number of 8c+ and harder routes.

How do you think it is possible to so quickly shift from endurance to power?
I really am not sure how I can adapt to power so quickly. I just feel like I’m in great shape all around. Helps to have great friends out here in the forest!