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Heim nach Afrika 9a by Martina Demmel

Heim nach Afrika 9a by Martina Demmel

Martina Demmel, who started climbing only in 2017, has done Heim nach Afrika (9a) in Kochel. It is a link-up that first Pirmin Bertle reported the FA, calling it 9a/+. Later it was discovered that Philipp Hrozek had done it more than ten years ago, but never reported it, thinking it was 8c+/9a. In two interesting and very much read-worthy long Insta posts the 21-year-old says that the link-up has been her priority for two years. (c) Felix Bub

"The whole period, I've surprisingly never felt unpatient with myself as it probably was one of the first routes which was in the range of "finding out if it's possible at all & not when"...🙃 totally enjoyed this luckily steady process what makes me curious for more of this soon😁❤️‍🔥!! Falling more in love with this 🧩-solving game by finding all those game-changing bodypositions, chalk-up points, releasing the tension moments and simply remembering it all (what's been more difficult than expected...🤪).

I've to admit that I was quite surprised/sad about how many people were only focused on asking me about my opinion on the grade instead of congratulating or being interested in the story/feelings behind at all...🥺 maybe it's normal but I've never noticed it in such an obvious extent🤷‍♀️."


In 2021, Martina became the first-ever female to have won the 8a annual onsight ranking game. In total, she onsighted 18 routes 8a+ and harder in 2021. If we start from 7c and harder she did a stunning 138 onsights the last year. Amazingly, she did her first 7c onsight when she had only climbed for 1.5 years.

Water world 9a OS by Adam Ondra

Water world 9a OS by Adam Ondra

Adam Ondra has onsighted Osapska pošast L2 (8c) (calling it 8b+) and Water world (9a) in Osp/Misja Pec. "Yees, very proud to onsight it. Possibly not the hardest 9a especially with kneepads, but not a very obvious one to onsight. Super happy."

In total, the 29-year-old has now logged 193 onsights 8b+ and harder but this would have been well over 200 without all of his downgrades. A possible contender for being the runner-up in this onsight list could be Piotr Schab who has onsighted eleven 8c's and 20 8b+'s. The picture is from Adam's Insta with now close to 900 000 followers.

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


Two 8c's by Bayes Wilder (11)

Two 8c's by Bayes Wilder (11)

Bayes Wilder, who last year did his first 8c+, has been on a three week climbing trip around Lleida where he did 20 routes, (mainly onsight or flash), 7b and ha…

Last Night 9a and Wild Publico 9a by Loic Zehani

Last Night 9a and Wild Publico 9a by Loic Zehani

Loic Zehani has done Last Night (9a) in Siurana, in just two sessions. The route was bolted by Dani Andrada and then William Bosi did the FA in 2021. "8 ultra p…

Interview with Anak Verhoeven (updated)

Interview with Anak Verhoeven (updated)

Anak Verhoeven is historically speaking one of the best female Lead competition climbers. She made finals in the WC 36 times in a row. In total, she made the po…

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Hakuna Matata 9a by Alberto Gotta

Hakuna Matata 9a by Alberto Gotta

Alberto Gotta has done Hakuna Matata (9a) in Cubo, after projecting it for six sessions. Up until 2021, the 30-year-old had done three 8c+ and in 2022, he has already done six 8c+'s and three 9a's. "I'm very Happy about this one. It felt very hard during the first tries but try after try I figured out every move and finally, during the last possible run of the season, everything was perfect and I found myself on the top. One of my proudest achievements so far for sure." (c) Valerio Zenerino

What do you think has been the key to your recent progress?
I think that last year I understood how I personally could train as effectively as possible. Then during this season, I spent more time rock climbing so I had the opportunity to transform all the competition training into rock climbing achievements.

Can you tell us more about your training?
Understanding that I'm basically a weak climber (endurance is more my thing), I focused more on strength-oriented training, keeping the intensity as high as possible. Working all day, I don't have a lot of time for the sessions so this kind of training suits quite well with the available amount of time.

Life of Villains 9a by Rollin Grimmet

Life of Villains 9a by Rollin Grimmet

Rollin Grimmett has done Life Of Villains (9a). The 30-year-old has only been climbing consistently for eight years and has mainly been climbing outdoors. "Wow, feels like a dream. I worked on basically only this route all of last winter, almost every weekend driving down from SLC. Lost count of how many attempts, but probably close to 80 tries over the past 2 years. So incredibly psyched."

Can you tell us more about your climbing background and the ascent?
I fell in love with the movement and problem solving nature of climbing, and from the beginning, I could tell I was naturally proficient. Efficient movement and even the subtle adjustments needed, all came intuitively. But I wasn't immediately very strong. When I first started climbing, I never imagined I'd send 8a, let alone 9a. I was barely climbing 7a outside. But I consistently improved because I was excited to try harder than what I thought I was capable of. I always wanted to be better, and I surrounded myself with friends who would push me. Each year since my first 8a I would project outside of my comfort zone, and each year I would send a new grade, culminating in my send of 9a with 'Life of Villains' last week. Consistently, I would devote whatever time and effort was required.

The key in sport climbing for me is to be as efficient as possible. I don't usually do much traditional training in the gym, I prefer to just climb. So often in the gym in between new sets, I would "train" by repeating hard boulders I had done before. I feel like that's a great way to learn efficiency in movement. I guess I've been pretty fortunate to avoid most injuries or issues that some climbers might experience when ramping up training too fast.

I first tried 'Life of Villains' (LoV) halfway through the Winter of 2020/21. It was my first full season in the Hurricave, and I had sent Peregrination and 86'd. I was feeling quite fit and was inspired by watching Dru Mack and others try LoV. All the moves on the route felt hard, but I could tell the route suited my style. It was crimpy and required excellent power endurance, my specialty. But I knew it was well above my ability at the time. I would fall over and over in the middle crux, and only once made it through before I fell shortly after.

A year later I returned for the winter 2021/22 season. LoV was my singular goal every weekend for almost 5 months. I was stronger this time but needed better endurance. I was steadily improving, falling higher and higher, even once on the last move. But I made a crucial mistake. I limited myself to only giving redpoint attempts. I started losing power, and began falling back at the earlier crux. By the time I course-corrected, the season came to a close, and it was too warm. Since then, this year has been one of immense growth for me. I chose climbing goals that would challenge me, I focused on routes that would train my power through the summer. I sent Supertweak (first American 8c) with pretty hot conditions in July, and also spent way more time bouldering in the gym to train. When I returned this season, LoV felt like an old friend. Like as if it hadn't been 7.5 months since my last try. But this time I felt way more solid. Everything felt smooth, exactly how you want it to feel. And 2 sessions in I was already falling near the end of the redpoint crux. Last weekend I fell twice in a row one move away from the jug at the lip, and I was pretty confident it would happen soon. I took two rest days (crucial for me on this route), returned Wednesday and immediately sent. I executed everything perfectly, it was so flowy it felt like I was on autopilot.

La pequena Mowgli 8c by Sol Sa

Sol Sa signs up to 8a by logging La pequena Mowgli (8c) in Siurana. "It’s really big moves for me…, it’s like a boulder that was fun, fun."

The Korean has been a very active international competition climber since 2009. In 2018, she got the Combined silver World Championship. In 2020, she did This year, she participated in seven Boulder or Lead World Cups, and her worst result was #33. As a boulderer, she has done three 8A+, out of which Social Distortion (8A+) in just six minutes in 2020.


What are your next plans?
I have two plans. My first goal is to win a prize in the Asian Games. However, it is possible to be selected as one of the top two athletes in the Korean national competition early next year. If I can’t be selected another goal of mine is to send an 8B+ boulder and an 8c+ route in 2023.

And if you will be selected?
I want to make it to the bouldering World Cup finals. I want to achieve good results in the 2023 Asian Games as well. When I compete in a competition as a national team, I cannot decide on my own when to go outdoors climbing. After the season is over, I plan to go bouldering to Bishop or Rocklands if I can.

Nico Pelorson keeps on sending it

Nico Pelorson keeps on sending it

Nico Pelorson has done the FA of Le Braille (9a) in La carriere. Although, it is located only a five min walk from the city centre of Grenoble, the route bolted Mathieu Cortès has been a project for 15 years.

Nico has also done the first repeat of Blaoum 8c (9a) in Baderne, which Pierre Duroché put up in 2007 as a 9a. The 25-year-old, who is very known for his hard personal downgradings, calls it 8c.

In the last two weeks, he has also done Forgotten G (8C) in Chironico, calling it 8B+, as well as Big Paw (8B+) and the FA of Les petites prises de la bastille (8B+).

Trofeo dell'Adriatico 9a+ by Gio Placci

Trofeo dell'Adriatico 9a+ by Gio Placci

Gio Placci, who did his first 9a+ three weeks ago, has done Trofeo dell'Adriatico (9a+) in Arco, after projecting it for only six days. "What a line !!!! With the kneebar it’s consistently easier, 9a+ low ends IMO. Gabri (Moroni) who made the FA did it without the kneebar rest and so the route was definitely way harder maybe 9a+\b."

What are your winter plans?
I’m training now for the season 2023 but I still have a ten days trip to Spain over the new year, where I would like to climb First Ley (9a+).

L'antagonista 8c onsight by Chaehyeon Seo (19)

L'antagonista 8c onsight by Chaehyeon Seo (19)

Chaehyeon Seo, who just did La Rambla (9a+), has done two impressive onsights in a day in Montsant. First, she onsighted Hidrofobia L1+L2 (8b) after being up there for almost 40 minutes and later she onsighted L'antagonista (8c). The only other female who has onsighted an 8c in Janja Garnbret.

Can you tell us more about the last onsight?
It took me almost an hour. The hardest part for me was at about 55m height. I fought there for almost twenty minutes. I just focused on it and thought that this is the last chance I was getting pumped even though I was resting, so I thought that this is the last chance that I can do the crux. I just grabbed the pocket hold and made a cross over to the bad sloper and I just barely made it.

Vecchio Leone 8B flash by Killian Chabrier

Vecchio Leone 8B flash by Killian Chabrier

Killian Chabrier has flashed Vecchio Leone in Brione. In 2021 he did his first three 8C's but this year he has previously been focused more on routes having done his first 9a.

Can you tell us some more about the flash and the beta you used?
A friend of mine who was in Brione 2 weeks ago told me I should try to flash Vecchio Leone cause it suits my style a lot. So I decided to take a look! I check some betas my friends used and decided to go for a proper flash but with the idea of climbing with the feeling and reorganizing if it’s necessary. I look at videos before and a guy who was in the same area told me where to top out because I didn’t look where it tops out 😅 That’s what I did with using a beta more powerful in the middle by crossing with a left foot instead of a right one, it feels a bit harder but less random. I think Vecchio Leone suits my style very well cause it’s my first 8B flash and I felt that I couldn’t fall in it!

Meltdown 8c+ trad by Jacopo Larcher

Meltdown 8c+ trad by Jacopo Larcher

Jacopo Larcher, one of the very best multi-discipline climbers in the world, has made the 3rd ascent of Beth Rodden’s Yosemite trad test-piece Meltdown 8c+ from 2008. At that time it was the hardest graded trad route in the world and then in 2018, Carlo Traversi made the first repeat, confirming the grade.

Jacopo first tried the route in 2016, when he spent 2 days trying the moves. During this current trip, he spent one evening brushing the holds and 7 days working the route on head-point. During his ascent, he placed all gear on lead. The Italian is spending the month of November in Yosemite, filming for a new documentary series about the world’s hardest trad climbs. ‘How Hard Is Hard?’ is due out in 2023. (c) Andrea Cossu Onsen productions

"There are many hard trad climbs around the world, but very few have become iconic. For me, Meltdown was definitely one of those. I don’t know why, but it somehow had this mysterious aura. I remember watching the movie of Beth’s incredible first ascent, back in 2008; at the time I didn’t know much about trad climbing, and I couldn’t really understand the significance of the route and her achievement at that time. The route just looked so beautiful, yet completely desperate to me. Something unthinkable for me to consider climbing, at the time.

Some years later, when I started to get more and more into this aspect of climbing, I began to realize that her achievement was ahead of its time. Since her first ascent, not much about the route had been heard, which was not so common for a well-known climb situated just in the middle of Yosemite valley. There were rumors about some of the world’s best trad climbers having tried the route over the years, but no one found success. People even created the myth that the route had such thin jams, that it was impossible for climbers with normal fingers. All that added some mystery to the route, until Carlo Traversi, in 2018, finally claimed the second ascent of Meltdown, confirming Beth’s incredible achievement and proving all the “excuses” were wrong.

I had my first taste of Meltdown in 2016, when Babsi (Zangerl) and I checked out the route for two days in between some “El Cap action”. We were both surprised by the beauty of the line, as well as its difficulty. It definitely wasn’t about thin finger jams, but about some very powerful lay-backing on extremely bad and glassy footholds. After those 2 days, I was even more impressed by Beth ascent back in 2008!

We regularly visited Yosemite in the following years, but our focus had always been on the bigger walls, so we hadn’t gone back on Meltdown, even though the line has always been in the back of my mind. As I’m currently working on a documentary about the different styles and ethics in trad climbing, this season I finally committed to go back to the Valley without my big wall gear, in order to climb some classic single pitches and to get on Meltdown again. Luckily, this time I immediately had some more positive feelings working on it. The footholds were still terrible and the route hard, but I somehow felt like a more mature (trad) climber. I was very surprised yet motivated when I managed to top-rope it clean on my 3rd day trying it this year. After that, I naively thought it would go fast on lead, but placing the gear adds some extra spice to it and it definitely makes the route significantly harder.

On my fourth day of lead tries I had to pull out a big (!) fight and dig deep in order to reach the anchor. The easier upper parts always felt good on top-rope, but it definitely felt different when coming from the ground! Usually, while head pointing hard trad routes, the actual send go feels smooth, which is obviously a nice feeling... but on this one, I had to fight very hard and was very close to falling in the upper part, which somehow made the experience even more unforgettable 🙂 It was definitely one of my favorite moments in climbing!

I would like to highlight once more what Beth did in 2008, which was way ahead of the times, both in women and mens climbing history! I honestly believe the shorter you are, the harder this route gets...and yes: fingers size doesn’t matter! Chapeau Beth, thanks for the inspiration."