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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."

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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." At the same time, 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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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.

Rei de Bering 9a+/b by Seb Bouin

Rei de Bering 9a+/b by Seb Bouin

Sebastien BOUIN reports on Insta that he has done the FA of Rei de Bering in Meio Mango. It has an eight bolt 8c (+) start variation, compared to Mar de Beiring 9a/+ which he opened last week. (c) Clarisse Bompard

Ones of my favourite trips for sure and the rock is really good, some of the best limestone I’ve seen. After sending Mar de Bering, I was searching for something harder. There is a left start, coming from the very end of the cave. This start added a lot before joining the actual Mar de Bering (like jumbo love direct). It adds a lot of endurance before and I was coming on the crux quite tired everytime. The rock is amazing and this route is a true kingline.

After sending this new route (Rei de Berin, 9a+/b), I had two more days. I decided to find an even more futuristic line for my next trip. I found a cave with a good potential and bolted a line straight through it. The quality of the holds is amazing. It looks a bit like Flatanger rock, but it's limestone. I tried the route briefly during my last day. I was tired, but I figured out almost all of the moves. I am really psyched to come back here again soon!”


Andre Neres who bolted Mar de Beiring comments. "Meio Mango and Atlântida are world-class crags, next to each other in Cabo Espichel, Portugal. The routes are just incredibly good. The downside of such a good limestone is the exposition to the conditions (sea). Seb is by far the most impressive climber we’ve had spending some time around. Came on a sponsorship event trip without great expectations and very quickly saw the potential and fell in love with the surroundings spending 3 weeks around here. Rarely complained about the conditions, climbed “à muerte” every time regardless of humidity or the size of the waves. Very inspiring! In the last few days he bolted a roof project in Atlântida for some future visits."

The Lion King 8B by Jana Švecová

Jana Švecová (Vincourková) has done the FA of Lion King (8B) in Al Tawian. This was her second trip to United Arab Emirates and together with her boyfriend they have put up some 100 boulders 5B to 8B. "Today, the last climbing day of our stay, 15 tries, no success I even made a split during the last unsuccessful try and gave up. An hour later, while going to the car, I decided to give a couple of last tries with the tip of the index finger taped, and surprisingly the no expectation helped! Even without warming up, I managed to send it first try🏆😍🔥"

Could you tell us more about your trip and the potential in the UAE?
We came to the United Arab Emirates for two months. We decided to go to the Emirates because we know that the weather is basically great all the time. Most of the time it is about doing FAs. Now when we experience the weather in December, next time we would choose January and February because the temperatures are even lower in these months. There are plenty of valleys, but you have to search for the one where water flows annually :) but I would say there is a lot of riverbed climbing. The valley of Tawaian is several kilometres long and we made two sectors, separated by just a couple of hundred meters. We for sure went to explore the valley a little further and there were so many even bigger boulders… I would say that valley only could have up to 500 boulders.

Were there already locals climbing at this spot?
This year we met already a couple of people climbing there. The topo is almost done, I think that will make it a lot more accessible and the climbing community in Dubai is quite big. I guess (nearly) nobody knew there is some good climbing around. If anyone wants the topo, they can just reach out @uae_bouldering on Insta, The guys will be happy to share it and there is a climbing festival 25/2 :)

La Rambla 9a+ by Séb Berthe

La Rambla 9a+ by Séb Berthe

Sébastien Berthe, famous for all his big wall adventures, has done La Rambla (9a+) in Siurana. "This route has made me dream for 20 years and I am super proud to have climbed it. It is my second route of that grade and it makes me really psyched for my upcoming projects.

In January, I spent 3 weeks in Siurana trying hard on that route (had 14 sessions and about 25 tries in total on it). In the first few sessions, I was destroyed by the long effort the route required and I could barely do two tries in one day. I would end the session exhausted with multiple holes on my skin. I could not even support two days in a row. However, I improved really fast on the route. Day after day, I was feeling better and better and kept falling higher and higher. After a few sessions, I could arrive at the final boulder, but it is where everything starts on this route. The mental battle started there as well: for a week, I kept falling at the very same spot, on the same move again and again. I could not hold that pocket and always fell with the feeling of being fresh and not having fought enough. On the victory go though, I gave it all, held the pocket power-screaming! Things were not over: there are still a few hard moves to go to the chain. With the pressure and sun at that time of the day, I took the wrong foothold and almost fell on the very last hard move. I also took advantage of my good shape to climb La Reina Mora (9a), in the picture, and Chikane (8c+). Super happy with this as well!"


What do you think has been the key to your success and progression over the past year?
I moved to Fontainebleau some months ago and for me, bouldering is the key to progress! Bouldering more and more makes me stronger and stronger even for long routes like la Rambla.

La Rambla 9a+ by Michaela Kiersch - Interview

La Rambla 9a+ by Michaela Kiersch - Interview

Michaela Kiersch reports on Insta that she has done La Rambla (9a+) in Siurana. Impressively, she projected it for just ten sessions. (c) Colette McInerney

In April, the 28-year-old graduated as a Doctor in hand therapy. Last year, she was also the only female climber to complete both a 9a and an 8B+ boulder interview. Overall, her combined ticklist makes her a contender for the best female outdoor climber as of now. At the age of 15, she made her debut in the World Cup and was #22. The next year, she was #18 in a Lead World Cup.

What was your first impression of La Rambla?
On my first try I did all the moves and felt super optimistic, but there were a few sections that felt super difficult and I was nervous about being able to link them together for a send.

Did video footage of La Rambla help you refine your beta?
I watched every video available and also had a really psyched group of friends here who are also trying the route. Having others to climb with and share beta was super crucial for me. There are a few big moves - I ended up jumping in the middle and this is the section I fell on the most, maybe 5 tries.

In the end, I stayed really positive and once I stuck the jump the first time I linked up to the top crux - that’s when I knew for sure it was possible. I fell there once more and then sent the next try.

What did your training and preparation for this trip look like?
I did a really regimented training block of about 6 weeks following my trip to the RRG (Red River Gorge). It included moonboard, kilterboard, circuits, and hangboarding. And, sauna every day!

You've had quite a successful year of climbing! What do you attribute most to your success?
You can’t fill every bucket at once. I shifted my priorities to focus more on climbing as I finished my education and I think being able to spend more time and energy (on climbing) is a major factor. I have a lot of positivity in my life at the moment and it’s giving me momentum.

It segid narc 8c+ by Fabrizio Peri (51)

It segid narc 8c+ by Fabrizio Peri (51)

Fabrizio Peri, who did his third 9a in 2020, has done the third ascent of It segid narc (8c+) in Sperlonga. Laura Rogora did the FA of the very steep link-up in 2017 and the year later, Adam Ondra did the second ascent. The 51-year-old started climbing in 1979 and he did his first 8c at age 40 after having stopped bodybuilding.

Can you tell us more about the ascent?
I started trying the route in April last year but then temperatures rose and I returned to the cave in November trying the route a couple of times a week.....until yesterday I succeeded! I'm very happy that I still get to be lucky enough to have fun with these grades. Lately, I've had to change my training method by reducing dry strength workouts because they are very traumatic, but I've replaced them with maximum bouldering sessions for my level. I am also very attentive to recovery and the day before climbing on rock I always insert some aerobic work. I always maintain a controlled diet and when I'm close to sending a route I reduce even more because 1 or 2 kg less makes the difference for me, after all, I know that afterwards I'll be rewarded with a nice sweet Italian 'tiramisu' very caloric 😁.

How do you manage climbing at such a high level at age 51?
It's very simple. It all comes from my great passion for climbing and the pleasure of training at the same time. I've always thought that the most beautiful routes are the most difficult ones, which is why I've always tried to improve. So it was a slow process that led me to understand myself to better manage training and climbing days. My biggest goal is always to repeat important routes where the strongest have passed. I would like to do it in Spain but my work and family commitments don't allow me to do it so I focus on areas close to home. I can train every day, sometimes even two sessions a day, alternating resistance with bouldering. I manage to climb about two times a week and do about two 5/6 day climbing trips a year.

What's your occupation?
I am a soldier of the Guardia di Finanza, and I work as a sports and climbing instructor.

Mar de Bering 9a/+ FA by Seb Bouin

Mar de Bering 9a/+ FA by Seb Bouin

Sebastien BOUIN reports on Insta that he has done the FA of Mar de Bering 9a/+ in Meio Mango. "We are always amazed to be in a such beautiful place." Here is a recent interview with Seb, from last week, who in 2022 did four routes 9b/+. (c) Clarisse Bompard

Meio Mango is a hidden seacliff pearl located some 45 min south of Lisbon. Here is how Andre Neres described the crag back in 2019 when he had done the FA of Filipinos (9a). "Meio Mango is easily one of the best unknown crags in Europe, it has 10 years of existence, it is a seacliff 45 min south of Lisbon on a place called Cabo Espichel, over 150 routes together with a new sector we are bolting called Atlântida. Plenty of easy and medium routes and a lot of potential for hard stuff. With breathtaking sunsets, no phone connection, no human constructions, and dolphins cruising around frequently, it is a paradise by the sea."

Pungitopo 8c+ by Francesco Morandi

Pungitopo 8c+ by Francesco Morandi

Francesco Morandi has done Pungitopo (8c+) in Arco. The 29-year-old bolted it a couple of years ago and last year he invited Adam Ondra to try it out and he did the FA in September, on his second session. "Possibly Arco's most aesthetic hard line," Ondra commented in his video. (c) Stefano Ghisolfi

What is your climbing background?
I climb since I was 8 years old and I have climbed indoors until 15, having a couple of years break. I was feeling too much pressure from the competitions and I wasn't having fun anymore. So I quit the indoor competition world and decided to climb just for and against myself outdoors. That was my path.

Could you tell us more about the ascent?

After Adam did the FA, I got a shoulder injury on another route that kept me away from Pungitopo until two months ago. Yesterday I managed to clip the chain of this route after 40+ attempts in 16 days on the route. Is my hardest ascent up to date and by far the biggest effort I did. The mental battle I had to fight made my biggest journey on a route. First of the grade for me. Pungitopo is destinated to become a classic of the grade in Arco because of his beauty and rock quality. I would like to say thank you to all the people who believed and belayed me on the route.

Where does the name Pungitopo come from?
When I repelled down from the route while bolting I got in a big bush in Italian called Pungitopo, the plant makes some red fruits that look like Christmas tree balls. Christmas was a tradition with my grandma to go to pick some branches for making nice the house. As she passed away was good having a route with that name for remembering her.

Why did you decide to open up this climb for others to do before you did it yourself?
About letting other people try the project that I bolt I feel like is quite personal. My thoughts are that if I spend my energy on bolting and cleaning a new line or crag, and of course spending my own money to buy bolts and chains, it's fair enough that I try to make the FA. Then if the project feels too hard for me and I can't see the "light", I guess it doesn't make sense to keep it closed, and I'm happy to share it with other climbers and try to solve the route together.

How many routes have you bolted and how much more potential do you see around Arco?
I have bolted about 40 routes around Arco, and the potential is still high, especially for hard routes. The thing is that the crags left to bolt are the ones with a longer approach, but a lot of time it's worth it. The climbing scene in Arco nowadays is even more active compared to 10 years ago, as there are every year new crags it keeps the place interesting for the climbing community, especially because of the increasing number of people that start to climb per year.