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Lexicon E11 7a (8b+ R) by Neil Gresham (50)

Neil Gresham, who previously has done two E10' has done the FA of Lexicon E11 7a at Pavey Park, which is equivalent with an 8b+ R trad. If you fall at the final 7C boulder crux at the top you face a 25-meter fall with a risk of slamming into the wall. UKC has the full length interview and actually it seems the 50-year-old's approach can be compared to how dedicated Adam Ondra was projecting Silence 9c.

We are talking about several different coaches like mental, trad, ballet, physiotherapist, nutrition etc. Neil also did also practice falling. "I made it to the fourth-from-last move and bailed out. I looked down to see the rope flapping and looping downwards in a huge arc and there was plenty of time to take things in as the air rushed across my face. It was the biggest whipper I've ever taken..."

It should be noted that the British E-grade, is supposed to estimate how hard and dangerous a trad route is to onsight. On the upper scale, it is very hard to make such an evaluation and that is why we have also added the other trad grading system, where an R added, stands for Risk for injury.

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The China Glide 9a by Graham Owens (16)

The China Glide 9a by Graham Owens (16)

Graham Owens has done The China Glide 9a at Rumney which is a link-up of China Beach and Livin' Astro. "Months of dedication for one moment of perfect execution. All worth it. Feels so surreal to climb a 9th grade route, now time to dream bigger!"

So how was those months of dedication?
It was a pretty big mental battle for me. I thought I’d be able to send without too much trouble, as I knew the sections of the route quite well. However, I struggled a lot with skin, conditions, and staying motivated after a lot of reverse progress. I set my high point (the finishing jump move to the arete) in June, matched it once in July, and finally took it down now in September. But that just made the send even more special!

Could you please describe the route?
The route is a linkup of the two best routes at the cliff, China Beach (8c) and Livin’ Astro (8c+). China Beach is very resistant and sustained, with barely any places to chalk up or clip. After climbing basically all of that route, you have to do a 7B+ boulder problem to traverse into Livin Astro. This boulder is not so bad in isolation, but it has one rose move that’s very hard to do when you’re pumped. After sticking the move you jump to a nice jug where you can recover pretty well. Then there’s the mental crux, a committing 7C or 7C+ boulder problem (maybe a bit easier for tall climbers) that’s shared with Livin Astro. It revolves around a mono-stack hold, which you have to grab perfectly in order to jump way outright to a prominent arete feature. Sticking this move and holding the swing is a pretty amazing feeling, and then you just have two easy moves to clip the chains.

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Adam Ondra won the Arco Rock Master Combination by winning the KO Boulder and getting third in the Duel.

Adam Ondra winning Arco Rock Master

Adam Ondra won the Arco Rock Master Combination by winning the KO Boulder and getting third in the Duel.

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Ghisolfi Bibliographie 9b+ interview

Ghisolfi Bibliographie 9b+ interview

Stefano Ghisolfi, who just secured the overall Lead World Cup, comments on his recent ascent of Bibliographie, which he gave a personal 9b+ grade. Interestingly is that he projected it meanwhile placing 2 - 11 - 2 - 1 in the World Cup. After having done the it, he drove directly back to Arco where he won the Duel Speed run!

Please describe your project strategy during the 25 days? How you worked the crux and started to make links in combination how much you rested? How did you do all this in combination with the World Cup?
I started trying the route at the beginning of June. Then I stopped in July because of the world cup and started again at end of July/August for the whole month. Céüse is just 7 hours driving from Arco so I knew I could make different trips during the summer to try it, and this helps a lot to alternate days on the project, rest and training.

On the first days I started working on the moves, focusing on both cruxes, without focusing too much on the very first part and on the very last part. Then when I could climb the cruxes, I started trying to low-point the route, which means starting from a certain point on the route and trying to go to the top. First I could do it starting from the beginning of the second crux, then just a few holds before. On my second trip, I could do it starting from the second rest (after the first crux), and on my third trip I was able to climb it from the beginning of crux 1 to the top, and this was the biggest step. I tried few times trying it from the first rest to the top but never actually did it from there because when I felt it was possible I started trying it from the ground. The world cup was in July so I simply focused on competition and training for that month and started trying again after my victory in Briancon, which is quite close to Céüse.

How did you mentally prepare yourself before climbing and during the send. What goes through your mind?
During the day of the send I was already thinking I had to come back, it rained a bit and seemed a bad day. But fortunately, it was the last day so I had to try it and turned out to be the best day. I had no expectations and just tried hard, probably if that wasn't the last day I wouldn't even had to go up to the crag considering the weather. 10 days before the end of the trip it was very hot to climb there, so I decided to drive to Briancon to train on the lead world cup wall, in order to rest the skin, the legs but while keep training for both the route and the last stage of the world cup, and this helped me a lot, physically and mentally.

Please describe the cruxes and how hard they are?
The first crux is 4 moves 8A+: a left far gaston, match, a painful 2 finger pocket where I could fit 3, and a long move to a sharp crimp. The hardest for me was to match the gaston, which I did with inverted hands compared to Alex. The second crux is a bit easier, 7C, but is way higher on the route, so I was more pumped there. I did a very different beta from Alex, every hold he took with the left hand I used with the right hand, and the last two holds are the same with the same hands. I think my beta is a bit easier, I tried Alex's one but you need to be a bit taller to feel comfortable on it. The hardest two moves are to go to a slopey pinch (which other climbers don't take as a pich, I'm the only one), and to match close to a left undercling, where I risked to fall during the send attempt.

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Den Truda 8A+ by Irina Kuzmenko

Den Truda 8A+ by Irina Kuzmenko

Irina Kuzmenko, #3 in the Euro Bouldering Championship in 2019, has done Alexey Rubtsov's Den Truda 8A+ in Lietlahti Park. Just the last four months the Russian has done ten boulder 8A to 8B and she is #6 in the ranking game.

How was the process of taking that highball down and how does this fit into preparing for the World Championships?
It took 4 sessions. 1st session was about 10 mins to realize that this one is impossible. 2nd was about 10 mins again because I was bored and there are no boulders for me around. The 3rd one was about 30 mins before it started to be rainy and on the 4th I did it! Donno definitely but maybe around 7 meters and the slab top out with tones of moss.

And yep, we training hard before WCH right now and are happy that still, we are able to climb outside :)

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Inferno 9a by Marco Müller

Inferno 9a by Marco Müller

Marco Müller, who two weeks ago did his first 9a+, has done Inferno 9a in Gimmelwald. (c) Rockvision

"After "Schwarz Mönch" (9a+) I hopped on one of the last remaining routes at the crag. It took me two sessions last week to climb it. But I already knew all the parts, as it's a combination of "Jungfraumarathon" and "Gimmelexpress" which I both climbed two years ago."

What is next?
I haven't started any new climbing projects. But I'll begin with my masters' thesis (Mechanical engineering) soon, so I probably won't be climbing much this fall anyway.

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Dreamcatcher 9a by Paige Claassen

Dreamcatcher 9a by Paige Claassen

Paige Claassen has done her fourth 9a and the first female ascent of Chris Sharma's classic Dreamcatcher in Squamish. (c) Arjan de Kock

Could you please tell us about the process started already seven years, as you mentioned on Insta?
I first tried seven years ago, for about a month. By the end of the month, I could do all the moves and link a few moves together, but that was about it. I haven't thought about it much for the last seven years, as I've had plenty of other things to focus on. But I'd always wanted to return to Squamish to try again when it fit into my schedule and I felt well prepared. This season felt like the right time, so I made it happen. But I wouldn't say Dreamcatcher was always on my mind over the last seven years.

I've spent the last few years trying routes that are more my "anti style" - steep, physical, dynamic routes. I want to be a well rounded climber, so it's important to me that I focus on my weaknesses in order to do routes that won't come as easily to me. I believe all these routes helped lead me to a place where I was prepared for Dreamcatcher, although that wasn't the intention in choosing those routes. Prior to my Squamish trip, I trained specifically for Dreamcatcher for two months - I set some simulators, made sure my shoulders were strong, and that my body felt fresh and uninjured.

How do you rank the route quality wise?
As for the quality - it’s of course a stunning line, probably one of the most beautiful I’ve had the opportunity to climb. I especially like that there are four distinct styles throughout - slab, campus rail on slopers, pin scar crack, and technical boulder at the top.

What are otherwise the hardest routes and boulders you have done in 2021?
I've tried a few hard routes in 2021, in particular All You Can Eat (9a+) at Mt Potosi and Empath (9a+) in Tahoe but haven't succeeded on them. Since projecting is what I enjoy most, I often spend a lot of time working a route without sending.

What is next?
Next up is spending some time not caring if my fingers get wet - playing in the lakes in Squamish, maybe some easier multi pitches for fun. After I do a big project, I like to spend some time not focusing so strongly on an objective.

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Zelenputza 9a+ and Santo Celedon 9a by Alex Garriga

Zelenputza 9a+ and Santo Celedon 9a by Alex Garriga

Alex Garriga, who the last week did three 9a's in Ilarduia, has done Santa Celedo 9a and Zelenputza 9a+. The latter he calls, ”The best of the best”. Both routes are link-ups of previous routes he did. During nine days, he did nine routes 8b+ to 9a+ in Ilarduia.

How often do you take rest days, being able to do that many hard routes in so short time?
In other places where the access is easy, I usually climb between 3-7 days in a row. Here the approach is 45 min going uphill in the sun. Much harder than the walk up to Céüse, in my opinion. Being lazy, I had to change my strategy because the access to the wall is very tiring so I did three climbing days followed by a rest day.

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