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.
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.
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.
Roch Oddo has done Unendliche Geschichte 1+2+3 9a in Magic Woods. It is a seven-bolt extension to the boulder Never Ending Story 8B+ and also 8C has been suggested although clipping into a rope. Previously Roch has only done an 8b route as his focus is bouldering, where he has done several 8B's. (c) Samuel Tour
"I started trying this boulder last summer with the intention of only doing part 2, but realising how perfect the line was I immediately started to work on the low start. I did the 8b+ on my second trip (with a really uncommon toe hook beta on the crux). It felt like unfinished business to stop on the rest and the route is the better exit to me. So I started working on endurance and went back once more to finish it. I spent about 6 weeks on it in total and finished it right as my last year of med school is starting, which will represent a huge switch from the climbing focused lifestyle I could live till now. All in all, it just comes as a perfect ending to a really nice chapter of my life"
How was it to tackle the this endurance challenge?
It is really hard to get into it, but once you learn to enjoy the pump it's actually not that bad. I would advice every bouldering specialist to at least give it one serious training cycle, it is an acquired taste for sure. I did have some trouble going back into bouldering mode for the first part again, if I could start again I would have kept a little more max strenght into my regime. The training worked wonders tho, I went to the top the first time I got to the rest (after failing twice 2 moves into the route completly pumped on the previous trip). I think the right balance between burly bouldering strenght and a minimal level of endurance is one of the big challenge on this one.
Gianluca Vighetti, who previously in 2021 has done 12 onsights 8a and harder, has become the first-ever 12-year-old to have done a 9a, TCT in Gravere. Stefano Ghisolfi did the FA in 2014 (at age 21), calling it his hardest route ever. " I want to dedicate this route to Tito Traversa (that's why I called TCT), because I want everybody will remember him forever. The start is in common with his last hard realization Pablo Diretta 8b+, he was impressive on it. Thanks to Valter Vighetti for suggesting to try this route."
Interestingly, Gianluca has previously explained where he learnt to speak English. "Watching climbing videos on YouTube. My favourite climbing Channel is Stefano Ghisolfi, his English is very good."
"TCT is a link of L’extremacura 8c and Base jump 8b+ with a partial rest in between. After I made Extrema cura plus 8c+, I tried Base jump 8b+, the second part of TCT. Immediately I thought that it wasn’t exactly my route because it’s short, bouldery and full of huge moves. When I sent it I immediately tried the 9a by doing two tries, but I fell on the 8c. For around 10 tries I always fell after the rest before the 8b+, because I wasn’t able to rest correctly. Then July came and it was too hot, so I left the project for two months.
I went to Arco and to La Saume on holiday and after all this, I came back to try the route. The first try after I came back, I fell in the last crux, a huge move between a two finger pocket and a good crimp. The day after I fell in the last move to a jug on the edge. After doing two days of rest, today I finally made it."
It should be mentioned that 12-year-old Andrea Chelleris did Puro Dreaming this summer but based on down grading suggestions, it should be considered 8c+/9a now.
Michaela Kiersch reports on Insta with a great picture by Boone Speed that she has done the first female ascent of Super Tweak 8c in Logan Canyon, Video.
How do you balance your climbing with your OT doctoral studies in hand therapy?
It’s challenging to find the balance. My climbing has definitely suffered since starting my doctorate but I’ve learned to be more patient with myself and make time when I can. The amount of climbing and training I can do every week varies depending on my school work. Some weeks I hardly climb at all, especially during exams. But sometimes I can prioritize climbing in between classes and assignments. I’m on a 2-week break right now, so it’s been nice to climb more often.
When did you start your doctoral studies, when will you finish and does it relate to climbing?
It’s been over 2 years and I’ll graduate at the end of April. Yes, I hope to work with climbers!
by 8a Founder and Editor-in-Chief Jens Larssen including also Analyses, Reviews, Training, Polls and Opinions etc.
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