Arabella Jariel, who earlier this winter has flashed her first 7C+, has done Collateral Impact 8A (+) in Gunks.(c) Jennie Jariel
"I first tried Collateral in January, but I didn’t start projecting it seriously until early this month. Although I figured out most of the moves early on, it took me four sessions to finally piece it all together. My first few attempts today felt terrible, and I couldn't even stick the crux move in isolation. Had one decent go from the bottom, so I decided to just go for it. By some miracle, I stuck the crux and found myself at the top."
Please say something about your climbing background?
I’ve been climbing for over 12 years, but I mostly focused on competitions. With COVID and having recently moved closer to outdoor areas, I’ve gotten the chance to find some projects on real rock.
Dave Graham reports on Insta that he has done First Ley 9a+ in Margalef. This high class route was put up by Chris Sharma and is an easier left exit to First Round First Minute 9b. (c) Andrew Pawlby
Did you find any new kneebars?
For my beta I only use one new kneebar that Jorge (Diaz-Rullo) found. But I cant really put it in the same way as Jorge so it was helpful but not enough hahaha.
Theres a very key hold that broke off in the crux which makes it definitely harder. It was the horizontal crimp you jumped too in all the famous photos. Its completely gone, now theres just a diagonal slopey edge. So there may be a new kneebar but we are missing a key hold haha!!!
"At the end of the sesh I did the last boulder of FR from the rest to the anchor feeling solid, so now I’m super motivated to go back give it some proper burns!! Felt great in La Capella and Furia de Jabali the past couple of days, the two other 9b’s I want to do, so finally feeling some momentum behind my climbing after what seems like a lot of months of trying really hard with very little progress 🙌🏻"
In a previous Insta post, the 39-year-old has stated that ten years ago he could not do any of the moves om FRFM. Dave did Action Directe as his first 9a in 2001 and since he has been one of the leading rock climbers in the world. Last year, he did his first-ever 9b, and in total he has done some 25 routes 9a and harder. He has also done some 20 8C boulders.
Matt Fultz, who did his first 8C less than two years ago, has done his 15th, Pegasus in Joe's Valley. Add to that two 8C+'s, and the 29-year-old late bloomer is a rather superior #1 in the 8a ranking game.
How many sessions did it take?
Pegasus took 3 sessions. One is way-too-hot conditions, one with great conditions but I split my tip, then sent 1st go on my 3rd session.
How has Covid-19 affected your climbing life?
Covid has affected my climbing pretty dramatically. We’ve moved into a 35 feet long RV so we can travel as safely while still staying “at home”. Also, since competitions have been pretty much dead, I’ve been able to get outside more days than ever before, which has been a giant blessing. I’m not sure I’ll ever want to do comps again!
How can you explain being able to step up your game so significantly?
Honestly, I think a lot of my progress has come from my nutrition. My wife, Hailey, is a nutrition coach for climbers. She has guided me on a nutrition journey that has been life changing. It’s been excellent for my recovery, energy, and longevity.
Are you fully professional now?
My wife and I own a strength and nutrition coaching company called Off the Ground. Besides that I am lucky to be on salary with a few brands.
Clément Lechaptois has flashed Heritage 8B (+) in Valle Bavona. It was put up as an 8B+ and in the 8a data base, half of the 18 ascents have actually called in 8B+. The 27-year-old has previously done three 8C's and flashed six 8A's.What kind of beta and preparation did you use?
I watched some videos before going to the boulder. Then I watched Marine and Diego trying the problem and Giul gave me the methods he did.
Dru Mack, who previously has done six 8c+'s, has done Life of Villains 9a in Hurricave which was put up by Joe Kinder.
"I first climbed the ending piece to this route last year, with Flight of The Conchords. I moved here this winter to work at a new climbing gym and just climb a TON. Living here gave me the opportunity to try on and off since about January. A lot of days spread out over those 3 months though! Over the last few weeks, I got a lot more consistent at falling off the last crux. Even falling in the last moves multiple times in a day. The day it came together felt like one of those flow days that everything feels effortless! Jonathan Siegrist came out for the last little bit. Having his energy and support was super helpful! I followed it up with ‘86’d’ (8c) and ‘Killer Z’ (8b+). My best day ever! (c) Tradisplaid
What is your climbing background?
I grew up climbing in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky since I was like 12 years old. I lived in my van at Miguel’s as soon as I had a drivers license ha! Over the last few years, I’ve been pursuing climbing full time! I’ve been able to travel a lot more and just trying to do the hardest sport routes I can!
You did your first 7c+ at age 17 and then your scorecard shows rather slow and steady progress, including a wide pyramid?
Ya, I guess so! Building a pyramid really helps with confidence. I’m excited to not have a BIG project for a little bit and keep climbing lots of routes!
Nolwen Berthier has done La théorie des cordes 8c in St Léger. "I have always wanted to do it even if the bottom does not fit my style. I challenge myself to do this route while trying my big project and I decided not to focus on that route. The process would have been faster with another strategy … But the bet was won! To be honest, I don't really know how many session because it was not my main project and I tried it always at the end of the day."
Until 2018, when she was #14 in the Briancon WC, her focus was competitions. During the last year, the 27-year-old has done five 8c's and two 8c+'s and her long term project is Supercrackinette 9a+.
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