Pepa Sindel, 16, ticks Victimes del Futur (9a)

Pepa Šindel has completed Victimes del futur (9a) in Margalef.

Can you tell us more about your trip and Victimes del Futur?
Six years ago, my parents decided to change their jobs, and this allowed us to travel to Spain for six months to climb. I was 10 years old at the time and basically just started climbing. I remember Siurana - my first 7a+ PP, then 7c in Santa Linya and especially Margalef. I'd say that this trip made climbing my passion.

Spring school break 2024! Clear choice - Margalef, six climbing days. I set a clear goal for myself. Something in the royal sector of El Racó de La Finestra in difficulty 8c+ to 9a. The first choice fell on the legendary route Víctimes del Futur. A route with a long history, with changes in difficulty, well described on Vertical-life.

Right after the first try, I understood that it would be a very difficult task. 20 meters of endurance climbing 8b+ to a good rest was no problem for me. Then it starts to tighten and I couldn't do the final crux even after resting on the rope. I knew that the boulder has two ways of solving, directly over the small crimp and slightly to the left through the one mono and the two finger pocket. The next day I managed to climb the boulder in a direct way, with the crimp.

For the next two climbing days, I made attempts and each time I fell in the boulder. Depressive. I could fall over and over here. So I decided to change the beta and try to use the mono and the two fingers. In this way, I felt that I was simply small, I lacked two or three centimeters to reach a good pocket. But dad kept yelling at me from below: change your legs, adjust your position.

And therein lay the trick. Right leg high, turn the left leg correctly. And suddenly I did the boulder separately, several times in a row. A day of rest followed. And it rained...rain after seven months of drought. And it rained a lot, most of the roads were wet, the hills were flooded.

However, it proved just how good a choice Víctimes del Futur was. The only route with a somewhat dry climb in the sector. I dried the wet holes in the technical climb near the top and went for a sharp attempt... I run the lower part, tackle the boulder and did it! Just a good rest and finish for some 7b, 7b+. Final runout was a heart attack, especially for my mom. Because my foot slipped on a wet hold and I was left hanging for a while on finger pockets. But, I didn't let it go and fought to the max.

Conrad Piper-Ruth does his first 8B+ at age 38

Conrad Piper-Ruth has repeated Matt Fultz’ Hypothetical (8B+) at Swan Falls. Conrad has climbed four 8B's previously and he did his first at age 36.

Can you tell us more about doing your first 8B+ boulder at age 38?
I grew up in Boise, Idaho and have been climbing for the past 24 years. In my late teens, I embraced the dirtbag lifestyle—living out of my car/tent and seeking out the world’s premier climbing areas. Climbing was life. Then I hit my 30s, started working a desk job, and had a series of injuries. For awhile, I thought my days of climbing at my prior limits were past me. Then I moved back to Boise and realized there were plenty of old guys still crushing it (Mike McClure). I changed up my training to focus more on injury prevention and quit my desk job. This allowed me to dedicate more time to harder projects and push through previous plateaus.

Hypothetical first came on my radar as a potential project after my buddies (Mike McClure and Taylor Kiley) started working it. Their sends got me psyched to start trying it and commit to the projecting process. I spent a total of nine days working it, until I finally built up the power endurance to keep the body tension and take it to the top. Hoping to keep riding this send train well into my 40s.

“What an opportunity to discover a place like this! PEN-HIR! La Bretagne! Climbing above the ocean with so much atmosphere is not something I'm used to. I love being able to repeat these historic routes, which by the way, are sometimes tricky, with a rock type dependent on the weather conditions. I …

Daniel Woods makes the FA of Adrenaline (8C+)

Daniel Woods, who last week made the first repeat of Drew Ruana's Freak Show (8C), reports on Instagram that he has done the FA of Adrenaline. (c) Bobby Sorich

The 33-year-old has now completed 50 boulders 8C and harder including the FA of Return of the Sleepwalker (9A). He has also won one Boulder World Cup and completed roughly ten 9a+ graded routes.

Taylor Kiley boulders 8B+ while fighting Lyme disease

Taylor Kiley did Hypothetical (8B+) at Swan Falls, last month. Initially, we got in contact with Conrad Piper-Ruth, who did this same boulder as his first 8B+ at age 39, but he graciously chose to shine more light on Taylor's incredible story rather than his own impressive ascent.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you've been involved in climbing?
I'm 30 years old. I grew up climbing in Idaho, and have been coaching for 10+ years! My climbing background is mostly outdoor bouldering in Idaho, I rarely gym climb. I also grew up with Lyme disease, which has been a constant battle in my climbing career.

How has this disease impacted your climbing?
Tough question to answer shortly, it has been the biggest impact of my entire life. Constant severe pinched nerves, osteoporosis, 20+ fractured bones, permanent broken fingers for multiple years. Cognitive issues, severe Hyperacusis, severe inflammation, arthritis, chronic fatigue, insomnia, heart issues, organ pain, severe migraines, the list goes on.

Ultimately Lyme's has been my greatest teacher, it's taught me how to heal/prevent traumatic injuries all over my body, eat correctly, & maintain an extremely positive & forward thinking attitude. Sometimes my window of climbing at my limit is only a few months out of the year because of all the injuries compounding. I have to find these really small windows where my body allows me to climb hard without nerves pinching, muscles tearing etc... It has been like this since I was a kid. It used to be very depressing & debilitating. I'm very lucky.

When I was a kid, my dream was to climb a v14. when I was 17 I was told I would never climb again, and end up in a wheelchair by 25.

When did you get infected?
I got it from a tick bite, when I was 6 years old. I wasn't diagnosed till I was 16 or 17. By that time I was so sick I wasn't't even able to do much. I couldn't even put my hand around a door knob and close my fist.

How much have you been able to train during the last years?
Especially in the past 5 years, It feels like at any moment something could break, tear, or get pinched. I feel like I'm listening to my body with a condenser microphone or an internal stethoscope. Oftentimes I can only do a few attempts on my project. If I do a full session, I could for sure get injured & maybe have to take 3 months off to heal. I became very good at flashing and day flashing as a result.

I'm constantly weary about getting injured, so the biggest thing that I knew had to improve if I wanted to climb "Hypothetical" or a v14 in general, was to figure out a way to increase my durability of my body!

I've never been able to train, like period. Anytime I tried to train I would immediately get injured. The only training I can do is preventative injury exercises, I do very thorough dynamic warm-ups, static hangs from the hangboard, & climb a ton outside really gently. Lots of heat therapy & acupuncture too. To be honest I spend a lot of my day just laying in bed in pain.

The way I've been able to train is by coaching, coaching motivates me to get out of my bed to do something with my life, Lyme disease can ultimately kill you if you lay in bed too long, it'll make its way to the brain and cause inflammation. Which, is why coaching has been so important. I probably wouldn't leave my bed most days without it. Teaching movement has taught me movement as well. Finding the path of least resistance through moves, instead of being stronger than the move. Having great precision and accuracy, learning how to execute under high pressure, while maintaining confidence and great positivity. I do a considerable amount of mental visualization, which is where most of my hours go into training. Honestly my training has mostly been purely teaching, visual, and finding ways to motivate belief in myself. That has been my biggest mechanism for training.

How many hours do you normally train in a month?
Short answer, I usually spend half the year climbing & half the year recovering from injuries! In a normal week when I'm not injured, maybe 2-3 hours, [but] oftentimes zero. I warm up really thoroughly every day like I'm about to climb and then don't! I'll go out and watch Conrad on the boulder, or my friend Mike & Tammy project things. I just immerse myself mentally in movement throughout the week. [I] Probably climb 4 hours over 2 weeks.

That being said when I'm not climbing, I'm still mentally climbing through other people, I continue going out watching my friend's project very closely. I'll help clean new lines build landings or just sit and watch. I'll just go out, walk around, sit in front of a boulder, and pretend to climb it for a while, while manically filling my brain with thoughts and impressions on why I CAN do the boulder. I see myself doing the boulder in my head so much I eventually I conjure it into reality.

What type of injuries have you had and how often do you have to battle them?
Last year specifically I had around 6 severe pinched nerves, I couldn't even leave my bed sometimes, at times I would crawl to the bathroom literally. I tore this extremely low AB muscle while projecting, that took about half a year to get in control of. A left lateral ligament strain/tear on my middle finger, bad inflammation all over & especially in the spine. Carpal tunnel in my left wrist (flares up and down). Increased heart issues and swelling. Severe strain of my groin ext...

Not really anyone except my close friends and family know about this, I've always been paranoid about people looking strangely, or down at me for being sick. But after doing this boulder, it might help people to know that the impossible can be possible! If you create an ecosystem in your life for success, confidence, health, & positive growth, you can create an opportunity to overcome your life goals.

Domen Škofic does 8c+ x5 in St Léger

Domen Škofic has been on a four week “solo” trip to Saint Léger, where he did 17 routes 8b to 8c+, including two onsights. (c) Jan Novak

The five hardest, for the overall World Cup winner in 2016, were; L'idéal chimérique (8c+), Le concept intégrale (8c+), Go Green Gringo (8c+), La ligne claire (8c+) and L'Enfumette (8c+).

Which route did you like the most and which did cause you most problem?
My favorite route I’ve done on the whole trip was “Le concept integrale”. I’ve spent two tries to equip this monster line with draws and to clean the top part but then I had so much fun on it that I was able to send it the next try after a huge fight. I liked it because I love long routes, it has a unique crux at the top where you have to throw your feet above your head and I think it’s also one of the most natural routes in SL.

Most of the routes I was able to send on my second, third or fourth try only L’ideal Chimerique I came close to my limit because I was underestimating it and I always tried it at the end of the day and I got to pumped.

The only route I came to my limit of 6 tries was Supercrackinette (9a+) and it was very tempting to try it more because it was [looking] very promising to send it quick but at the same time it could take me many more tries because I wasn’t solid enough on the last move and I would need to be quite lucky to get the last micro crimp perfectly…

Can you explain more about what you said on Instagram prior to the trip: “On the road 🇫🇷 solo mission, meet new people and climb great routes.
Haha, yeah it’s awesome to do solo trips. I started doing this because I’ve always used too much energy getting people pumped up for a certain trip and at one point I realized that people that are actually psyched to climb at the crag I want to go are already there. … and meeting new people is anyway one of the best ways to learn in life not just climbing, I love it :)

I talked to people a little bit in advance of course. Before coming to SL I talked to Jules Marchaland and he recommended me to his friend that climbs a lot in the area. From there on I met new people and so it was never hard to climb with somebody cool every day :)

What are your next plans?
For 2024 plans I can’t really say because I’m really just following my instinct at the moment. The next trip will be to Villanueva del Rosario to finally try Chilam Balam (9b). I’ve been dreaming to try this route since I first saw videos about it.

Amandine Loury sends La Ligne Claire (8c+) along with an 8c

Amandine Loury has, in the same day, done La ligne claire (8c+) and Les petits chefs du néant (8c) in Saint Léger. (c) Jean-Luc Jeunet

La ligne she had been trying for several years. After the send she decided to also try Les petits which she worked on one year ago.

I always have been passionate about the rock, even when I was competing. In 2012 I decided to stop competition and to spend all my free time on the rock. I’m sport teacher close to Saint léger du ventoux and Buoux. I practice rock climbing 3-4 times per week and this is the main training I really do. I’m very lucky to live in this amazing area, surrounded by world-class crags.”