Two 8c+' by Rafa Fanega (42)  (1) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureRafa Fanega, who started climbing at 16 and did his first 8c+ being 39 years old, has done another two 8c+' the last week, El engaño and the FA of Maldita envidia both in Villanueva del Rosario. The 163 cm tall and 42 years old has now done nine 8c+'.

In total, Rafa has recorded 1 679 routes, out of which one third are FAs. Most of his FAs are from Fin del Mundo outside Madrid, which has been one of the most popular crags in Spain recently, although it is closed between January 15th to June 15th. The picture by Raul Santano is from Fin del Mundo. Interview by our spanish editor Talo Martin.

Do you think this could be the season to climb your first 9a?
To be honest I don't know. My life is bolt routes somewhere here and somewhere there. I climb as much as I bolt new routes, and in this way it is hard to be focus in something hard. The days I climb something hard is always without any expectations. I work 121 days a year and that gives me loads of free time, and with so much rock I don't rest too much.

Have you any idea of how many routes do you bolted?
I think that more than 1.000, but I guess I should count them. Since the day I live in Andalusia I don't know.. It's true that I could have bought a pretty nice camper van with the money I spent in the last decade. Always there are friends who help you with some bolts and hangers and I appreciate that. For me bolting is important as climbing.

8C FA again by Christof Rauch  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureChristof Rauch has done his third 8C FA in just eleven days, Carinthian Dreams in Kärnten. Prior to these amazing sending days that have made him #1 in the 8a ranking game, he had done 450 boulders 8A to 8B+/C basically in just four years. The picture shows his wide pyramid. Interview with the full time technician who got his first sponsor just some months ago.

"Oh my god! Seems like I'm in the best shape ever! This is the hardest and one of the best problems I've ever done. It links the crackline (~8A+) into "Punching in a Dream" (~8B+). I've never put so much effort in a boulderproblem, all in all it took me about 17 sessions. Got really lucky with todays windy and pretty cold conditions. Compared to all the other hard boulders I've done/tried I would say it sits probably on the upper range of the grade. Just happy now!" (c) Simon Brunner

Jernej Kruder does 2:nd ascent of Sharma's Es Pontas  Facebook

8C FA again by Christof Rauch  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureChristof Rauch has done his second 8C FA the last ten days by Styrian Delirium in Weststeiermark. The 23 year old Austrian, who is working full time and got his first sponsor just some months ago, is the one who has done most 8A's and harder the last three years, 300+. He is also the new #1 in the 8a ranking game.

"F**k yessss!! Feels like we have some low gravity days. Felt so much stronger on those moves. Amazing progression from dreaming about climbing this whole line and eventually doing it. Honestly this is not the best line but it connects the two coolest problems in the cave, "The Unnamed Ungraded" 8B, about 15 moves, into the 19 moves of "Sound in Motion" 8B. With the little rest in between this thing climbs more like a route than a boulder. Definitely feels harder than all the other really long boulders I've done. All together it took me around 15 sessions."

The picture is from the FA of Traumata 8A+ which he put up this Thursday. In total, the Austrian has done 16 FAs 8A amd harder the last seven weeks.

9a onsight again by Alex Megos  (16) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureAlex Megos, who did the first ever 9a onsight four years ago, reports on Facebook that he has done it again and this time in Gravere. The name of route is TCT which was put up by Stefano Ghisolfi, who commented, "I want to dedicate this route to Tito Claudio Traversa (that's why I called TCT), because I want everybody will remember him forever." TCT is chipped link-up of an 8c and an 8b+ but it was not Stefano who chipped it.

Adam Ondra has also onsighted it before and is one ahead of Megos with three 9a onsights. Amazing is however that Megos has onsighted 100 % of the 9a's he has tried to onsight.

Wow! How was it? How many 9a's have you tried to onsight but failed?
It was great! Kinda funny because I didn't expect it at all. I felt really bad warming up, got pumped very fast on the warmup routes and felt my finger a little bit which is normally a sign that I climbed a little bit too much too soon. So first I thought I will not try it at all but then got talked into it and decided to just give it a go.

It was anyway a totally unplanned thing that we ended up at Gravere. We were planning on going somewhere else but then the evening before Stefano's car didn't work anymore so we had to find someone to go climbing. Marcello Bombardi said he was going to Gravere so we went with him.

At the crag they told me that there is a 9a here that Adam onsighted a couple of years back so they were really excited and told me I should try it. Despite feeling not very good I thought I might as well just give it a go. And then it worked out!
I'm not totally sure but I think that was the first 9a I really tried to climb onsight.

It never worked out for me that I had a proper chance to try it. In the Frankenjura I've done already everything and it's super hard to onsight routes, and then all the other times I climbed a 9a either there were no quickdraws in or no chalk or I just bailed. So I ended up never really preparing and trying."

8b under the radar by Margarita Martinez (58)  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureClick to Enlarge PictureMargarita Martinez, a former ballet dancer who came to USA from Puerto Rico at 16 years old, started climbing at 34 years old. Having had many injuries, health problems and also working hard baking wedding cakes she stopped climbing having reached 7c+ due to Rheumatoid Arthritis (see picture) for four years until she was 49 years old. At 53, having done several 7c+' again she decided to start pushing harder.

Margarita started to focus on pull-ups and also pushing hard on the Maxi-pull endurance hang board until she got a new serious shoulder injury. The doctor suggested a replacement which should have meant stopping climbing. With a magic therapy she recovered again and having done four 8a+'s, she did Whole Shot 8b in Maple Canyon last year which originally was 8b+. (c) Edwin Teran

Now she has made great progress on two 8b+ projects but once again she has gotten a serious health problem due to a spinal fracture. "Getting old sucks but you make lemonade with all the lemons of life." Climbing less for the moment she is focusing more on her new business, Drypointe, which is a small ball that will dry out the smell and bacteria from your shoes.

How is it possible that your amazing story has not been picked up by the climbing media?
Not sure, I guess I don't advertise myself. Some people like to kiss and tell but not me I climb because I love it. The grade or notoriety is not important to me. I don't want to be defined by climbing. I want to be defined by a good person to others, a good mother/wife and a good human.Trainingbeta has done a podcast interview with me.

GriGri and GriGri+ presentation and comparison  Facebook

Barbara Zangerl - The world's best female rock climber  (8) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureClick to Enlarge PictureTen years ago, Barbara Zangerl was one of the very best female boulderers in the world. In 2009, she got an herniated vertebral disc which made her stop bouldering. Including two 8c+'s and several 8c's she is also nowadays among the best in sportclimbing and the same goes for trad, where she recently did an 8c FA, Gondo Crack. Even so, multi-pitches should be her best discipline and here she the #1 female, here the full very impressive tick list. The good news is that she is now fully recovered from her back injury and last week she was a superior winner in the Melloblocco.

"The injury is still there. It is a broken disc. On the MRI pictures it looks still bad but I think I am totally recovered which means I have no more pain. But of course if do a lot of bouldering, jumping down from the blocs---then it comes back, I feel pain and I have to rest. I'm always doing a lot of bouldering in our home gym, especially in winter. There we have extra soft pads where I can train without any risk of hurting my back--- while jumping off the wall."

What is your plan and ambition for 2017?
My focus will be on bigger walls....I love alpine and big wall climbing....and maybe I can push my sport climbing limit a bit further--we will see. But in general I get the best out of climbing if i combine all styles of climbing....that is my way to stay motivated all over the years and I love it to do trad alpine and sport....and a bit of bouldering...

This summer I want to climb in Chamonix....I never have been there before....or I would be also interested to climb a route on Eiger, if the weather is good this summer.....In Autumn we will go to Yosemite again....
8a interview from 2015. (c) Thomas Senf & Klaus Dell'Orto

The best of Greece beside Kalymnos  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureAris Theodoropoulos, who has made all Kalymnos topos, has just finished a new topo which covers the best of Greece. In total, 31 crags are presented in 435 pages also including over 1 000 routes in Leonidio. Just by looking at the map and the high number of high rated climbs, it should be on every climber's to do list to fly down to Athens and make a three week road trip (at least!) on the main land. Basically, this looks like the most weather proof winter destination in Europe as the stats says it very seldom rains and the average winter temperature is 10 degrees.

More info on Climb Greece where you also can buy it for Euro 40. The topo is produced together with Vertical-Life which means their App guide is included.

Zangerl and Gullsten win Melloblocco  Facebook

The 14th Melloblocco ended on Sunday May 14th with the presence of 2700 registered athletes and exitmated 6000 climbers reaching the valley.
Melloblocco is the widely recognized bouldering event with the most participants in the world. Held in Val Masino 100 km north of Milan, Italy, takes the name from “Mello” and “Blocco”: Mello is a lateral valley of Val Masino, and blocco means boulder. Unique for a competition, Melloblocco is held on real rock with new competition boulders every year. Val Masino offer, still, unlimited possibilities of new boulders all of them easily accessible.

In the competition, there were 12 boulders to do and Barbara Zangerl was superior by doing eleven up to 8A. Among the male, Anthony Gullsten won ahead of Jorg Verhoeven by counting the number of flashes. It should be mentioned that Alex Megos did his ten in just three days. More info (c) Klaus del Orto

1. Barbara Zangerl 11 (6) - Anthony Gullsten 11 (4)
2. Lara Neumeier 7 (1) - Jorg Verhoeven 11 (2)
3. Madeleine Eppensteiner 6 - Alex Megos (10) 1

O-Key also a Safety First innovation  (18) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureSome twenty years ago, an Italian World Cup climber fell to the ground and injured himself badly, as he had not tightened his bowline knot. Directly afterwards IFSC made it mandatory to use the eight knot during comps. At the same time, in every WC competition there is a problem to untie the knot that sometimes results in 1 - 2 minutes delay.

The O-Key device solves this problem by squeezing it in the knot before climbing. Back on the ground you just take the it out and untie will become much simpler. Possibly IFSC will make it mandatory to use on World Cups.

On the other hand, the O-Key is in fact also a Safety First innovation because by squeezing it in, it is like confirming that you have finished your eight knot. Most us have forget this once or have had friends who have forgotten it and in some cases it has resulted in bad injuries. Most of us re-check the knot high up on the route and with the "Safety First" device, all these guys will feel more comfortable.

After having used it for some days in Kalymnos, I am very positive about it and possibly this is a game changer when it comes to safety. Once my belayer says, - On belay!, I check my knot answering with - Safety First! Having kids, I will make it mandatory for them to use it and it will be nice to pass it over to my friends, showing I care.

The O-Key or "Safety First" device is an invention by Albi Schneider, who ten years ago introduced the belay glasses to the market. He will present the O-Key at Outdoor in Friedrichshafen in June. Yesterday, he got the message that his O-Key made it to the finals where they are about to present the best new products of 2017. The price will be 4 or 5 Euros but Albi also plans to sell them in packages of five for Euro 10, so you can have a package in your rucksack and give away to friends.

The O-Key can also be used as your small stick opening your carabiner while going for a stick clip.

The straight forward Russian machine  (12) Facebook

Alexey Rubtsov started climbing at 17 years old and three years later he was the 2009 Boulder World Champion. This is the first year the Russian has been a full time climber due to more support from his federation, prize money and better sponsor deals with Mad Rock, Nihil and Russia Climbing. He started the season by doing his first 8C and he is #2 in the Boulder World Cup after he won the last event in Tokyo.

He has no coach and most of the time he trains by himself. "I climb mostly my boulders. I train 4-5 times in gym in week, 3 hours a day. More than last year. Sometimes I do body power training after climbing but mostly just bouldering, I like it. Yoga can kill you, running did not work. This is my opinion."

Talking about advantage of any starting positions and the new trend with slabs in the World Cup, he is equally outspoken. "Starting 1st in final and in semi are best. No pressure and better friction.

So many slabs this year. It seems like best climber is the one who can walk better along the wall. Slab and jump and jump on slab that is so far from rocks. I don't like it. I like more power boulders. Slopers and crimps on steep walls :) I hope we will see it this year!

This is the first year when I am a professional climber. I almost did not work, just trained. I spent more time thinking about the training process, I found several interesting techniques. Last year there was a new strongest team in bouldering (the Japanese), and I took it into account. I am very pleased with the strong rivals, they do not allow me to relax but to push for progress.

I'm training alone and making programs, but it's even more interesting, no one tells me what to do and I decide what's good for me. Honestly, going out for the season I did not know what to expect from myself this year I was more aiming for the whole season, and not for the first positions, as in the past. As a result, now I feel better than a year ago in the middle of the season." (c) Eddie Fowke - The Circuit Climbing

Ondra's new crimping style  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureAdam Ondra shares some great tips on his Instagram including also a indoor replica of his 9c project in Flatanger, where he is going next.

129 Climbing Gardens of the World  (25) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureVertical-Life is part of a great exhibition in Berlin featuring 129 Climbing Gardens of the World with stunning pictures. In the website presentation, there is a link to the 8a Tick List and some 8a statistics about each crag. It is truly a must to look at the pictures and get inspired planning your next trip.

They have also transported big rocks of all stone qualities that we are climbing on around the globe. You can also take a selfie where you climb in any of the most beautiful places in the world. Just after five days of the exhibition, almost 2 000 have taken the picture and overall, the estimate is for a couple million visitors.

Garnbret and Rubtsov win in Japan  Facebook

Click to Enlarge Picture1. Janja Garnbret 4t5 4b4 SLO - Alexey Rubtsov 3t8 4b13 RUS
2. Akiyo Noguchi 4t9 4b9 JPN - Tomoa Narasaki 3t9 4b10 JPN
3. Miho Nonaka 3t4 4b5 JPN - Keita Watabe 2t5 3b6 JPN
Complete results
Four Japanese on the podium and in the overal WC rankingl, four males are among Top-6 and two female among Top-4. A Japanese coach try to explain why they excel.

Besides the first 20 minutes in the female final, where all the athletes had flashed the first boulder and later the first four had hit the last hold on the first try, the final was once again an amazing show as all comps in 2017. Some might dislike the more parkour balance type of route setting mainly based on volumes but in the end it was exciting as you never know what can happen.

Among the females, all pressure was on Janja before she started on the last competitor on the last boulder knowing that she had to do it in a couple of tries. Yes, she did and in the end she looked superior. In the winning interview, Janja expressed that part of the reason why she is competing is because she like to be put under pressure.

Among the male, Narasaki had flashed two of his three tops and as the two guys before him had made it, everyone thought this was just going to be a walk in the park for him once again. Then Rubtsov, who had not flashed any of his three tops, did the last boulder on his third try, beating Narasaki with one top attempt. Once again, everyone thought that Watabe, the leader from the semi and also the last winner in China, would do it easily but no.

Not to be missed is the Ondra shoe and volume analyses he made three days ago which is presented below and to the right. (c) Eddie Fowke - The Circuit Climbing

Boulder World Cup qualifiers  (1) Facebook

The only surprise among the females in the Boulder World Cup in Hachioji, Japan, was that Margo Hayes did not make it to the semifinal Top-20 as well 15 Japanese failed. In total just four Japanese females made it through. Female results

Among the males, eight Japanese male were within the Top-15 and also five from France made it to the semi. The big guys that did not make it to the semi were: Kruder, Gelmanov, McColl, Hojer and Stranik.

Sunday Livestreaming GMT+9
09:00-11:15 Men and Women Semi-Finals
14:30-15:50 Women Finals
15:50-17:10 Men Finals
The Live streaming from the semi starts 02.00 Euro Time and the final 07.30.

The qualifiers were streamed live but only with Japanese commentators. Here is the link to the male live streaming.

Shoe technology and know-how is getting crucial  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureDuring the La Sportiva media days, we had a chance to talk to Adam Ondra and Pietro dal Pra in regards shoe technology and know-how. First of all, Pietro wanted to say that it is Luca Gabrielli from R & D who is the brain behind shoe construction "no climber could understand this because it is just too complicated."

As La Sportiva has so many shoes on the market that try to match the demand of different types of feet, skill, steepness, and holds, they have put together a vector diagram as well as table explaining how to choose. On the other hand, every climber is unique with a personal style and flexibility so La Sportiva can just give general advice.

Adam Ondra fills in saying that he has gone up half a size and just such a small change has had an impact on his climbing as the this allows him to use his toes more actively instead of just putting pressure on them. It relates to the angle his toes are shaped into and this is determined by the size. It should be mentioned that Adam now is using 38.5 which is like five sizes below his normal size.

Their message is somewhat that every top climber should spend a few hours reading and understanding all this shoe technology know-how, through the new La Sportiva catalog. Sure you will have to invest in some more shoes but then you will climb harder if you know which shoe to use specifically on each foot for each route. The next step is to take the knife and start adjusting the heal as Adam did for his Vasil vasil 9b+.

Ondra also used examples from the Boulder World Cup to explain different extremes. ""Sometimes there are slabs where you just stand on volumes, and you could actually climb them in normal sneakers. These boulders are all about putting as much rubber on as possible and what is most important is how flexible you are in the foot."

He also said that for him it is hard to understand why some of the top climbers on this type of boulder would use the same very tight shoes as you would for standing on micros on an overhang. "Tomoa is, on the other hand, using over-sized consumed shoes which tell us that he has super strong toes also."

Noteworthy is also that Adam, who is now 69 kg, almost always goes for No Edge when he goes for an onsight, as you do not have time to be ultra precise. When going for his hardest redpoints, lately he has been using a prototype of the new Miura XX which has just been released with his signature included. He also told us that he will go for the Olympic, "even if the format is stupid."

Third 8c+ in last 12 months by Rafa Fanega (42)  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureRafa Fanega has done MD MDA in Villanueva del Rosario, which was his third 8c+ in the last 12 months. Interestingly, he started climbing in 1991 and now at 42, the 163 cm Spaniard is in the best shape of his life. It is time to step it up to 9a!

In total, Rafa has recorded 1 674 routes, out of which one third are FAs. Most of his FAs are from Fin del Mundo outside of Madrid, which has been one of the most popular crags in Spain recently, although it is closed between January 15th and June 15th.

9a+ FA by Stefano Ghisolfi  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureStefano Ghisolfi has did his ninth 9a+ by the FA of One Punch in Arco. Last year, the 24 year old Italian was #4 in the Lead World Cup after having one event. (c) Vertical Eye - Matteo Pavana.

"Ten days of work, my hardest 9a+ so far, I think could be close to 9b. Second hardest route in Arco! Belayed by Adam!"

Nanjing Highlights  Facebook

Maggie Odette

Toadstool Traverse (6C)
, Marioland, Utah.
Rupprich pati

prince of darkness, unt
erwelt, pitztal
Pol Costa

Cliqui-Claca (8b+) Cald
Andre Krause

Der König der Welt fb 7
c, Okertal
Miguel espejo

Gorillaz...7a, Albarrac
Andreas Hanisch

Kalorienmonster 7c, Mag
ic wood
Nikolay Manuylov

Please add info of the
climb, your ascent and
the area
Mateusz Haladaj

The shoulder killer mov
e on Seleccio Natural 9
a, Santa Linya
Elis Rees

Michael Barclay on Venn
erne 7c+ at Shipwreck C
ove, Gower
Umberto Tilomelli

A 7a, Lumignano
Jose Manuel Cano

Fugazzi 8a, Sant Lloren
ç del Munt
Aleksandra Taistra (f)

T1 Full equip 8b+, Olia
Lévy Desmarais

Divine Punishment 8a, R
ed River Gorge
Margo Hayes

Smith Rock, Oregon
Martin Stráník

From Shallow Waters To
Riverbed 8b+, Magic Woo
Climb in Kymi

Antonis Anyfantakis enj
oying the onsight of 'H
ippocles', Katavolo cra
g, Kymi
Derrick Starling

Glue Sniffing Bandit Mo
nkeys 6c+, Hillside Dam
Mohsen beheshti rad

Lucas 7c
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Barone Davide - Please add info of the climb, your ascent and the area
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Editorial by 8a Founder and Editor-in-Chief Jens Larssen including also Analyses, Reviews, Training, Polls and Opinions etc.
Let the kids have fun at the comps  Facebook
Being a National Youth Coach for many years I see and hear that the scene is changing a lot, especially for the youngest category. In the last European Youth Cup in Imst there were 100 youngsters 02- 03 competing and level for the top has gone up. Flash is nice but at the same time, the coaches and parents are running the beta and some of the not so strong kids were crying behind the scene, after an early fall.

My focus as a coach was equally as much outdoors and we never did any structured or periodization training before the comps. I sometimes let almost "beginners" compete but just as a motivation boost. The message to the coaches and parents who bring some not so strong kids, just focus on the fun. Do not set up a structured training program and create beta robot climbers at the scene in order to optimize their performance.

It is just not fair to the not so experienced kids who are competing against youngsters that possibly have trained 15+ hours for several years. Trying to optimize the performance for the "beginners" will just creates anxiety and possibly they will just stop competing.
Göteborg, #1 urban climbing city in the world, excels  (2) Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureClick to Enlarge PictureFrom the city center of Göteborg, with almost 1 million inhabitants, you can reach 2 000 climbs divided equally into boulders, trad and sport, within 30 minutes on a cycle. This makes Göteborg the most urban climbing medium city in the world.

The amazing thing is that there just the latest few years more than 100 new sport routes have been developed, including a four pitch 6a and also the first beginner crag right in the epicenter of the famous trad area. Last year, Alex Megos did a a nicely located superb 8B+ which you can reach within nine minutes in the train and three minutes walk from the city center. "One of the greatest boulder FAs ever". (c) Daniela Ebler

Equally amazing is that there are still great potential for at least 100 sport, trad and boulder FAs. Last august we moved to the center of the sport climbs and during the autumn I started projecting some 30 routes, with 500 meters from our house, out of one is a very nice five pitch 6a. In practice, I just rappelled down next to my first MP, which is also the only sport MP within 700 km, and started to climb, no brushing was necessary. All these projects will be finished within a fortnight after coming back from our big travel 1/6.

Anybody interested to climb in Göteborg should also bear in mind that within one hour, there are another 500+ sport routes often located just near to the sea. One hour north does also "Bohuslän" starts which is a trad granite area in world class. In this area you can also find Granitogrotta, 17 meters overhang up to 8c+ FA Ondra, and Lysekil, beginner and kids friendly crags, with totally some 250 very well protected sport routes. Please post questions as a forum comment.
Onbouldering summarize the last month  Facebook
Commentating video should be made standard  Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureBasically, I find often climbing videos pretty boring as you have no insight of how the route is like and how it felt for the climber. One example of this is the 30 min documentary of Ethan Pringle doing Jumbo Love but if you get Ethan's comment as he climbs it, it did become one of the most interesting climbing videos I have ever seen. Commentating videos like this should be made standar but possibly it is just Ethan and a few others that can pull it together. Video on demand for USD 3.

The video producer is Spenser Tang-Smith and he says that, "Ethan was really happy to do it too, it helped him bring the whole experience to a conclusion." Interestingly, Ethan says that Jumbo Love did not take his full 100 % mental and physical capacity and he shares some insights about that most of the time we only use 80 % of our total capacity.
Future Risk Management in Sport Climbing  Facebook
"You climb at your own risk" is a mantra that is used in climbing but clearly that does not include broken anchors or anything like that in an indoor gym.

In Sweden, the Consumer Government Agency have said that if a club point out some specific routes that are good for beginners to start leading, this can only be done on well protected safe routes. If it turns out that the novice did fall to the ground although the belayer did nothing wrong, the club can be hold responsible.

With the big increase of gym climbers who want to go out and try leading for the first time, it is important that the local clubs and communities can recommend some safe routes, especially for the teenagers.

It might have been that previously all outdoor beginners did know that, "You climb at your own risk" but in 2017, there are probably thousands of gym climbers who just assume that the beginner routes are safely protected like in the gym.

Here are the 8a bolting recommendations for easier routes:

#1 at 3 meters
#2 at 4 meters
#3 at 5.5 meters
#4 at 7.5 meters
#5 at 10 meters

If we are talking about very hard routes with a relatively much easier start, it is normally OK with longer distance in between the bolts. When it comes to clipping positions and grades, on a 6a route the clipping positions should be adjusted to 160 cm climbers meanwhile on an 8a route, 170 cm could be applicable. and Vertical-Life team up  Facebook
Click to Enlarge was started as my personal blog where I wanted to spread news of the new routes I put up and also where I did share the training tips I gave as the coach for the Swedish Youth team including Said Belhaj. In 2000, the scorecard was developed by my webmaster Leif Jägerbrand and within some few months, 8a did become a very popular global website. Most of the actual scorecard pages are actually looking the same as they did in 2000.

In 2002, Jonas Emanuelsson joined as the new webmaster and the actual website including Ticklists etc is his work. During several years, we have tried to find new webdesigners that could help us redesign 8a to state of the art look community interaction and user friendliness. Tieme van Veen has helped us with the available for the mobile phone and within a week or so, you will be able to add routes here much quicker.

During this spring, I have lived with my family in Bressanone, Italy, where Vertical-Life is located. It was started by Matthias Polig and friends in 2012, with the aim of creating a worldwide premium topo platform. Vertical Life offers a system to combine printed guidebooks with all the advantages an app can offer. In fact all there partners guidebooks offer a code to unlock their digital version for free. Till now Vertical Life offers approved content for 50 destinations including Kalymnos, Frankenjura, Yosemite, Magic Woods to name a few. Right now they are working on the Céüse guidebook in collaboration with Arnaut Petit.

I do like this approach to base topos on the local community instead of ripping off these local guys by just copying their work and selling it. The local FAs and the community around them including topo authors, rebolting and taking care of access issues etc, are the key in our very fast growing climbing community.

Lately, they have also created an App where gym owners can manage their routes, which then also can be Zlagged by the climbers in order to create a training-log. The platform is becoming a more open tool for different players such as gyms, coaches and events.

Based on our mutual focus and because VL, in fact, is also a design company, having put up the exhibition The Climbing Gardens of the world in Berlin, we started discussing if they could make a total make over of 8a.

I am very happy that finally we have made a deal and that VL will invest in 8a and that they have started to work on this big mission. At the same time, I will remain as the editor-in-chief allowing me to spend more time finding and presenting the latest news and training articles etc.

I am very sure that this cooperation will create a much better product. There will be less banners on the first page and it will be easier to add and find routes in the database. Please feel free to give your suggestions on what we should improve and what could be included in the upcoming modern website in order to give you a better experience visiting
How to climb with small kids outdoors?  Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureOur youngest son was 18 months when we first put on a harness on him. Proudly we saw him crawl ten meters up before we realized that we had not taught him to get down... Later we did understoond that it is almost impossible to get down from a slab using a full body harness before they are at least three years old. At that time, we had anyhow started using just a normal harness which is not recommended as they can easily rotate upside down as their head including helmet are relatively heavy.

We have never had such a problem but we were very careful in the beginning at the same time we made them just hang and also use a chest harness as a compliment.

However, in practice and although our summer place is located just ten meters from a beginner crag they did not start climbing until one month after we had placed gymnastic rings above our sofa in our living room. One hour daily playing with them made they suddenly want to go for the 10 meter routes in the gym. Before this, it seemed that just the challenge was to big for them.

When it comes to outdoors, we practice them same comfort philosophy and almost always pull in the rope and try to let them climb as easy and short routes as possible. They also use knee-pads as they otherwise often actually hurt themselves.The biggest success so far is by timing them on the possibly easiest route in the world, 1-2-3 ABC in Kalymnos. During the latest session, they played on it ten times each in a row optimizing the start position as well as tick mark the key holds, to set new records. When it comes to shoes, it works almost as good with just regular shoes.

Now their focus is to go for personal record in heights and during the last session, we could here the older one actually hum when he was approaching the anchor at 25 meters. We also often give them a mission cleaning or putting in draws. Yesterday, we actually understood that possibly we should not have focused so much on their climbing as we now spend more time belaying them than we climb ourselves.

1. Buy gymnastic rings and knee pads
2. Let them try the harness at home including hanging in it
3. The shoes must be so comfortable that they can use them several hours
4. Practice hanging and coming down before starting climbing
5. Pull all the time in the rope when they climb
6. Start with the shortest and easiest routes possible
7. Give them missions with the quick draws and chalk
Emil Abrahamsson (20) from overweight to almost worldclass in five years  (1) Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureEmil Abrahamsson started climbing when he was 15 years old, being quite overweight at 158 cm and 75 kg. Two years later he climbed outdoors for the first time and during his second outdoor year he did several 8A's. Now he is an 183 cm powerhouse at 77 kg doing 8B without any specific training and twice he has been #4 in the Swedish Nationals.

"In 2017, I started to focus on something I had skipped before, crimping. I actually began crimping just last year, before that I refused as I was afraid of getting injured. I have always been strong at pinching and grabbing slopers and slowly I am also building up my crimping strength. Finally I feel I can increase my crimping strength without being afraid of injuries. I have noticed that this has improved my climbing a lot."

What's interesting is it that he has not had a trainer or done any structured or organized complimentary training. His focus is outdoor and repeating as many problems as possible instead of just going for the hardest projects.

"I climb as much I can but I am quite limited by my university studies and I feel as though my body needs to rest a lot to prevent injury. During good weeks I can climb 4-6 days a week but if it is good weather then I'll just be climbing outdoors.

I have not done so much gym training before this year, which is when I began doing some core training which helps a lot. I try to do it after every indoor session but nothing structured yet."

In regards to being asked questions about having been a super talent and if he had been very successful in any other sport when he started training, then he explained that he had been overweight!

"I have never thought of myself as being very talented. This is something I like a lot so my body has just adapted to it. I am always focused for climbing and the sport is something I want to continue with forever. The feeling of sitting on top of a boulder after a send with a cup of coffee is just the very best thing. Nowadays, this is my focus and the absolutely best way to get away from stress and the ordinary life." Erik Carlsson video from when Emil did an 8B which he thought to be 8A+.
Gambit - A comfortable training shoe  Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureGambit from Five Ten is a really comfortable training shoe and because it is rather stiff you can use a bigger size and wear it throughout the whole training sessions or doing a multi-pitch. They feel almost like having your trainers on and I have used them during warming up or doing long slabby routes. They also come in a velcro model but in a way then you are missing the point, the Gambit is not about taking them off and on during your session quickly.

This is how Five Ten presents them; More info
Stealth® C4™ rubber outsole (4mm)
Lined leather upper – Minimal stretch
3⁄4 length lace closure system
Rounded toe box
Molded thermoplastic midsole
Entrepreneurship on Kalymnos which is at it's best  Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureSeveral coffee shops, restaurants and mini markets have opened during 2017 in Kalymnos. The big tumble-down hotel at the end of Massouri is being renovated and within some weeks a new climbing shop is opening up in this area. Although, Ryan Air reduced their flights in 2016 and will in 2017 stop flying to Kos, the entrepreneurship is booming on the island.

During 2016, the number of climbers dropped some 20 % and although it seems less climbers have traveled to the island 2017, the number of climbers remain the same as more non-European visitors seem to stay longer periods.

One reason for the growing entrepreneurship might be that they hope that the new owner of the airport in Kos, who will increase its capacity, will bring in more flights starting 2018. The municipality is trying to get more funding for rebolting and also improving the paths.

Overall, Kalymnos is at it's best with 3 000 routes and not so many climbers so it just might be that this autumn it might be that you could get the peak. Here is an old 8a article.

Colin Rickert
The Dirty Job (V7/8), Smuggler's Notch VT

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