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 By: Jens Larssen  | Date: 2009-12-11  | Category: Other    | Comment  

10 years with 8a – The most important headlines

From a personal blog to the leading climbing website in the world always with analyses, thoughts and new ideas that sometimes are controversial, creating interactive discussions.  

1999 December, 10th
www.8a.nu appears on the internet for the first time. It is a local Göteborg blog/website by  Jens Larssen including some training articles, the new routes he has put up and information from the Swedish Junior national Team.

September: The scorecard system is introduced after many unpaid working hours by the webmaster Leif Jägerbrand, who also is a co-founder one of the largest banner systems in the world, http://www.admeta.com/. The idea is to give onsight a high bonus as most climbers are mainly focusing on endless redpoint projects. Shortly, many of the hard core climbers like David Graham, Steve McClure, Christian Brenna and Markus Bock become 8a members tracking their climbs.

Graham sends 8a+ blocs




Dave Graham has, this past summer, kept himself busy in the Rocky Mountain National Park, opening hard problems left and right.
His most newsworthy ticks are:
The Automator, maybe hard V12/8a+ bloc
The Centaur, V12/8a+ bloc maybe harder
European human being, V12/8a+ bloc. This problem was also sent by Dave's side kick, Luke "Gomez" Parady.
Chances are these new problems will boost Graham's reputation as something of a...well, notorious sandbagger.
His earlier repeats of V12/8a+ problems, Diaphanous sea and Chbalanke, were both done in a few shots.
For more news about New England's climbers, check out


(This was one of the first news that was published in the Global page. Graham news is as his Tick List, always very long!)

Check out 8a.nu's "Updated Ranking" - Scorecard!




8a.nu can present the first two ranking lists for Sportclimbing and Bouldering. Go to Scorecard!

DYNOING: A ballastic science - Fly baby fly...




14 pieces of advice and training tips from 8a.nu. We have another 12 training articles that are beeing translated now. Stay tuned!

Check out the interview with Chris Sharma!




Sharma in paradise

(This is the first 8a interview with Chris Sharma)

Climbers of the year - 2000




Preliminary we have come up with the following ranking. This is of course a subjective opinion and we have tried to combine; Sport climbing, Bouldering and Competition Climbing.
However, nobody has been successeful in all three disciplines and we can only base the list upon available information on the net. Remember - It's just for fun! Send us a mail if you miss somebody.
1. Christian Brenna ITA - Scorecard 1, WorldCup 3, EuropChamp 2
2. David Graham USA - Scorecard: Combines Bouldering 3:rd/Climbing3:rd
3. Liv Sansoz FRA - World Cup 1, 8c etc
3. Yuji Hirayama JPN - World Cup 1, 8c+ etc
5. Frederic Nicole CHE - Scorecard leader: Boulder
6. Josune Bereziartu ESP - 8c+ etc, 8a boulder
7. Pablo Barbero ESP - Junior WChamp 1, Scorecard 3
8. Alexandre Chabot FRA - World Cup 2, European C 1
9. Chris Lindner USA - 16 years, 8c+
10. Toni Lambrecht DEU - Scorecard 2: Boulder
Steve McClure ENG - Scorecard 2: Rope



Faster access to 8a.nu




As we have been growing so fast lately, this week up more than 20 percent, we have outgrown our bandwidth capacity. Some of you may have experienced it, as having slow access.
Take it easy, starting from today, our ISP has doubbled the capacity.

(It has been a constant problem that we have been force to buy more space from our server provider :-)

Ethics in Bouldering: A Discussion




Check out the new article: Ethics in Bouldering according to 8a.nu

(Article by Björn Pohl)

4th 8c by Bereciartu




Josune Bereciartu has climbed her fifth route of 8c or harder. The route, Última Aldea Gala, 8c, at Santa Cruz de Campezo, was opened by Iker Pou two years ago and is considered hard. News courtesy of Desnivel
The other 8c-or-harder by Josune are:
Honky Tonky, White Zombie, Ras, and Honky mix (8c+).


Sharma disqualified!




Jerome Meyer won at Rovereto, Andrada was second and Calibani 3rd, but THE news is that Chris Sharma has been disqualified from the Munich comp! Like we all already kind of knew, or at least suspected, he failed the drug test, the ol' Mary n' Juana... Check out complete results at digitalrock.de

(Chris Sharma won the Munich Boulder World Cup just weeks after he had done the FA of Realization.)

One year anniversary




The English version of 8a.nu started exactly one year ago. We would like to thank everybody that provides us with news and the, over all, close to 500 000 visitors that keep us on our toes. Last week we had nearly 6 000 unique visitors, something that suggests we’re probably the most important/updated site in our field at this moment in time. During this year have been mentioned in most of the major climbing magazines around the world, including Climbing, OTE… and Bergsport.

Looking back, everything has developed beyond our expectations, including our workload... We don’t believe this would have been possible without our scorecard system, and luckily there are many more improvements for automatic updating of high (and low) numbers in the pipeline. We will also start a community for interaction between our members.
Other things we have introduced is upper- and lower case letters, meaning that 8a stands for a route and 8A for Boulder. Very simple and practical. Further more, we are right now trying to make freepoint a new accepted way of climbing (see explanation to the right).

In our second year, we really hope that other climbers will continue to contribute with news and also write articles about training, places to visit etc.
Sincerely, we also hope that the site will also help keeping the climbing spirit alive and that you’ll finally send your first 8a!


Adam Ondra, a new wonder kid!




Adam Ondra from Brno, Czech Republic, is only 8 years young, but his ticklist would be impressive even for someone twice his age. He's already onsighted four 7b+'s and three 7b's this year. We don't want to put any pressure on Adam's tiny shoulders, but this is definitely someone to look out for in the future!


Climbers of the year 2001: Top-10




1. David Graham - United States (2:2000)
2. Josune Bereziartu - Spain (6)
3. Sandrine Levet - France (-)
4. Martina Cufar - Slovenia (-)
5. Tomas Mrazek - Czech Republic (-)
6. Christian Brenna - Italy (1)
7. Pablo Barbero - Spain (7)
8. Bernd Zangerl - Austria
9. Lisa Rands - United States (-)
10. Alexandre Chabot - France (8)
10. Jeromé Meyer - France (-)
10. Mauro Calibani - Italy (-)

It's an impossible to correctly rank climber of the year - But 8a.nu try it anyhow. However, we can only base it from what's out there. Give us your comments if you want to change something or do some quick 9a/8C sends.
We close the list at New Year's Eve.


Jonas Emanuelsson starts working as the new webmaster.

Massive downgrading in the Maltatal





Last weekend Werner Thon, Markus Bock and Harry Röker spent 3 days in Maltatal/Austria to try some hard boulders from Klem Loskot.
On the first day Markus climbed Pluto auf der Jagd, 8B, in 10 minutes and Werner climbed the boulder on the second day. We think, it´s more like 8A/8A+.
On the second day Markus checked out Wrestling with an alligator, 8B+, and climbed it on the third day of climbing. It´s more like an easy 8B.
After climbing Wrestling..., Markus checked out Petting with an alligator, which is an other finish-variation of Wrestling... also graded, 8B+. Markus climbed it after the checkout and downgraded it to 8A+.

 (The first down grading suggestions appears on 8a. It is a fact that close to 50 % of the hard core boulders have actually been downgraded compared to have they first were reported. This is especially for steep problems in Switzerland, Austria and Hueco Tanks but very seldom in Fontainebleau where the boulder grades where invented.

Two weeks later Markus suggest new down grades and another two weeks later he is on it again. All of the suggested down grades have been confirmed!)

Rating in theory and reality...




In climbing, we use an unique system for measuring performances. Other sports use split seconds, centimeters, points or a match/fight to decide who's best. Climbers do it by grades. But how does it work? Who's to determine a grade? Down-grading! One move boulder dynos! Tactics to maximize your climbing grades! This is how we and Albert Einstein see it - Everything is relative!

(Grading is an invention by the climbing community but actually there is no set rules how it works. This is the first time 8a tries to explain it…but nowadays there are different opinions.)

Over 2 200 holders from 76 countries




Our database is growing and we are comming close to 50 000 registred routes/boulders. The following countries have more than 50 scorecard holders:
1. United States - 290
Sweden - 264
3. France - 88
4. Canada - 84
5. South Africa - 66
6. Spain - 64
7. Italy - 57
8. United Kingdom - 53

(Today there are 1.3 million rated ascents in the 8a data base!)

Let's skip traverse grading...




The world's hardest graded travers is located i Fontainebleu and it's graded (8c+), which should be equivalent to 8B+, which we think is the correct and proper grade. The reason for this are as follows:
1. It's often hard to tell what should be called a traverse respectively called a boulder, resulting in equally hard things getting different grades.
2. The V-grading system makes no difference between traverses and problems.
3. Traverses often result in pathetic eliminations and link-ups.


9a by Bereziartu!





We got an email from Franco Crani:Josune Bereziartu has redpointed an hour ago Bain de Sang 9a at Saint Loup!!! Josune is definitely in a league of her own. Remember she was the first to climb 8c (Honky tonky), 8c+ (Honky mix) and now 9a. Fantastic!
Bain de Sang is a route of about 20 meters that has been described as a "slightly overhanging slab", naturally this, at this level of difficulty, implies very complex movements in addition to a need for extreme sensitivity and precision. In fact, the name of the route (Blood bath) makes reference to the size and aggressiveness of its holds. The route can be divided into two parts of 10 meters each: The first part goes at about 8b+/c with an 7C+/8A boulder crux while the second part is even harder. an 8c with an 8A/A+ close to the top.
Josune's ascent is the 6th, after Fred Nicole, François Nicole, Fred Rouhling, Cedric Bersandi and David Houhl.

(Josune was in the beginning of the decade in a league of her own when it come to redpoint. Bain-de-Sang is not any longer considered as 9a.)

Climber of the year 2002: Chris Sharma




Chris Sharma was voted climber of the year 2002 and he is also the 8a choice. Chris has combined world class performences in both Route, Boulder and WC events.Check out the interactive poll
This is the 8a list: Climber of the year 2002
(Our list is more or less the same as the poll except from that we have put Lisa Rands at #4. Lisa is ranked #1 at the 8a boulder ranking and at the ICC's boulder ranking.)

Chris Sharma - 8C, #10 route rank, #2 in WC event
2. Josune Bereciartu - 9a & 8B
3. Dave Graham - #3 & #1 in route/boulder rank
4. Lisa Rands
5. Christian Bindhammaer
6. Ramonet Julian
7. Alexandre Chabot
8. Muriel Sarkany
9. Marietta Uhden
10. Schwaiger brothers
Steve McClure


Alex Huber free solos 8b





Alex Huber has free soloed The Opportunist, 8b, at the Schleier Wasserfall. First climbed in 1996 by Jean Minh Thrin Thieu, the route takes a steep diagonal line next to White Winds and Cool your foot man, and has the crux at about 12m.
The hardest free solo so far, was Dani Andrada's of Archipel,8c+ , although he thought it was "only" 8c. Archipel is an extremely steep route which, more or less, follows the ground until it finishes up a short wall, so maybe this isn't really to be considered a free solo in the classic death defying sense...

(8a has now a policy of not publishing solo ascents. We have received many mails over the year talking about solo ascents but we do not want to be part of promoting this activity!)

8a.nu on tour!





Well, I (Björn) is going away on vacation. From this Saturday there won't be much use sending me emails, but I'll try to check my account once in a while.
17/6 - 30/6 I'll be in Chamonix, so if anyone's there and feels like showing me where the great bouldering is or simply feels like giving 8a.nu their two cents face to face - give me a call!

(In the early days, we were allowed to use 8a as our personal blog.)

Different opinions regarding preclipping carbiners





Poll: 50 % voted for one preclipped and 50 % otherwise
The apology for using preclipped carbiners are based on safety but also "everyone is doing it (on these routes)"! We think both these reasons are OK.
However, when the speech for one's defence is based on reasons of downclimbing or jumping/falling to the ground, we think that this is over the fine line. It's only a cover up to facilitate the climb and it's not natural in the essence of climbing.
We could discuss this subject in the forum and see if we could reach a consencus ;).
As we see it, it's a conclusive difference between safety or facilitate reasons (cheating)!
In other words, we think that one or even two preclipped carabiners is OK, as long as we talk safety. If you need more than that the route should be rebolted!

(8a started doing polls in 2002 also in a way to communicate the community’s ethics.)

10-year-old onsights 8a





Adam Ondra (10) from Czech Republic onsights Slimline, 8a in Frankenjura. This might be the best climb ever performed by a junior and one should bear in mind that Slimline previously has been graded 8a+. Anyhow, Adam who is #64 at 10 700 points, thought it was easy!

(Adam Ondra has since he was 10-years-old always been consistent of giving a personal opinion of the grade and he is actually the one in the world suggesting most down grades.)

FIRST 9b+ FROM Fernandez!?





After three years of work, on July 4th, Bernabé Fernández finally managed to redpoint his mega project at Villanueva del Rosario near Málaga, Spain. The route is more than 80(!) meters long, has almost 400 moves and is, you guessed it, super steep. According to Fernandez Chilam Balam weighs in at the never before proposed grade of - 9b+ and is entirely natural. We haven't heard much about Barnabè has been up to for the last couple of years, I guess we now know why...
The Andalusian's hardest before this was his own, unrepeated, Orujo, 9a+, at Archidona.
Now for the million dollar question: Could this route really be 9b+? In order to make his claim credible it's now up to Fernadez to offer the climbing world some kind of proof, showing he's really miles ahead of everyone else. Normally a climber should be able to onsight routes around three grades easier than his redpoint level. Considering the amount of work he's put in on this route, in Fernandez case four grades is maybe more fair, but still, no one has been even remotely close to onsighting 8c+...
Can he do it?

(The ascent has been heavily questioned since Bernabé has not shown any willingness to confirm his ascents and the belayer is un-known since “he was just found in a bar”.)

Winn 8a T-shirts: NIHIL





NIHIL is a new Dutch company that sells "progressive climbing wear" through their website. Within their broad collection, you can buy an 8a T-shirt for Euro 21.95.or even better win it through their quiz or receive one as a giveaway once you are an 8a.nu member.

(In Total, we have produced over 3 000 T-shirts with another seven companies: Prana, Peak performance, Red Chilli, Chillaz, Millet and Nihil who were first out and in 2010 we give 5 Euro to ear Child for every T-shirt sold.)

Climber of the year 2003




1. Patxi Usobiaga ESP
2. Sandrine Levet FRA
Ramonet Julian ESP
4. Dave Graham USA
5. Josune Bereziartu ESP
Alexander Chabot FRA
7. Muriel Sarkany BEL
8. Pablo Barbero ESP


Ignacio Sandoval Buron becomes the Spanish Editor.

Improve the comp. format




- "Difficulty comps are extremely boring!"
We have written an article in which we present some ideas in order to start a debate on our forum and in the climbing community.
Improve the competition format
See also the new poll

(The ideas presented are flash in the qualification and shorter maximum time. In 2009, all qualifications were done in a flash format and shorter maximum times were applied.)

Three 8A's by Woods (14)




July 1, Daniel Woods became the youngest American to climb 8b+ (The 7 P.M. Show). Now it seems he's taken up bouldering...
During a ten day trip he sent no less than three 8A's (Canopener right, The fuck you finger, both at Poudre Canyon and an unnamed problem at Morrison) and six 7C+'s, one of which (Taxi driver at Morrison) he flashed. This would be highly impressive at any age and even more so as Daniel is still only 14. He was #3 Junior of 2003.
In the combined senior world ranking Daniel is #18.

4 BEAL rope winners




In the BEAL Dry Cover lottery, the following four get a free rope and become Test Pilots: Marko Marila - Finland, Patrick Cassiday - USA, Niklas Gunnarsson - Sweden and Michel Fanguet - France.

A new contest has been started and 4 new winners will be drawn. Click on the BEAL banner and take part in the new competition.

(Beal is the first international company paying money for placing a banner on 8a.)

Martina Kufar new #1




Martina Kufar, Slovenia, has entered the rankings as #1 with 10 840 points. Three 8b's and a couple of 8a onsights is good, but she still has some way to go before she's near to Josune Bereziartu's highscore above 12 000 points.

Martina has done close to 100 8a's out of which 17 onsight. She is also a well-knowned competition climber who won the World Championship in 2001.



(Martina Cufar is now a share holder of 8a Climbing Inc.)

8a.nu Updates - Banner




Now you can put an 8a.nu banner on your site
By doing so, you will make your visitors stay update with your country ranking as well as the latest high numbers reported in your country!
Check out www.belclimb.net from Belgium

(Over 20 websites presents 8a online updates on a 8a banner, including Climbing.com who has done that for five years.)

Practice & Ethics in rock climbing




In rock climbing, there are no written rules or judges like in all other sports. Instead, the climbing community creates and circulates the procedures and ethics. Over time, the procedures have been modified and in different subcultures different ethics apply.

We thought it could be a good idea to discuss and define good style as of today and also give some amusing examples of violations that is used, in order to receive sponsors, glory and points.
Check out and comment what we think about onsight.

Don't forget that there is no definite line between right and wrong in rock climbing, however, the fundamental idea says - don't push the border of moral systematically, instead, keep the spirit alive.

(The ethics are presented in a traffic light system where, green, yellow and red examples are given.)

5 year anniversary




In december 1999, 8a.nu was started as a local site for sport climbing in Göteborg - Sweden. Eight months later the scorecard was introduced and just afterwards the global site was opened.

Today, we are more than 7 300 members and we are growing faster than ever with more than 100 new members per week. On an average, we have 15 000 unique visits per week.

In the future we hope to focus more on quality rather than quanitative rankings etc. Our vision is - Increase the interaction in the climbing community. Everyone is invited to help us out by writing articles, send us news and pictures etc.
Keep the spirit alive!


GRIGRI safety




Most of you have heard about mystical incidents with the GRIGRI. 8a.nu consider the GRIGRI to be the safest belaying device for sport climbing and we believe these accidents to be caused by improper handling and would like to share some thoughts about belaying techniques.

We would also like to state that these thoughts are not from Petzl. Petzl has not approved the techniques described and using them is at your own risk.

(Four years later, Petzl changes their official recommendation, based on these thoughts, into what 8a suggested.)

Graham explains downgrading




From his new home in Ticino, Switzerland David Graham explains why he has retro downgraded many of his hardest sent boulder problems:

8a.nu support the thoughts and think it's brave of David to officially state this opinion. Some times grading is like
the fairy tale of the Emperor's new clothes One should also understand that David actually drops in the ranking when he downgrades his own ascents. The 8a scorecard is just a game and it will never be an absolute thruth regarding who's the best - but it can sure be a good motivator!

(It is a long well written article… J

Tsunami hits Railay Beach




A tsunami created by an eartquake hit Railay Beach in Thailand at 11.00. All restaurants by the beach have been destroyed but no climbers have been reported seriously injured.

Some 100 climbers ran in panic from the beach and some red-points had a dramatic finish, when suddenly a 10 meter wave appeared.

(As I, Jens, was standing at the beach, we could within 1 hour report that “no climbers have reported seriously injured.)

Climber of the year
1. Tomas Mrazek
2. David Graham
3. Sandrine Levet
4. Patxi Usobiaga
5. Josune Bereziartu