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Patxi Usobiaga doing Pachamama 9a+/b  Facebook

Patxi Usobiaga was the best Lead competition climber in the world 2006 - 2009 at the same time he did a dozen routes 9a and 9a+. The Spaniard was also the first in the world to onisght 8c+ in 2007. In 2010, he had a car accident giving a slipped disc problem and he had to leave the scene and started surfing. In 2013, being 33 years old, he slowly started climbing again and he became the trainer of Adam Ondra and got his motivation back, 2013 8a interview.

Seb Bouin portrait projecting 9b in Flatanger  Facebook

Sebastian Bouin: "My hardest challenge process at the moment. Hopefully the place is incredible, that's keep me motivate to come back this year." Really great video, enjoy!

The Big Island sit, the world's greatest project  (5) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureThe Big Island in Fontainebleau is the most confirmed 8C in the world with 17 ascents, including Any Gullsten yesterday, and everyone on 8a has given it three stars. It was put up with as a stand start by Vincent Pochon in 2010 after Dave Graham had made a two moves in FA, The Island, two years earlier.

Over the years, many boulderers have checked out the sit start where Jan Hojer and James Webb have done some good linking. As it is so steep and climbs diagonally into the starting position, the sit start in itself, could be considered a boulder possibly around 8C. Adding the equally long, The Big Island 8C on top of this, with absolutely, no rest might be that we are talking about the another 9A?

James Webb: "The sit start is an incredible project. For me personally the bottom is at least 8B+ and maybe even harder than The Big Island itself. The intro (10 moves for my method) is very powerful, yet technical with a tricky kneebar that links you through to the stand. Once you’re there you just have to take a deep breath and with absolutely no rest climb the Big Island. It’s a mega line!

I would say that it is is somewhat a serious project for me. I've tried it now for about three seasons. I just made a trip there in Jan/Feb but the weather only allowed me to have thee sessions on it in total which was quite frustrating. It's a mega line though and I'm excited to return next year for another round of attempts!

I had a good try this season where I entered the stand start and stuck the big right hand move to the sloper. After that you stuff the left heel and go to the crimp and this is where I fell. Seems close! Though the next few moves require a lot of tension and from the bottom you're exhausted. So its definitely not over!"

On the picture, James is doing the move out to the start of The Big Island. The sit starts all the way down straight below his right foot. So have you have in fact linked the whole sit start to like 3-4 moves into the stand?
Yup. Many times actually.

Rubtsov and Nonaka won Studio Bloc Masters  (10) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureExcellent route setting at Studio Bloc Master based only on volumes created nice spectacular show. The scores were presented visually making it easy to follow who was in the lead, although the commentators did not got it straight. In total, 509 male and female participated and both Alexsei Rubtsov and Miho Nonaka won, Euro 3 000, by attempts, having got the same score*. (c) Miho Nonaka

1. Alexsei Rubsov 44 (10A) - Miho Nonaka 33 (8)
2. Jan Hojer 44 (14) - Janja Garnbret 33 (9)
3. Jernej Kruder 34 - Fanny Gibert 24

Interesting was that Domen Skofic, who was #10 in the semifinal, would have been #4 and made it to the final with the old IFSC scoring.

* The official rule, as of 2018, is to present the results based on the # of Tops and Zones. However, in order to simplify, 8a has presented the result as a point score. This was basically also how it was presented at SBM.

8B by Isabelle Faus  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureIsabelle Faus has, beside two 8B+', done her eleventh 8B Wonderlust in St Vrain. (c) Chad Greedy

"Damn so psyched. Power endurance, steep and tech, climbs great. Wasn't even thinking when I did this.. just did my choreography and kept moving, felt great to finish it ! ....... this is my first time logging since my last euro trip... I kinda got sick of the whole thing in a way... and just didn't want too log.. but now after it having been so long.. i'm starting to forget things. I'm realizing that I need to keep track because otherwise I would just forget everything.. seeing my ascents and comments I wrote after doing things is really nice.. so im back..

Also during the past 9months ish.. I had my first two serious injures.. first I strained my left ring finger.. and probably would have been back way quicker if I didn't destroy my shoulder a week later.. 6 months before that I had slightly strained my teres major.. and thought it was better.. but after taking a week off of climbing for my finger I went and did a conditioning work out.. and shocked my muscles.. basically I over used my teres major and serratus anterior so much that they just locked up.. and I had to "remodel the muscles." if I tired to hard to quick they would just lock up again and I would have to start over.. so I had a to practice a lot of patience... now its feeling basically all the way better, but I still get some phantom pains, but super happy to be feeling good just before Swiss!"

9a FA by Dani Andrada (42)  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureDani Andrada, one of the pioneers around Lleida making it a world class destination, reports on his Instagram account the FA of Poderosa Afrodita R2 9a in Siurana, Spain. © David Munilla

"Two parts, a hard 8c+ and an 8b/+ above... A route I bolted 3 years ago in El Pati, Siurana. More motivation venga!"

8C by Daisuke Ichimiya  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureDaisuke Ichimiya, who last autumn did Creature from the black lagoon 8C+ in RMNP, has repeated Dai Koyamda's Gekirin 8C in Ryutosen.

"It has unique holds in a hard traverse and with a dead point crimper crux. I did suffer for the crux move. After practicing the moves, it took me some 12 tries. My next project is a new boulder on the same block. (c) Chikara Ishizuka

Big Island 8C by Giuliano Cameroni  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureGiuliano Cameroni reports on Instagram that he has done Big Island 8C in Fontainebleau. (c) Jess Talley
"I tried it a little in 2017 but I wasn't strong enough to do it. This year the conditions were much better and it took me two days."

9a+ FA by Stefano Ghisolfi in Arco  Facebook

Daniel Woods does First Ley 9a+  (1) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureDaniel Woods reports on Instagram that he has done First Ley 9a+ in Margalef. Now he just has to finish the line straight adding an 8A boulder to do First Round First Minute 9b. It should be mentioned that the other day, Daniel broke a fixed quick draw which almost resulted in a ground fall.

"Reminder to check your gear and pre placed gear to prevent anything serious from happening. Be safe out there.

(c) Alex Kahn who belayed Daniel during his close-call fall, also witnessed a friend fall and break his leg and arrived to Siurana the day of the rock fall at El Pati. Be smart and stay safe!

Sending train in Siurana  (2) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureAnna Liina Laitinen reports from the sending train in Siurana, where she did Pati Noso 8c+, Jon Cardwell and Matty Hong both did Estado Critico 9a (8c+) and Daniel Woods Jungle Speed, which gets back to 9a after one hold has broken.

(c) Jon Cardwell of Daniel Woods, who says on Insta, that it took him four days. "Savage opening boulder (hard 8B) to an 8a outro."

Cardwell and Hong have reached out saying that as it only took them 6 respectively 3 tries. "We think that the grade of Estado Critico is much more 8c+ than 9a :) It’s rather hard and bouldery still but just not enough for 9a."

8B (A+) by Dorothea Karalus  Facebook

La Danse des Balrogs was put up by Fred Nicole in 1991 as the world's first 8B but many hade said it is 8A+. Here is Dorothea Karalus pretty obsessed story actually doing several 700 km solo trips to it. She has previously done one 8B and some ten 8A+'.

La Danse Des Balrogs, world's first 8B from Dorothea Karalus on Vimeo.

Fifth 8A+ by Nina Williams this winter  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureNina Williams shares her great story for how she did Bambi 8A+ in Matthew Winters on her Instagram and 8a. This was her fifth 8A+ this winter and she is #4 in the ranking game, just three points below ranking #2. (c) Eddie Fowke

"Two days ago I solo-sessioned one of my nemesis projects with two pads. I worked the moves in sections, starting with the middle, then the end, and finally the beginning, refreshing my muscle memory. I figured I would come back another day with 4-5 pads and a couple spotters. Yet all of a sudden I found myself through the crux from the start I hadn’t had any thoughts of sending; I was just climbing!"

On her 8a scorecard she reveals the amazing lucky story for the send.

"Hit the pocket from the start all by my lonesome, with one pad for the end. Cheers to Derek, Ben, and Annika walking up right at that moment to spot the topout. Sure felt hard to me..."

Chipping still a problem!  (2) Facebook

Based on 1 000+ unique votes in regards chipping, we can see that the community is actually slightly more positive compared to an identical poll four years ago.

10 % YES! = Better climbing (7 % in 2014)
10 % OK, but very seldom (9 %)
02 % I do not know (2 %)
58 % No, but cleaning is OK (54 %)
19 % NO! Brush is the limit (28 %)

8A+ 3rd go in Font by Oriane Bertone (12)  Facebook

Oriane Bertone has done La Cicatrice de l'Ohm 8A+ in Fontainebleau which actually has been 8B. Amazingly, the 12 year old did only need three attempts. Previously, Oriane has done 22 boulders 8A and harder including Golden Shadow 8B (+) in Rocklands. In the 8a ranking game she is #3.

International Women's Day  (2) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureClick to Enlarge Picture8a wants to support the International Women's Day. Often podium prizes are not equal, or a route is downgraded when a woman does it, putting on doubt hard ascents just for the only reason of be a woman. Climbing has the same value if you're a man or a woman, a boy or a girl. We would also like to see more female bolters as well as bolting being more adjusted to girls and female height. (c) Eddie Fowke - The Circuit Climbing

On the competition scene, female is getting closer to male performance and Janja Garnbret, on the picture, has often climbed as high as the best male during training. When it comes to junior training and competitions, girls often outnumber the boys. In bouldering, Ashima Shiraishi did an 8C when she was 14 years old which no boys have done yet. Last year, Angie Eiter ldid a 9b meaning only two male have climbed a harder graded route. When it comes to gender performance equality, this means that climbing is a unique sport and, even so, probably we have just seen the beginning of the climbing Girl Power!

Ondra: Speed an Olympic training sacrifice gamble  (14) Facebook

Covered in the great interview with Adam Ondra is Silence 9c which took 200 tries, the 9a+ and the Olympics. In 2019, he will do all Lead and Bouldering WCs and in regards Speed it is an Olympic training sacrifice gamble.

"How much training you should sacrifice into Speed and how much impact it will have on Bouldering and Lead... all of us who want to go to for the Olympics is kind of gambling on that.

Tokyo 2020 qualification system  (4) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureAlthough not official, the IFSC qualification system document for Tokyo 2020 has been found on internet. A total of 20 male and 20 female will participate and 1 + 1 is guaranteed the Host Nation and 1 + 1 Tripartite Commission. There is also a maximum of 2 athletes per nation.

"The qualification events are listed in hierarchical order of qualification."
6 - Top ranked on the Combined World Champion in Tokyo 2019
1 - Overall World Cup Winner (OWC) 2019
6 - Qualifying event where Top-20 from OWC 2019 will participate
5 - Continental Championship 2020

A. As soon as one country gets two spots (like from WCH 2019), that countries quota is full and the remaining qualifications have no impact for that country.
B. During the Continental Championship for Europe and Asia, it is likely that you do not have to qualify to the Top-6 final to make it through if you are not from; Japan, Austria, France, Italy, Slovenia or Germany.
C: It is not clear if Host and Tripartite Places go beyond max 2 + 2 per country.
D: Further comments in the right column.

9a+ FA by Joe Kinder (37)  (1) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureChris Sharma reports on his Instagram that Joe Kinder has done the FA of Life of Villains 9a+ in Hurricane. Two months ago, Joe reported on his Instagram, "ONE HANG!! (after 4 years of working this beast)." (c) Joe Segreti

Joe Kinder has been very active on the scene for 15 years always sharing his passion and joy for everything in climbing, including setting up hard routes and creating great videos. Here an interview from 2013 we did with the "always psyched".

"It's been a wild experience man to say the absolute least. I am very happy as its been an emotional moment for me. The send yesterday was just a glimpse of the whole story and experience. The grade, title of FA, and all the other terms we use to validate an accomplishment have very little weight when I think about the experience. This is a story I will take with me forever and I am so proud."

8C FA by Beto Rocasolano  (1) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureBeto Rocasolano publishes on his Instagram account his FA to Hipoxia 8C in Navalosa, Spain. ©Sara Richart

"Yesterday could send Hipoxia 8C in Navalosa, the inverse of Parálisis 8C, but IMO is more obvious cause goes in an ascending traverse, but I have to come back and send the descending one."

Lucy Bertazzi

Cenar, Beber, Emborrach
arse, Vomitar, Dolor...
Yau Ka chun

8b Local Spirits, Centr
al Crags HONG KONG
Mike Gabl

Klettergarten Ötz
Ricardo Costa

Please add info of the
climb, your ascent and
the area
Katrin Gründler

Please add info of the
climb, your ascent and
the area
Christian Bortz

Bread Loaf Factory (V10
Duygu Haug

Debut les Morts, Galati
ani, Kalymnos
Petra Queitsch (f)

Käpt´n hook 7c, Franken
Leo Skinner

roof of a baby buddha 7
Andy Esquivias

Andy Esquivias en Miner
al del Chico, Hidalgo,
K Wierzchu

Bastard 7A+ Biertowice
André Funari (Frango)

Koberle no Faber Castel
l 6c+, Sao Bento doSapu
Chuck Odette

Training session in Mar
io Land, UT
Unai Martínez Malaxechevarría

The Climb Open Boulder
Festival 2017
Gus Carter

Great White 7a+/V7, Joe
's Valley
Gus Carter

Planet of the Apes V7/7
Stefano Ghisolfi

Pure Imagination 8c+, R
ed River Gorge
Mateusz Haladaj

Mateusz Haładaj on Stal
Mielec 9a/+, Dolina Kl
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Editorial by 8a Founder and Editor-in-Chief Jens Larssen including also Analyses, Reviews, Training, Polls and Opinions etc.
Even more male Japanese domination in 2018?  Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureThe Boulder World Cup 2018 starts in Switzerland 13/4 followed by one in Russia, China, China, Japan, USA and Germany. A lot of travelling like last year so there are probably not more than 20 male and female who will do the whole circuit.

In 2017, the Japanese male dominated with five guys Top-8 and nine guys Top-16. Bare in mind that they were just allowed to send a maximum of nine guys to each WC last year but based on the result from 2017, they will be able to participate with up to 14 guys. Remember also that in the Youth World Championship last year, the Japanese boys got six out of nine medals.

The bouldering competition scene is booming and for sure there will be more participants in Meiringen compared to the 115 last year, where Japan had three male in Top-4. What about 140 participants and five Japaneses Top-10? For the full season, with the big Japanese travelling budget and Olympic focus, there just might be six or seven guys Top-10 overall. The picture shows the qualification results from Vail where all the nine participating Japanese were Top-10!

What is interesting to note is that their coaches and some athletes have said that they do not follow a strict physical training plan. Instead it is mainly about a team challenge and experimenting jumping around to get the adrenaline. After the last WC event 2017, in Munich, the Japanese male team entered the stage again and tried to repeat the boulders in sneakers with smiling faces, when their opponents already had entered the big party downstairs.
Search to find the best climbs in the world  Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureThere are close to 5 million star rated ascents in the 8a database. Through the advanced search you can find the highest rated climbs by stars, grade and onsight percentage etc for different crags and countries.

You can also check directly through the crag Tick List and some of the crags that stick out are; Phalz, Montanejos, Schleier Wasserfall, Donautal, Bohuslän, Wild Iris, American Fork, Terradets and Verdon.

Among boulder areas; Val Calanca, Eldorado Canyon, Devil's Lake, Newlin, Brione, Poudre Canyon, Mt Evans and Yosemite.
Climbskin Hand Cream  Facebook
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At Climbskin we are proud of the product we have created because we know the great work there is behind it, but even more, we are proud of the people who have joined us to share our enthusiasm and commitment for a project that combines top quality with values. All of you, especially our ambassadors and friends, are a brutal source of motivation, thank you very much! Climb more! Train more! Enjoy climbing even more: Discover Climbskin.
St Leger - Buy local produced topos  (29) Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureIt is normally the local climbers that bolt the new routes, rebolt, clean, work with access issues and produce the topos. Sales from the topos often contribute for bolts etc. During the years, we have seen many foreign companies more or less copying the local ones just in order to make commercial profit.

On the sign found i St Leger, we can see that the locals ask the climbing community to support the local by buying their topo and not the "Vampire Topo". The company doing most such competitive topos just to make profit is a UK company. This happened in southern France, Mallorca etc and now it could be the case in Kalymnos.
8b+ in 1991 possibly 8c+/9a 2018  (3) Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureMark Edwards did the FA of Nuts Are Not The Only Fruit, un cut video in 1991. "I originally gave this 40m pitch an 8b+ grade, but now think with modern upgrading adjustment it is closer to 8c+/9a." (c) Rowland Edwards

He based the modern grade on the 8c's he has done in Sella which was so much easier. In theory, 8c+/9a would mean it is a contender for being the hardest endurance route at that time. Anybody who wants to confirm this and also do the second ascent of Nuts need to rebolt it as the route was later chopped.

Mark is a Sella pioneer where he also lives and climbs and being 56 years old, he is still doing 8b's and last year he did an E9. Some of his routes from back then have been upgraded with two or three grades. "I am no grade nerd I am going for the quality but you are asking so many grade questions :) .Sadly, whatever grade the route is, is irrelevant, what is lost is a very fine sports route.
Possible impact from new bouldering scoring?  Facebook
IFSC has changed the bouldering scoring increasing the importance for zones as this is the second criteria after number of Tops. Until 2017, attempts to Tops was the second criteria but from 2018, it will be the third criteria.

The impact from an athlete's perspective should be minor but in practice it would probably mean that we will see less resting and more attempts as long as the zone have not been reached. Previously, it was possibly more wise for the athletes, who had not reached the zone in several attempts, to just skip another try and focus on resting.

Even if you today flash three boulders, you need to get the zone on the fourth as your opponent, with three tops in 15 tries and all four zones, will beat you.

As a side note it should also be mentioned that with the new scoring, the results can be presented with points where 44 is maximum meaning you have done all four boulders. The official results will be published 4T4z 7 attempts and if the results are tied also the number of attempts for the zones will be added.
Bouldering commentator difficulty  Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureIFSC has changed the boulder scoring so the number of zones is the second criteria which might make it easier to analyze the scoreboard. At the same time it could be more complicated for the commentator to present it as well as for the audience to understand it.

"Ondra leads by one top in one attempt followed by Chon, one top in two attempts and Narasaki one top in three attempts", is how commentators normally present the ranking and how it was done in CWIF last Sunday. The problem is that it just might be that Chon and Narasaki has done one more zones and with the new rule, zones being the second criteria, Ondra is #3.

In practice this means that the first sentence needs to be presented like this.
"Chon is in the lead with one top and two zones in two attempts ahead of Narasaki with one top and two zones in three attempts followed by Ondra with one top and one zone in one attempt. "

In other words, until 2017 you only had to present two criterias to get a good separation but from 2018, you almost always will have to present three criterias. Presenting and understanding a ranking with three criterias instead of just two will be more complicated.

One option to make it much easier for both the commentators as well as the audience, could be to just replace the definition Top with 10 points and zone with 1 point. Even the non-climbers would fully understand.
"Chon leads with 12 points and two attempts followed by Narasaki also on 12 points but three attempts and Ondra with 11 points in one attempt."
Ranking game also in the Vertical-Life App  (3) Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureVertical-Life has added points for the recorded climbs available in their App meaning you can measure progress and play the ranking game at your gym with your friends. Alex Megos is leading the global outdoor ranking game at 12 658, bear in mind that you can until know only add climbs connected to the VL App guidebooks.

You can filter in different ways focusing on just the last months and count 100 routes etc. More filters and options will be added and soon. The plan is also to make it possible to run outdoor festival and gym competitions based on the new ranking game feature.
Topos also as Coffee Table Books  Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureIt is natural that in the future, most topos will be available in Apps as a compliment to the printed guidebook. The App will mainly be used at the crag once you, back home, have selected with crag and routes to try out. The digital topos actually means you do not need to carry and dirtying the "catalog look-alike" topo to the crag.

In other words, the topo producers who also have a mobile version, could create a Coffe Table Book from their topo focusing more about pictures and the local stories. Imagine having a Kalymnos, or your local crag, Coffe Table Book to get inspired from where you also can show your friends and relatives what climbing is all about.

It is very important to support the local community and it is the topo producers who often handle the access issues and are in contact/support the guys bolting and rebolting. A Coffe Table Book could be yet one more way to support and strengthen your local community. The idea has come from talking to Mikael Widerberg who has just released the new topo for Stockholm at 17 * 24 cm.
15 m high digital led MoonBoards are the future  Facebook
Click to Enlarge PictureBen Moon, one of the greatest climber in the history, created the Moonboard in 2005 which has been a smash hit including the App and led marked boulders, introduced in 2016. Lately, we have seen many have copied the invention and it will probably not take long until the climbing wall producers will give us 15 meter high MoonBoards.

Imagine going to your gym where you can choose from 10 000+ routes marked with led lamps or similar instead of just having new routes every other months on a panel. Sure there can be walls where the route setters can create routes in the normal way and of course the holds on the Moon board needs to be washed but in practice, the gyms will also save a lot of money for route setting.

Further more, world or national wide competitions can he held just like already has been done with the Moonboard. In the long run, I would be surpiced if not digital led walls will be the standard in gyms.

Emiliyan Kolevski
Hasan V8,Rila Bloko, Bulgaria

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