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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."

La Rambla 9a+ by Jon Cardwell  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureJon Cardwell comes with the great news on his Instagram that he has done La Rambla 9a+ in Siurana. This year it took ten tries but the process started last year. Previously he has done some 10 - 15 routes graded 9a, the first one in 2008. (c) Greg Mionske

Congrats! So what made the send in the end?
Thank you! Not really sure exactly what made things work, except that I was just really excited to climb again in Spain after suffering from a bad finger injury last July. I worked patiently all late summer and into the fall/winter to rehab my finger and strength appropriately without risking re-injury. When I arrived in Spain, I felt refreshed and more motivated than ever to just enjoy the climbing with good friends. Also, I worked the route for a couple weeks last year when Matty and Margo climbed it, so I began this trip knowing all the beta quite well.

This was the ascent #22 in total of Ramon Julian Puigblanque's classical route from 2003 which makes it the most popular 9a+ in the world. In 1994, Alex Huber made it to a first anchor calling it 8c+ but with the today grade standards, his version is considered 9a.

8c+ FA by Dani Fuertes (37)  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureDani Fuertes has done Quijote Total 8c+ in Alquezar and he goes to #5 in the 8a ranking game. In total, the 37 year old has done 46 routes 8c+ and harder out of which ten the last year meaning he is at his peak. (c) Chus Arranz

"It was bolted by Javier Arnaudas “Seta”, a mythical climber from Aragon. It goes across a beautiful buttress in the cave sector. The route is full of amazing boulders."

8c onsight again by Piotr Schaab  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PicturePiotr Schab, #2 in the 8a ranking game, has onsighted Los ultimos vampiros hippies 8c in Margalef."My 5th 8c onsight and I must say it gave in pretty easily! Hard to tell if it was the matter of my shape or just an easy number Anyhow it’s just as satisfying! And what is more, it’s most probably the first on sight of the route!" (c) Mateusz Haładaj

Congratulations! What is the next plan and ambition?
Thanks! I’m trying Fight or Flight in Oliana and that’s a big goal for the spring. Feeling more than ready to climb a 8c+ onsight which is another goal of 2018. I’ve been in Spain for two weeks now, coming back to Poland 13.03 for 12 days to Rest properly and train a bit at home and then back to Catalonia.

8B+ by Dave MacLeod (39)  (1) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureDave MacLeod, one of the best multi discipline climbers, has done the second ascent of Malcolm Smith's Gutbuster at Dumby from 2010 and here is his report.

As always interesting reading Dave's thought about his send that started with some hard tries ten years ago. In September, he separated his shoulder and then he had some sessions in November where he understood he needed to build up his strength. On his second session the last week it was snowing.

"On the third try a full on blizzard started while I was on the shakeout. My hands went numb and I fell off Sanction, but even if I hadn’t, the top holds were full of snow and I’d never have made it through. I retreated to the cafe for a brew while the snow raged and then returned and brushed the snow off the holds. But it was getting dark and getting silly."

Anyhow, on his "last go" he could not see one foothold in the gloom and without taking off his shoes he started again and made it to the easy slab top out, "crimping the hell out of the damp snowy crimps. Getting off the boulder was even more of a gripper! The descent climb faced directly into the snow and was snow covered slippery death."

9a+ link-up FA by Ondra in Arco  (3) Facebook

Do not miss his technique for skipping rope drag by clipping in and changing rope 45 sec in the film. Smartness, Safety, Speed and precision climbing at it's best.

Bram Honorez

willenberg dach 8A, chi
Talo Martin

James Pearson on Dancin
g with myself, 8b+ El V
ellón, Spain
Michael Füchsle

Michael Füchsle Boulder
n Konstein
Chuck Odette

The Golden Child, China
Cave, Utah
Markus Adamaszek

Zig zag, Fb 7a bloc, Al
Matteo Humar

Falesia del Vauzo, Pali
Mike Kimmel

Moe's Valley!
Araz Rasaee

Ghol 7a+, Darband
Martin Bigatti

Whore's Gold 7a+, Wild
Aline Odermatt

Per Tutatis 7a+, Arboli
Tomek Zacharewicz

Please add info of the
climb, your ascent and
the area
Camilla Moroni

Première 7c+, Seynes
Matteo calledda

Shangai pizzas contre l
e ninja volant 8a+, Isi
Nuno Topas Gonçalves

Senhora do Salto,Pangei
a Titânio,8b.
Chuck Odette

Maggie on Bat Roof full
Miguel Espejo

Método Henry..7b (Villa
nueva del Rosario)
Daisuke Ichimiya

monkey dread 8b+, Mukog
Ema Seliškar

Corto 8a, Osp/Misja Pec
Search & Add Ascents
Jamie Leland - Public Enemy 7c+, Superstition Mountains
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Selected Top List ->
Editorial by 8a Founder and Editor-in-Chief Jens Larssen including also Analyses, Reviews, Training, Polls and Opinions etc.
St Leger - Buy local produced topos  (9) 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  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.
Streaming 11.30 and 16.00 on Sunday from SBM  Facebook
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  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.
Mark routes as chipped like Ondra  Facebook
Chipping means normally that somebody has used a hammer or similar to artificially make a route easier to fit the FA capacity. In other cases, it is done to even out a 7a route that has an 8b crux or sometimes it is done to make a hold less sharp.

Chipping was quite popular in the 90-ies especially in France and Italy and also today, the smoothing of holds or even out easier routes occurs. On the other hands, setting up new hard routes based on drilling or hammering out holds are rarely done and if so, most think this is really bad.

One way of reducing future chipping is simply to mark them as "Chipped" in the 8a data base. As a matter of a fact, the the hard core climber using this feature most frequently is Adam Ondra. Already in 2018, he has markes eight routes as chipped.
Low importance for Speed in the qualifications  Facebook
Based on the IFSC 2020 Olympic qualification system one might say that there is very little use for the athletes to actually focus on Speed, beside technical training, until the end of 2019.

1. Six spots have been allocated to the Combined World Championship in 2019, i.e. it is the qualification that will decide. Based on the multiplication format, good results in all three discipline are poor in comparison to an uneven result:
1 * 10 * 50 = 500 wins over 8 * 8 * 8 = 512

2. Focusing on Speed 2019, meaning training hard and travelling, in order to get some few points in Speed, among the specialists, means you are likely to loose more points in Lead or Boulder:
#1 = 100 points and #4 = 55 points/#25 = 5 points.

The Top-20 in the overall World Cup 2019 will finish the season with an Qualifying event and here Speed will have more impact as no Speed specialist will probably qualify. However, it is not until the Top-6 final in Tokyo when the Speed ability will have the greatest impact, due to the multiplication format.

It should also be mentioned that if you are from countries that have more than two guys that could qualify like: Japan, USA, Austria, France, Italy, Slovenia or Germany, the first qualification WCH in 2019 is most important. After that comp, most likely Japan and one more country have filled their quota.

Nico Krüger
Am Vordach der Halle in Bad Tölz...

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