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Does "world records" need a standard? 

Click to Enlarge PictureIn 2012, 55 year old Jean-Pierre Bouvier put up the FA of Fou Rire aller/retour in Fontainebleau as the second 9a boulder traverse in the world. "Aller/retour" means that you first traverse it from the left to right 8B and then combine it traversing from right to left, which in it's own is 8C. Historically such climbs have not been defined as boulders by the climbing community and there exist a separate traverse grading somewhere in between route and bouldering grading. In other words, the difficulty of Bouvier's challenge should be equivalent to a 9a+/9b route but for some reason the 55 year old's extraordinary "world record" achievement is not recognized in the climbing world.

8a has previously discuss the subject and said super long traverses or roofs could be defined as boulder routes. In fact, the 60+ mover The Wheel of Life put up by Dai Koyamada in 2004, was recognized as the first 8C+ boulder for some years although Dai had said, "This is not bouldering.

When it comes to routes, Fred Rouhling put up Akira in 1995 as the first 9b in the world and although it was also done before the first 9a+, it has not gotten full recognition. The reason for this is probably because it issaid to be chipped and the difficulty is done as a bouldering roof traverse. Then Fred clicked in a rope to his harness and finished on easier terrain for two bolts.

It is important to say that anybody could do any challenge they want and a 8C+ or 9b etc are super impressive no matter how it looks. However, when it comes to world class ascents of historical importance, it seems like the climbing community has tried to define what a route or a boulder are?

If somebody put up a chipped and eliminated 60 moves roof as the first 9A+, should this be called the first 9A+ boulder in the world? Would not this be a bit mis-leading for the future generation defining what a quality boulder is about.

The first female 8C boulder is said to be Ashima Shiraishi's Horizon which she did when she was 14 years old. Some do not agree saying it does not fit into the boulder definition as it is a 30 move endurance roof. Clearly Horizon is longer than many routes but personally I do think this line still fits in the boulder definition. What do you think? (c) Brett Lowell