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No Country for old bolts - Caprez & Lachat  Facebook

Pirmin Bertle bolting in Swiss  (4) Facebook

La Negra 9a by Iker Ortiz (19)  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureIker Ortiz has done his first 9a, La Negra in Gandia. "What an illusion! A good physical and mental struggle, third ascent after Pedro and Jonatan."

Ondra or Schubert Climber of 2018?  (1) Facebook

Adam Ondra has been chosen 8a Climber of the year for nine straight years and in fact, there has not been much of a competition from the runner ups. In 2018, Ondra has again done many astonishing ascents like a 9a+ flash, two 8c+ onsights, two 9b FA's and an 8C boulder. In the Comp scene, he was #2 in both Lead and in Combined in the World Championship. These great performances would have been enough in any of the previous nine years but in 2018, there is a great challenge from Jakob Schubert.

Double World Champion and World Cup winner in Lead and three times Top-4 in Bouldering speak for it selves. Then he has done two 9b's and two 9a+, out of one originally called 9b/+. When it comes to bouldering Jakob flashed
Catalan Whitness the Fitness giving it a personal grade of 8B+ and the same down grading suggestion for two more 8C's.

Clearly, Ondra is a superior #1 when it comes to outdoors and the same goes for Schubert on the competition scene. So the big question is who should be considered Climber of 2018? Only measuring redpoints outdoors, Schubert should be #1 but then Ondra has his remarkable onsight record as well as having done ten 9a to 9b FA beside also impressive multi-pitches and trad climbs.

Grade or Climbing Improvement in 2019?  Facebook

The easiest way to measure progress in climbing is to try to repeat the same boulder or even try a new campus board move. Sure it feels great to be stronger on a specific move but, in reality, it does not make you a better climber. In reality, the same thing can often be said even when a new personal grade have been sent.

Any coach or experienced climber would instead "measure" you based on multiple styles and factors. In order to improve as a climber you should focus to widen your skill base of your pyramid. Many of us are pretty optimized when it comes to max power so only limited improvements are found there.

Becoming a better climber means often to focus on our weaknesses that are seldom trained like technique, tactic and flexibility. Focusing on each challenge instead of trying to do the short cut by finding a specific route in order to set a new personal best.

Technical improvements can be done be climbing more dynamical by doing moves with three contacts using just one foot or one hand. Other options could be to focus on knee drops or cross over moves.

Tactical skill are easiest done by route reading before climbing, trying to find resting points etc, and then analyse your climbing together with a friend afterwards.

Charlotte Durif bolting  Facebook

Beauty and the Bolts from Cold House Media on Vimeo.

Two 8A+’ by Oriane Bertone (13) in Rocklands  Facebook

Oriane Bertone is as usual in Rocklands during the Christmas break. Although fighting 30-35 degrees, the 13 year old has quickly done two 8A+', Leopard Cave and Green Mamba. In the 8a ranking game, she is #2 after Isabelle Faus. Nice video showing her amazing feet over the head technique.

The art of downgrading, aka personal grades  Facebook

Some 15 years ago, very few climbers downgraded climbs and even if everyone did know that the grades were too soft in general, for example on Kalymnos and in Ticino, very few reacted. As 8a wanted to present correct news we said the situation was like in the Fairy tale 'The Emperor's new clothes'.

Downgrading, aka screaming that the Emperor is nude, was quite controversial and it had not started before David Graham put up The Story of Two World's as an 8C in combination with an article on 8a where he talked about the grade inflation. Later, 8a started to use the term "personal grade" instead of saying, "downgraded it", which now is actually the way the whole community defines it in order to reduce controversies.

Still, most stay away from giving personal grades and instead sometimes use the words "soft" and "hard" and that is just fine. On the other hand, it seems that some use personal grades to show off or just in order to be disrespectful to the FA-ionists and repeaters, which happens especially in Bouldering.

If you honestly feel that a Boulder is more than two grades wrong and you do not say it in a nice way, you can imagine that you are stepping on some toes. Sure you might be correct but when we are talking about three grades differences, maybe you should try to write it in a polite way in order not to offend some. Maybe you did not do the same Boulder, you found new beta, some holds have gotten bigger or you did not start in the same way etc.

In the 8a system you get the score and the news is based on your personal grade, which hopefully makes the provocative people calm down. We also think that it is good enough to say "soft" if you are not just sure if the line is clearly one grade easier for you personally. What I am critical towards is that in some databases you can downgrade a boulder with three grades but you still get the fame for having done the original grade! I mean that this system creates unnecessary and sometimes unfriendly controversies.

Der mit dem Fels tanzt 8C by Christof Rauch  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureChristof Rauch has done his third 8C in 2018, Der mit dem Fels tanzt 8C in Chironico which Martin Keller did put up. In total, Christof who works full time, has done 144 boulders 8A and harder this year which should be most in the world. In the 8a ranking game, based on the Top-10 ascents, he is #5. The pic is from Big Kat 8B+ which he did three days ago. (c) Largegon Damien

"Already tried it when I did „Insanity of Grandeur“, back then it felt way to hard to link it from the bottom, this trip it was different and I managed to do it on my third day of the trip. Great problem with sick moves, especially the feet first part and the compression at the end. Syked!"

Bouldering in Middle Earth  Facebook

Great review for the Route Setter Magazine  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureEric Hörst, one of the leading climbing trainers and authors the last 25 years, have made a review of Vertical-Life's new Route Setter Magazine, which can be bought for 5 Euros. Alternatively you might check it up in your gym as Vertical-Life has sent out one magazine to 1 000 different gyms around the globe.

"Just received this copy of the new #RouteSetter magazine published by @vertical.life.climbing. All I can say is “WOW!” @matthiaspolig (and his crew) have created a stunning publication—it’s the most amazing first issue of a magazine I’ve ever seen.

NOTE: This magazine is about much more than routesetting—I believe this will become THE worldwide trade magazine for everything gym oriented...including gym management, holds & wall manufacturing, gym software, training area design, “player” profiles, gym gear, new products, and more! Kudos to the @vertical.life.climbing crew for their vision and execution!"

Neanderthal 9b by Jakob Schubert  (1) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureJakob Schubert, double World Champion and World Cup winner in 2018, reports on Insta that he has done the first repeat of Chris Sharma's Neanderthal in Santa Linya from 2009. (c) John Campbell

"On my first day working this 115 moves (!!) monster I thought it will take a while to be able to send. But I quickly made a lot of progress and today (my 6th day on the route) I stuck the crux move and kept it together until the top."

Gareth Parry, winner of Arco Rock Master 2007, witnessed the ascent. "Classic Jakob, a cool, calculated and somewhat precision perfect ascent of another hard route. He looked well within his maximum. Back on the ground he said one of the hardest moments was to stay focused after the dyno and not let the mind play tricks and take over.

Limestone and sandstone holds get really breakable after rain  Facebook

We have been informed that although it has been raining a lot in Fontainebleau lately, many climb as soon the holds have dried. This should not be done as holds can break and it has actually happened many times. If you cannot wait 36 hours after a heavy rain in areas with limestone or sandstone, you should opt for slabs or Boulders with really solid holds.

Best hard core bouldering temperature is 2 - 10 degrees  (2) Facebook

Based on 800+ unique votes, "Best hard core bouldering temperature?", we can see that single digit temperature are preferred. Interesting is that 5 % think below freezing is the best. In comparison to a previous poll in 2015, the results are very similar.

05 % Below Freezing - 7 % 2015
32 % 4 celsius (39F) - 34 %
33 % 8 celsius (46F) - 29 %
17 % 12 celsius (54F) -14 %
12 % I enjoy the sun - 15 %

Find the best winter climbing destinations  (6) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureThe picture shows in which months the ascents in Leonidio have been recorded in the 8a data base. In Europe only Geyik Bayiri and El Chorro of the popular crags have a similar concentration in the winter season as Leonidio. Other great winter destinations in Europe are San Vito lo Capo on Sicily, Osp/Misja Pec, Arico on Tenerife, Fenda near Lisbon, Mallorca and crags around Malaga, Valencia and Barcelona.

Staring at the sea 8b+ by Angie Scarth-Johnson (14)  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureAngie Scarth-Johnson, who did an 8c+ being 12 years old, has done Staring at the sea 8b+ in Blue Mountains.

Two 8A (+)' by Oriane Bertone (13)  (5) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureOriane Bertone has repeated Madame X assis in Les Avirons giving it a personal graden of 8A. The next day, she did the FA of Agamemnon Assis 8A. "I send the sit version after 3 work sessions. I felt it harder than "Madame X", 15 meters from Agamemnon in the same area, which was called 8A+ in the topo. Wery happy for this second hard FA of the month, after Le Spartiate Sit Direct !"

In total, the 13 year old has done 13 Boulders 8A to 8B+ in 2018 and she is #2 in the female ranking game after Isabelle Faus. Video of her last four done boulders.

Iker Pou (41) 9b interview  (3) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureLast week Iker Pou did the FA of Artaburu in Margalef. In his words the route is by far the hardest he ever climbed but he never graded it. Now he says it is probably 9b but as such type of finger pockets is his strength, "it just might be harder."©Jordi Canyi

When did you bolt Artaburu?
I bolted the line in November 2012. I just tried it a little but couldn't do many moves... :)

Did you try it a lot or you also trained specifically?
It took me a lot of effort. I have tried the route every year when I could but I took it seriously in 2016. In both 2017 and 2018 I was close to send it but it didn't happen. Then recently I felt fitter and knowing the moves perfectly I did it. I have trained myself as usual but I did little changes. I did many meters outdoors but this year I went a lot of days to the gym Es Cau in Palma de Mallorca spending a couple of hours on the moonboard, after climbing outdoors. And in fact it worked cause I was stronger than ever.

Do you feel stronger being 41?
To be honest I feel really good, fit and maybe stronger than ever. The biggest difference is that I have to rest much more days than when I was younger but when I have a good day I see myself experienced and looseness (old dog!). The clue was train on plastic and lose 2kg.

Have you plans for harder routes?
Currently I don't have plans to try something really hard. I just want to stop sport climbing for a while and do some alpinism that motivates me a lot. Soon I will be psyched again to climb hard. Maybe if I find a cool line I will get focus onto it but now I need adventure and less sport climbs.

Merry X-mas and a Happy new 2019  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureHopefully this year has been full of good climbing and successful trips to beautiful crags and we wish you strong motivation into completing new challenges in 2019.

1 000 new routes in Kalymnos added in the new VL App  Facebook

Click to Enlarge Picture"The Kalymnos guidebook by @ariskaly and Roussos has been completely updated since the last edition was published in 2016. The digital version is now available in our app! The update has over 1,000 new routes and 12 crags that are only available in the app. Enjoy a total of 3,800 routes with full-color photo topos." More info

Dreamtime 8C by David Firnenburg  (3) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureDavid Firnenburg, who the last month has done his second 9a+ and done three 8c+', has done his first 8C, Dreamtime in Cresciano. Two years ago he was #3 in the Combined World Championship and his big goal is now Tokyo 2020.

"Fast switch from Spanish lead climbing to Swiss bouldering. Didn't expect the send today because I didn't feel the best but I thought why not giving it a try. And it went very well! First official 8C boulder for me. Psyched! THE Masterpiece in Cresciano. Very technical (heel hooks) and fingery climb. Did a static lock-off from crimp in the middle instead of dynamic move. Good conditions. Supporting crew. Thanks Andi, Simone, Remo and Martin! Stop thinking, just climb!"

21 min 8c+ onsight training with Ondra  Facebook

Very interesting comments by Adam Ondra from his onsight of Just Do It 8c+. He talks about taking risks, resting, screaming alerts and climbing efficient etc.

Reduce your climbing carbon footprint  Facebook

Rock climbing is a great nature sport as no constructed arena and limited equipment are needed and that goes especially for DWS and bouldering. At the same time, many of us take the car to the daily cragging and sometimes fly to other countries for climbing.

One way of reducing the travelling carbon footprint is to strengthen, develop and marketing the local climbing, which can be done by the local clubs, gyms and magazines.

While travelling, train or electrical cars are best and always opt for car pooling. You also have the option to climate compensation meaning that you pay a fee for your travelling. Low budget is the key for accommodation meaning avoiding fancy hotels and instead sleeping in the car or in a tent if possible.

In regards equipment, resoling your shoes or buying Mythos Eco Climbing Shoes where 95 % of the material used are recycled are great acts. Edelrid has an Eco rope and a carabiner made partly of steel in order to last much longer. Another way of reducing your carbon footprint is to buy second hand when possible.

Please feel free to add further tips how climbers can reduce their carbon footprint.

Palestina 8c+ (9a) by Alex Garriga (20)  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureAlex Garriga, who started climbing in 2014, has done Palestina in Cuenca giving it a personal 8c+ grade. The 20 year old, who previously has done two 9a', did his first 7c in 2015 and his first 8b in 2016. In 2018, he has also done 27 routes 8a and harder onsight.

"I believe that my progress is due to the conditions of where I live and to which I have climbed a lot these years. I climb six days a week. I have more than 1000 routes of all grades in 15 minutes. My goal is just to try to climb all the routes I can."

Artaburu 9b? by Iker Pou  Facebook

1974 Bolzano gym made by real Dolomiti rock  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureThe picture is from the "Prac" gym in Bolzano which was opened in 1974 as probably the first in Europe. Interestingly, the gym was built with real rocks from Val Gardena that was delivered by the army in trucks. In the early days, it was only the hard core big wall guys who frequented the gym in the winter. Now it has turned into a somewhat normal gym where part of the real rock walls have been covered by wood and plastic holds. (c) Dennis Moser

Estado Critico 9a (8c+) by Lucas Marques (37)  (1) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureLucas Marques has done Estado Critico in Siurana famous for being onsighted by Alex Megos as the first 9a in the world. Later 8c+ have been suggested or indicated by some. In total, the superb route has 35 ascents making it the most popular 9a in the world. (c) 100 limite filmes

"Such a great route! Long, bit bouldery and pumpy to the end. Hard shoulder moves in the end. So fanatic! About the grade it is harder than all the 8c+ I ever try and did, also, who am I to downgrade the first 9a onsight of the world. Lets celebrate and have fun! Thank you everybody who support me along this journey... Brasilll!!!Vamooo!!!

It took some months on 'real tries' last season and around 15 tries this season. I trained with the Brazilian coach Gustavo Fontes for a month that gave me the last power I needed. After all I was prepared and in a perfect day it came by it self. Was a hard mental battle for me..."

Ondra onsights Just Do It 8c+  (2) Facebook

Garnbret is the female Sport climber of 2018  (1) Facebook

Based on 2 100+ unique votes, Female Sport Climber of 2018?

35 % Janja Garnbret
32 % Margo Hayes
11 % Jessica Pilz
07 % Isabelle Faus
03 % Alex Puccio
12 % Other

So High - autobiography comics by Romain Desgranges  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureRomain Desgranges did his first Lead World Cup in 2003 and after 15 years contious progress he won overall in 2017 being like ten years older then the rest of the competitors. The same year, the 35 year old won the European Championship.

As a kid he wanted to be a soccer player which his parents did not like so much so they made him try different sports. Being a late bloomer, Romain struggled a lot but with a great team and several exploring mainly bouldering trips around the world, he kept his motivation high and trained mentally. It is really interesting to get inside Romain's head and learn how he kept fighting reading and watching all illustrations.

In 2016, he came in contact with illustrator Flore Beaudulin and it just might be that the whole process om making a comics autobiography worked out as the perfect mental training that made him the best competition climber in the world 2017, being 35 years old. Buy it for Euro 24

"A slip of the foot, the fall, months and years of efforts going up in smoke. In 2015, Romain Desgranges comes within a hair's breadth of winning the Climbing World Cup. He chooses to overcome his disappointment into the Californian desert of Joshua Tree.

Only surrounded by "Big boulders", he confronts his fears by climbing solo these granite blocks, some of which reach heights up to 10 meters and more. Falling is forbidden; the fear of failure getting confused with the fear of dying. By exposing one to the other, Romain slowly finds his own path again. This maiden trip is at the core of the autobiographical work he started, soon joined by Flore Beaudelin, a graphic designer. At first, there was a movie, then this graphic novel, to illustrate a lifetime journey through the passion of climbing. Eight chapters will follow Romain Desgranges from his childhood dreams to the World Cup podium. "So High" is the name given by the climbers to the highest of the boulders."

Railay at risk due to safety issues  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureBjörn Alber, aka Dr 8a, reports that the titanium bolts from 2005 on his route Beauty and the Beast have been cut down due to pressure from thai marine park rangers.

"The pressure originates from the viral popularity this route got on youtube. This poses two treats. Firstly; people startled to jump out on the stalactite on toprope (you were supposed to lean out) posing a risk of stalactite breaking, secondly; due to the popularity and so many new “gym rats” without the necessary skills , the accidents on the route increased dramatically.

This year we also see more tourists climbing up to access ladders on the crags- most of them unfit to do so and some of them even drunk. The Thai authorities have no real interest in climbing and more accidents (even involving non climbers) will likely result in a total close down of all Railey climbing. Please help to keep us climbing here by climbing safe!"

Artaburu 9b? FA by Iker Pou (41)  (2) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureIker Pou reports on Instagram his FA of Artaburu in Margalef. No grade was mentioned but the 41 year old, who previously has done four 9a+', says it is his hardest route ever. In 2000, Iker did the second repeat of Action Directe 9a. More info coming up. ©Jordi Canyi

"ARTABURU ": WITHOUT DOUBT, THE HARDEST ROUTE I HAVE EVER DONE! I had a dream and finally it has come true: I'm very happy and I still can not believe what could have gotten me up there. I had to be very Artaburu (Cabezón or brute in Euskera) to get it enchained. It has been the greatest physical and mental struggle I have ever faced. I have finally been able to climb the most futuristic route I have ever bolted. Undoubtedly, it is the most difficult thing I have ever managed to do, infinitely harder than everything done so far."

Best temperature for hard core bouldering?  Facebook

Sending conditions and tricks during winter  Facebook

Many of the best climbers think that the best sending conditions are found during 5 degrees. If it is a sunny wall, you can climb also during freezing conditions. Here are some tips how to keep warm. It is all about transporting your 37 degrees blood out to your finger tips.

1. Warm up indoors properly including also max power
2. Tight long arm sleeves, wrist warmers and mitts
3. Cut of the finger tips of your gloves
4. Chemical hand warmers in the chalk bag
5. Sweater with belly pockets (cut them to warm hand on your stomach)
6. Big shoes so you can wear a socket
7. Put your shoes and gloves inside your jacket

Rollito Sharma extension 8c by Molly Thompson Smith  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureMolly Thompson Smith has done Rollito Sharma extension 8c in Santa Linya and she is #6 in the ranking game. "It took 3 goes in 2 sessions to do Rollito, then I worked the extension after I did it. Then 2 goes from the ground the next session."

In 2017 Molly was #7 in the Lead World Cup. Last December she ruptured three pulleys in a ring finger. Fully recovered she is going for the Olympics and this winter her focus are Bouldering and Speed, preparing for the selections and hopefully some WCs.

Ondra is the Climber of 2018  (1) Facebook

Based on 2 500+ unique votes, Climber of 2018?

47 % Adam Ondra
13 % Alex Megos
13 % Jakob Schubert
10 % Stefano Ghisolfi
07 % Jernej Kruder
04 % Daniel Woods
06 % Other

Karoshi 8C by Paul Robinson  (4) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PicturePaul Robinson has done his 6th 8C FA, Karoshi in Hueco Tanks. "What a perfect way to end the trip! Found this line with Keith in feb 2018. Could not wait to come back this winter and get back on it. Sharp but such a perfect hard crimper line!

The area known as the 5 bimbos on east mountain has been closed for approximately 20 years due to erosion. Hueco tanks has since put in anti erosion measures in the area and has reopened the boulder to climbing in 2017. Now people can enjoy about 15 boulders problems in the area ranging from in the 6th grade to ~8C.

In total, Paul has done 918 boulders 8A and harder out of which 19 8C's. Is there anybody who could challenge Paul becoming the first one breaking 1 000? (c) Keith Allen - Westmountainmedia

8C+ FA by Heli Kotter  Facebook

Ondra doing Assassin 9a  Facebook

FAs in Clear Creek by Woods and Robinson  Facebook

Durif & Larson: Video: A world less traveled, Brazil  Facebook

Adam Ondra exploring in Chile  Facebook

Adam Ondra y experiencia en Valle de los Cóndores from rocanbolt on Vimeo.

Login Cabin 8A+ by Isabelle Faus  (5) Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureIsabelle Faus has done her 34th 8A+, Login Cabin in St Vrain and she is now quite superior in the 8a ranking game. (c) Chad Greedy

"Wow !!!! So psyched, when I first tried this boulder I wrote it off as too morpho... but where’s there’s a will there’s a way.... one of my fav ascents recently. Super hard for me, full extention the whole time, fun fun !!"

James Mchaffie Discovering La Pedriza  Facebook

Euro Youth Cups and Championships in 2019  Facebook

Here are the dates for the European Youth Cups in 2019 and further down also the Championships.

27-28/4 Soure POR (B)
10-12/5 Graz AUT (B)
25-26/5 Sofia BUL (B)
22-23/6 Ostermundigen SUI (L)
29-30/6 St Pierre Faucigny FRA (L)
03-04/8 Imst AUT (L)

22-30/8 Arco World Championship (prel)
21-22/9 Brixen ITA (B) Euro Championship
18-20/10 Voronezh RUS (L) Euro Championship
More IFSC info

Cheerleader 8B+ by Israel Olcina (43)  Facebook

Click to Enlarge PictureIsrael Olcina (43) has done the second accent of Beto Rocasolano's Cheerleader 8B+ in Castillo de Bayuela, Spain. It is his second 8B+. Israel is a respected climber having been one of the first Spanish climbers to climb 8A in the late 90's. © Inés Tostado

"How has been the process on Cheerleader?
I had seen it when Beto did it in march. I was amazed with the line and I couldn't get it out my mind back then. I stopped trying it at the end of the season and without the first move due to a index injury and I back to it end of november. The problem climbs an overhang to a roof and the section is a 7-8 moves where the first three are the hardest.

Daily Training Plans through the VL App  Facebook

In the Vertical-Life training App you can choose from 10 different "daily plans". Once you have entered your your gym and level, as well as type of focus on your training, the App will direct you to do specific routes and boulders in the Vertical-Life connected gyms. Here you can invite your gym. It also tells you when to rest and after the session you will report back and say how tired you were and the system will adjust until your next session.

In the future, you will be able to create longer training plans with a focus on a certain ambition during your next trip etc.

Female Sport Climber of 2018?  (10) Facebook

Sport Male Climber of 2018?  Facebook

Three 8a's by Cathy Wagner (53)  Facebook

Cathy Wagner has added another three 8a's to her ticklist out of which one in Virignin and two in Blavet. This means that the 53 year old has done 64 routes 8a to 8b in 2018. In total, Cathy has done 699 routes 8a to 8b which just might be most in the world among the female.

Bombero de la Roca 7a+ in Sant Llorenç del Munt  Facebook


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