11 November 2023

Andre Branchizio does Paint it black (8C)

Andre Branchizio has done Paint it Black (8C) at RMNP. Previously he has done seven 8B’s and ond 8B+, all of them in between 2017 and 2019.

Paint it black was a very technical boulder. It's all about controlled tension and precision. As far as I know the crux sequences have always been done with exactly the same beta. Thats probably not coincidence. If any one thing is out of place you instantly fly off the steep face. The session previous to sending it, the top out was covered in snow and ice. I cleaned it the best I could and spent the session rehearsing the sequences.

On Sunday November 5th I convinced my two kids to come to the boulder with me as my wife is currently in Ireland for work and more snow was on its way. I probably spent more time carrying the pads and kids across the icy creek than at the boulder. I set everything up while my kids were playing real life Minecraft in the woods behind the boulder. I used a stool to rehearse the hop move once and then sent it on the first go of the day. It was a strange feeling like I was just an observer watching it happen while every part of me just executed with its own mind. It's a beautiful line just begging to be climbed, one of the best in Colorado.

It looks like you took a break from high-end bouldering prior to this ascent?
Around March 2020, believe it or not, I got an infection in my left hand from acupuncture! It ended up requiring surgery. As if that wasn't unfortunate enough, the world shut down the following week from Covid. The company I worked for at the time was heavily impacted by Covid, so I had to recover from surgery before I could climb again and also find a new job. Over the next few years I moved through two more jobs that were significantly more demanding. Between all my time used up for work and my two kids there just wasn't enough time for outdoor climbing. Honestly there wasn't enough time for anything else.

How many sessions did the ascent take?
Before I stopped climbing I had already put 4 sessions into Paint it Black. The only crux for me was flipping the left hand to a pinch without my feet cutting. I wasted a couple sessions trying to break the beta by just doing the hop without flipping to a pinch. 4 years later when I came back I committed to figuring out the hand flip. The first session back I figured that part out and it took me 3 more sessions just to build my climbing fitness back. So 8 sessions total, 4 in 2019 and 4 in 2023.
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