Life of Villains 9a by Rollin Grimmet

27 November 2022

Rollin Grimmett has done Life Of Villains (9a). The 30-year-old has only been climbing consistently for eight years and has mainly been climbing outdoors. "Wow, feels like a dream. I worked on basically only this route all of last winter, almost every weekend driving down from SLC. Lost count of how many attempts, but probably close to 80 tries over the past 2 years. So incredibly psyched."

Can you tell us more about your climbing background and the ascent?
I fell in love with the movement and problem solving nature of climbing, and from the beginning, I could tell I was naturally proficient. Efficient movement and even the subtle adjustments needed, all came intuitively. But I wasn't immediately very strong. When I first started climbing, I never imagined I'd send 8a, let alone 9a. I was barely climbing 7a outside. But I consistently improved because I was excited to try harder than what I thought I was capable of. I always wanted to be better, and I surrounded myself with friends who would push me. Each year since my first 8a I would project outside of my comfort zone, and each year I would send a new grade, culminating in my send of 9a with 'Life of Villains' last week. Consistently, I would devote whatever time and effort was required.

The key in sport climbing for me is to be as efficient as possible. I don't usually do much traditional training in the gym, I prefer to just climb. So often in the gym in between new sets, I would "train" by repeating hard boulders I had done before. I feel like that's a great way to learn efficiency in movement. I guess I've been pretty fortunate to avoid most injuries or issues that some climbers might experience when ramping up training too fast.

I first tried 'Life of Villains' (LoV) halfway through the Winter of 2020/21. It was my first full season in the Hurricave, and I had sent Peregrination and 86'd. I was feeling quite fit and was inspired by watching Dru Mack and others try LoV. All the moves on the route felt hard, but I could tell the route suited my style. It was crimpy and required excellent power endurance, my specialty. But I knew it was well above my ability at the time. I would fall over and over in the middle crux, and only once made it through before I fell shortly after.

A year later I returned for the winter 2021/22 season. LoV was my singular goal every weekend for almost 5 months. I was stronger this time but needed better endurance. I was steadily improving, falling higher and higher, even once on the last move. But I made a crucial mistake. I limited myself to only giving redpoint attempts. I started losing power, and began falling back at the earlier crux. By the time I course-corrected, the season came to a close, and it was too warm. Since then, this year has been one of immense growth for me. I chose climbing goals that would challenge me, I focused on routes that would train my power through the summer. I sent Supertweak (first American 8c) with pretty hot conditions in July, and also spent way more time bouldering in the gym to train. When I returned this season, LoV felt like an old friend. Like as if it hadn't been 7.5 months since my last try. But this time I felt way more solid. Everything felt smooth, exactly how you want it to feel. And 2 sessions in I was already falling near the end of the redpoint crux. Last weekend I fell twice in a row one move away from the jug at the lip, and I was pretty confident it would happen soon. I took two rest days (crucial for me on this route), returned Wednesday and immediately sent. I executed everything perfectly, it was so flowy it felt like I was on autopilot.

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