NEWS

Monday, 18 January

Supernowa 8c+ (9a) by Gonzalo Larrocha (36)

Gonzalo Larrocha has done Supernowa in Vadiella, suggesting a personal 8c+ downgrade. The 36-year-old has previously done 20 routes 9a and harder in the last five years, but including also his personal grades it would have been 25. "Excellent endurance route. I think I used 21 kneebars out of which several have not been used before, so I think it lacks a bit for 9a."

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EDITORIAL

Monday, 18 January

Pendulum - Rob Pizem Balances Life and Climbing

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Female version best also for kids and thin climbers

EDITORIAL

Monday, 18 January

Female version best also for kids and thin climbers

Adam Ondra has written an interesting post on Insta commenting on when he uses different types of shoes. "For all kids and teenagers, female versions will most likely be the better option. Your weight and shoe size will be a pretty decisive factor for the perception of the stiffness."

It can also be said that the softer the shoes, the more you train your feet and toes. Old 8a article saying: Train with soft shoes and perform with stiffer ones. The picture shows Ondra's 44-sized foot compared to one of the 39-sized shoes he has been using.

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Monday, 18 January

Ghisolfi and his project Erebor 9b/+

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Oriane Bertone has done Antoine Vandeputte's Super Tanker 8B+ from 2007 in Fontainebleau. In the 8a ranking game, the 15-year-old is #4. "I was a little bit lucky because it is now snowing in the forest in Font! I was surprised to top "Aresie" in one session some weeks ago. After that, I told myself that I could try the super classic extension of this boulder. I had seen Jan Hojer's magic video on this boulder, which is much taller than me :-). So I always thought that it was for me an impossible dream line. Finally I was very happy to top the boulder two sessions after Atresie, with almost the same beta!"

Sunday, 17 January

Super Tanker 8B+ by Oriane Bertone (15)

Oriane Bertone has done Antoine Vandeputte's Super Tanker 8B+ from 2007 in Fontainebleau. In the 8a ranking game, the 15-year-old is #4. "I was a little bit lucky because it is now snowing in the forest in Font! I was surprised to top "Aresie" in one session some weeks ago. After that, I told myself that I could try the super classic extension of this boulder. I had seen Jan Hojer's magic video on this boulder, which is much taller than me :-). So I always thought that it was for me an impossible dream line. Finally I was very happy to top the boulder two sessions after Atresie, with almost the same beta!"

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Saturday, 16 January

Best Climbing Shoes 2021?

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Sehnsucht 9a/+ by Roland Wagner (41)

Friday, 15 January

Sehnsucht 9a/+ by Roland Wagner (41)

Roland Wagner, who did his first (and hitherto only) 9a in 2015, has repeated Klem Loskot's Sehnsucht 9a/+ in Salzburg Land. (c) Flo Scheimpflug

”first tried the route in 2018, and then again in 2019. Momentum was really starting to build in 2020 and the last couple months my life basically revolved on and around the route. As I wrote in my scorecard, somehow putting it all together felt incredibly hard - both physically and mentally. I never tried so hard for anything before.

It took me a total of 30 days to send Sehnsucht, which translates to something like 'longing, desire, or yearning'. In the end, I 'only' had to wait for perfect conditions and just like that, months of longing came to an end. The 30m route was first ascended totally under the radar (like lots of other hard routes and boulders) by legendary Klem Loskot in 2013. Trying the route was an amazing process that reminded me why climbing always was and hopefully will be such an important part of my life. I felt in shape in 2018, but couple injuries and setbacks in 2019 really made me doubt whether progress was possible at 40. Now being 41 I'm certain it is! I also wanna shout out many thanks to Maddie for her support - she's always there with me, rain or shine. Many thanks also to all the other people who came out, shared their motivation, and made this an awesome time.”


So how can you explain sending your hardest route 40+? 1) I think there's always so many aspects to climbing a hard route. First and foremost, I believe it's about motivation, an obsession if you will. It's crazy what's possible once you really set your mind on it. And I really, really wanted to climb the route. It's a beauty.

2) I'm always amazed by people ticking 8Cs left and right supposedly by climbing barely two days a week without any structured training. For me, that's certainly not the case. A typical day in the last weeks leading up to the send would look like a mellow 10k run plus some callisthenics exercises, followed by an hour and a half of yoga (I started practising 10 years ago), then an hour and a half of near max bouldering at my climbing wall (partially with a weight vest), and finally some weighted pull-ups, hangs, and core exercises. The next day I would spend on the project, and in the evening I would do more strength exercises (though at a reduced volume). Then repeat the circle for a total of 5-6 climbing days per week. Sometimes I would even go back to the crag on rest days and climb a ton of easy pitches just to get a better feel for the rock (I must have spent hundreds of days up there). It's important to say that I really build-up to this regimen. So I felt in some sort of balance or equilibrium, gaining just a little bit of fitness with each and every day. It was also paramount for me that other aspects of my life were in order (I feel that's certainly not entirely in our hands and needs a bit of luck and the right timing - see below).

3) Staying injury-free was key. It for sure needed a little bit of luck and I do believe it needs a bit of luck in general to send your hardest route. In the summer I had some elbow issues and I stumbled upon a nice vlog from Dave MacLeod were he concludes that systematic and daily strength exercises solved the problem for him. And it actually solved it for me as well.

4) Being at the right place at the right time. It ties in with what I mentioned about the extra bit of luck I needed. We had a bomber fall, followed by an exceptional winter. Sunny days on end, with cold and dry conditions. We barely got any snow in the mountains so far, and that's very unusual. It also seemed like perfect timing cause it's supposed to snow all week.

5) Inspiration: I just recently watched the pipe masters (surfing is another passion of mine) and saw Kelly Slater being 48 making it all the way to the semis. A word-class performance enabled by exceptional talent, but also by a never-ending will to improve, experience, and a healthy lifestyle. I also enjoy watching all sorts of climbing movies, for example, Magnus' incredible displays of strength. Or all the young local crushers! I mean they are doing one-arm pull-ups with 50 pounds extra. That really helps against becoming complacent and thinking that one's strength levels couldn't be improved.

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Should ethical standards depend on grade?

EDITORIAL

Friday, 15 January

Should ethical standards depend on grade?

If my 8-year-old dabs his first 5A, I don't tell him that his new personal best isn't valid. On the other hand, ascents of historical importance in the climbing community must submit to the highest ethical standards regarding onsight, rope drag, dabbing, etc.

Yannick Flohe recently did Dreamtime 8B+ (C) but in his video you can see him touching a tree while lifting his foot for a heal-hook in the super easy ending. In the video he added a sticker, "Dab", when it happens, and he also mentions it in his Insta. Some have claimed this send isn't valid. In this case, I think it's ok, as there's a video showing exactly how it happened and it evidently didn't help him.

However, had it been an 8C+, I would have been more sceptical, especially if he had done it some years ago. Had it been a 9A, I would have strongly questioned the ascent, and had it been the world's first 9A I would say it's not valid.

Onsight ethics are more difficult as they have changed over the years. Yuji Hirayama has been credited for doing the world's first 8c onsight in 1999, even though he belayed his friend on the route several times before his ascent. I totally trust that Yuji wasn't helped by belaying his partner. In other words, one could say he onsighted it!

On the other hand, should this be considered the world's first 8c onsight? I don't think so, unless it's always clearly mentioned that “he had previously belayed his friend several times”, whenever this onsight is mentioned. Furthermore, for safety reasons we don't want this onsight approach to become standard as it means the belayer needs to look down.

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Drew Ruana - Short and long time focused

Thursday, 14 January

Drew Ruana - Short and long time focused

Drew Ruana, finishing #13 in the Combined World Championship of 2019, had ascended one 8B+ when he stopped competing in last October. That meant he skipped the Continental Olympic qualifying event. Now, 15 months later, he has done 30 boulders 8B+ and harder including four 8C+, although starting full-time University Chemical engineering studies in September. The 21-year-old was awarded the title of 8a male boulderer of 2020. (c) Alton Richardson

How can you explain the extreme progress you made in 2020?
I didn’t really make progress I think, I was always that strong. It was just the first time I had time to invest on boulders. I’m just not that good at comp climbing compared to outdoors.

How important was the Olympic comp training?
I got physically stronger in a weight room but that was about it. Pressure training on sending a comp boulder in 5 minutes doesn’t translate to working a single move on a crux Boulder for weeks on end.

How did a normal week look like in 2020, including training?
Wake up, if I feel good I go outside to whatever I feel like. Usually, I’d just pick a project that looked cool and try it till I did it. I stopped training in general actually. I just liked being outside more than in a gym.

Which was your most memorable send in 2020?
Probably Sleepwalker (8C+) because I didn’t fully believe that I could send v16. Then I did it in 7 or 8 days and It didn’t feel all too hard so I knew that I could do way harder boulders.

How were you and your climbing affected by Covid-19?
I was lucky enough to not be too affected by Covid. I kept to myself and tried to stay isolated from other groups of people. Only went to boulders that I knew nobody else would be at.

What are your plans and ambition for 2021?
I’d like to just keep doing more new fun boulders, I just like being outside.

Any advice you can give to youngsters who want to progress?
Think long term. I switched my thinking habits from monthly progress to yearly progress. Also, nobody ever does enough. You can always push just a little bit harder.

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Purple Panther 8C FA by Pol Roca Lopez

Thursday, 14 January

Purple Panther 8C FA by Pol Roca Lopez

Pol Roca Lopez, who has previously done two 8C's and eight 8B+', reports on Insta that he has done the FA of Purple Panther (8C) in Taradell. (c) Chris Sharma

"It was a long process. Chris Sharma and I saw this project and he was motivated to clean it up and leave it ready to test. After a long time, we found the method, the next part of the battle began which took about 3 months! It is a very physical and explosive block but at the same time technical for the feet! The first five moves are really intense but not very hard. The second part is the crux including two moves out of which one very hard. The third part is also intense, where it is easy to make mistakes. Putting all this together is hard!

Chris is close to send it. We have previously put up ten boulders in the 8th grade. There are still a lot of projects in the same area and some even more difficult!"

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