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8c+ and 9a by Janja Garnbret (18)  (12) Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureJanja Garnbret, who set a new IFSC record in 2017 by winning nine World Cups, has done her first 9a, Seleccio natural in Santa Linya and the 18 year old just needed five tries. The day before she did Open your mind 8c+ meaning that the Slovenien takes the Sport Climber of the year crown from Adam Ondra who has had if for the last seven years straight. (c) Eddie Fowke

 
 
8B+ FA by Giuliano Cameroni  Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureGiuliano Cameroni has spotted an amazing line on a new block in Cresciano and made the FA of Great Escape 8B+. The big question is how did he move next from the crazy position on the picture?

""Amazing boulder! The crux is really intense and it consists on this crazy double-toe-hook that unlocks a great compression on perfect rock. One of the best boulders in Ticino for sure! Situated above "La Proue".

Giuliano recently made many first ascents in Ticino and a video will come up soon. In the 8a ranking game, the 20 year old Swizz is #5.

 
 
Sandstone trad in Drabske Svetnicky  Facebook
 

 
 
Living the Carlos Higuera dream  Facebook
 


Living the Dream from Carlos Higuera on Vimeo.

 
 
Grades are very important!  Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureChris Sharma put up Era Vella in 2010 and he actually did it as his warming up and thought it was a soft 9a. The super nice route very quickly became the most repeated 9a and during 2015 it was repeated seven times. At the same time, some climbers that wanted to stay anonymous said it was 8c+ and we forward this message also saying that the statistics suggested it might be too soft to be 9a.

In the 8a forum several climbers did complain that we commented on the grade and we answered that we just want to give as accurate news as possible. During 2015, Jonathan Siegrist and Magnus Midtbö were the first two who officially come forward saying it is not 9a.

What is very interesting is since the grade discussion two years ago, Era Vella has only been repeated once in 2016 and once in 2017. In other words, climbing grades are very important when top climbers choose which project to take down.

In the 8a data base, all 14 that have star rated it, have given it 3 stars and some have said it is one of the best route ever. The brutal fact is, in other words, that the quality is less important in comparison to how soft or hard graded the route is.

Climbers should focus on the beauty of the climbs and "never mind all that (grades)", as Jonathan Siegrist so nicely hint in is blog and leave the grade to the media who want to report as correct news (grades) as possible. On the picture is Magnus Midtbö.

It should be mentioned that 8a several times, based on anonymous comments and statistics, has forwarded down grading speculations and as a matter of fact, later the climb or actually whole areas have been down graded; Ticino, Rocklands, Lleida and Kalymnos are examples of this.

 
 
Climbing school for the very poor in Rio  Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureCentro de Escalada Urbana was founded in 2010 and aims to use climbing as a tool to engage and mentor at-risk youth from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. It was co-founded by Andrew Lenz, a professionally certified climbing instructor with over 15 years of experience running community outreach programs in different slums around the city. The program offers free climbing classes (both indoor and outdoor) to youth from the ages 8 to 20 years old in Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio. It also has a scholarship program that supports 3 youth mentors, allowing them to stay in school and in the program rather than leaving their studies behind to work mediocre jobs in order to pay bills. These youth receive a monthly scholarships and in exchange are responsible for finishing their high school studies, opening and managing the indoor climbing wall in Rocinha 3 times a week, studying English at a course the program enrolled them in, competing in local climbing competitions, as well as climbing outdoors once a week with the goal of working towards getting their professional guiding certification.

Today the program counts on the support of the local climbing community for volunteer work and on the international climbing community for gear and monetary donations. The program has a monthly cost of about 1200 Euros per month to cover the rent of the community space that houses the wall, the three scholarships and small operational costs (for those that think this is high, its good to remember that, although Rio has wide spread poverty and social inequality, its still one of the most expensive cities in the Americas). In the beginning, the program was mostly just Andrew taking a small group of about 4 -5 kids out to climb on the 200 meter cliffs that tower over the Rocinha slum. During the first few years the greatest challenge was logistical, managing to get the youth together, travel around the city and safely teach them on the multi-pitch routes that Rio has most off, all with limited resources and volunteers.

The number of students attending the program never surpassed 8-10. But in 2015, through the support of a few international organizations such as Beyond Gear (USA) and Urban Uprising (UK) he was able to put together enough funds to rent a space inside the slum and build a small bouldering wall. This immediately helped double the size the group of youth the program was were able to work with as well as the sort of attention they are able to give them. C.E.U. still depends on volunteer instructors though, which makes it difficult to maintain consistent outing and focused training.

Today they still teach outdoor climbing, but have widely expanded their indoor program. The state wide junior boulder championship was won by one of students. We have another student climbing as hard as 7c on single pitch routes and V10 boulder problems, and still another that is specializing in multi pitch trad routes.

2018 has a lot of potential for C.E.U. They want to double the size of group, working with up to 40 youth, including a program just for young women climbers. We want to bring in more professional instructors (our dream would be able to offer paid positions, ensuring quality and consistency) and are also hoping to expand on many parallel cultural and environmental activities that can be offered to our youth. It could be a difficult year though if the program doesn’t manage to raise enough funds to at least pay their monthly costs. At this point they are guaranteed to operate until May of 2018.

More info and here you can support them with cash.

 
 
Alex Honnold Free Solo Climbing Yosemite's El Capitan  Facebook
 

 
 
Spankenjura  Facebook
 


The SPANKENJURA // full film from White Van Media on Vimeo.

 
 
Barbara Zangerl one of La Sportiva's strange hero  Facebook
 

 
 
8a Climber of the year 2017 - Draft  (30) Facebook
 

Here is a quick draft for Climber of 2017. As all previous years, we give more credit to the ones doing many ascents in different disciplines. Please comment to update the list.

1. Janja Garnbret
2. Adam Ondra
3. Alex Megos
4. Stefano Ghisolfi
5. Alex Puccio
6. Anak Verhoeven
7. Jan Hojer
8. Angela Eiter
9. Margo Hayes
10. Alexey Rubtsov, Tomoa Narasaki, James Webb, Shauna Coxsey, Ashima Shiraishi, Jongwon Chon, Mikaela Kiersch, Jernej Kruder, Jakob Schubert, Romain Desgranges, Laura Rogara, Keita Watabe, Christof Rauch, Akiyo Noguchi, Stasa Gejo, Moho Nonaka, Jain Kim, Nalle Hukkataival, Charles Alber, Kokoro Fujii, Claire Buhrfeind, Domen Skofic, Mina Markovic, Jonathan Siegrist, Jessica Pilz, Julia Chanouride, Molly Thompson-Smith, Keiichiro Korenaga, Chris Sharma, Ryuichi Murai, Alberto Rocasolano, Piotr Schab, Paul Robinson, Jorge Diaz-Rullo, Daisuke Ichimiya, Dai Koyamada, Lara Neumeier, Karoline Sinnhuber, Nina Williams, Katherine Choong, Jorg Verhoeven, Steve McClure, David Graham, Daniel Woods, Anna Stöhr, Sasha Digiulian, Dani Andrada, Nina Caprez, Sean McColl, Melissa Le Neve, Ramon Julian Puigblanque, Giuliano Cameroni, Seb Bouin, Steve McClure, Gabri Moroni, Mathieu Bouyoud, Patxi Usobiaga, David Firnenburg, Toby Saxton, Daniel Fuertes, Ned Feehally

 
 
Jonathan Siegrist signs up with 31 9a's and harder  Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureJonathan Siegrist, one of the top climbers the last ten years who did three 9a+' this year, has signed up to 8a with 270 recorded ascents, including several personal grades. He is also active on Instagram.

In the 8a ranking game J-Star is #4 and Rock & Ice has done a 2017 summary interview.

 
 
Climbing in Malta  Facebook
 


Climbing in Gozo - White Tower & Tower of Power from Damian Czermak on Vimeo.

 
 
Jenya Kazbekova climbing in Turkey  Facebook
 


Rock climbing Turkish trip 2017 from Karpenko ilya on Vimeo.

 
 
First repeat of Salamandre 9a+ from 2007 by Dherbilly  (3) Facebook
 

Baptiste Dherbilly did the first repeat of Fred Rouhling's Salamandre 9b from 2007 this October. As his personal previous best was 8c+ he could not comment on the 9a+ FA suggestion. "I like the sensation when I climb at my supra max level because I have to be really focus on the present moment and all the other thing about the life are leaving my head. I am just thinking about my movement and my climb. This route was a myth for me because the poster of Fred was my first climbing poster when I began climbing."

 
 
Adam Ondra tries McClure's Rainman 9b  Facebook
 

 
 
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year  Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureIn our database there are now 4.6 million rated ascents that could help you to find the best crags and routes/boulders in the world. Selecting the next destination, you can search the crag list and analyze average stars and onsight rating etc. In the Ticklists, you can select a grade and a sector and make a list of the routes or boulders you would like to try.

 
 
9a FA by Adam Ondra in Sperlonga  Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureAdam Ondra has been some days in Sperlonga outside Rome where he did the FA of La Teoria del Gest 9a. "Climb most of Grandi Gesti, keep left all the way to the Cavalieri Selvaggi anchor. Unfortunately good kneebar before the final crux, which is reachy and all about strange fingerlock."

The original and often repeated Grande Gesti he gave a personal 8c+ grade. He was also trying another variation that could be. More great pictures atLivellozero.net

 
 
Lama, Auer and Blümel attempting the SE-ridge of Annapurna III  Facebook
 

 
 
Bolting and Climbing in Ulassai in Sardinia  Facebook
 


Bolting and Climbing in Ulassai, Sardinia from Thomas Dauser on Vimeo.

 
 
Extreme progress also in 2017  (3) Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureLast year, we wrote about extreme progress in 2016 and it continues in 2017. Until 2015, the progress had been quite slow so the new levels reached by the climbing community is just remarkable.

It started with Margo Hayes making the first ever female 9a+, which later also Anak Verhoeven managed to do, and Angela Eiter did the first female 9b, (c) Red Bull Contenpool/E. Holzknecht. Bear in mind that only two guys (Ondra and Sharma) in the history have climbed harder grades. Adam Ondra reached a new level by establishing the first 9c and also Steve McClure's (45) 9b FA is another new level.

We can copy what was said in 2016, "More guys than ever have done 9a+ and 9b's routes." And the same goes for the girls doing 8c+ and harder.
Charles Albert 8C+ barefoot is also a new standard.

The only discipline where we do not see progress is in onsight of routes and flashes of boulders. The top level for onsights are 9a but apart from Ondra, very few 8c onsights in 2016.

 
 
Do you spot the belay mistake in the Grigri instruction video?  Facebook
 

Some ten years ago, at the time when we saw several GriGri accidents, 8a suggested a new method which later Petzl adopted. We also made several of the sponsored athletes how to belay in a safer way. Some year ago, we made Petzl video that had been showed 500 000 times, delete it as it did show wrong technique. The belay mistake in the latest video is not so big but anyhow strange that the it did pass through. Do you see what we mean?

 
 
Shattered heel to bouldering 8B+  Facebook
 

 
 
Maltatal Montage - Paul Robinson and David Mason  Facebook
 

 
 
First 8B by Michaela Kiersch  Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureMichaela Kiersch arrived to Hueco Tanks ten days ago having done just one 8A three years ago. First she flashed one 8A and did her first 8A+. Yesterday she did Crown of Aragorn 8B. In total she has done seven boulders 8A to 8B and is now #2 in the 8a ranking game. (c) Petzl

"I went into my trips to Hueco Tanks with no expectations because I had never been there before and I don't consider myself to be a "boulderer." I have just graduated from university and in 2018 I am looking forward to seeing what happens when I focus more energy into my climbing."

 
 
Película Sharanam Ganesha Project  Facebook
 


Película Sharanam Ganesha Project from Haka Honu on Vimeo.

 
 
Routesetting insights in German  Facebook
 

 
 
45 sec and different moves are needed for maximum power gain  (6) Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureClimbers seems to think that doing campus moves as well as doing 10 second dead hangs are the best ways to get more power. Interestingly, Björn Alber suggest that the real power gain mainly comes through muscle growth doing different type of exercises, during 45-60 seconds, instead of just hanging in one finger position. This will also reduce the risk for injury.

As the video suggest some exercises hard to do in your gym, here are some climbing moves that Alber thinks also could be done. Start with warming up, followed up with 2 second recruitment moves and 10 second contact strength exercises. Finish of with 45 seconds sequences doing some 8 - 12 moves per hand. Rest as long as you you need to maintain full power. Remember, this should only be done by the advanced climbers and a program should take 45 - 90 minutes and it should involve as many different moves and strengths as possible.

The easiest way is to use a system board or hit strips as you want to repeat the same type of moves, challenging; Open-crimp, Open-hand and Sloopers doing also different types of Pinches, Underclings, Gaston and Cross-over moves etc. In practice this means that you challenge different types of muscles until failure. Once you need longer than 5 minutes rest, although going for different types of moves, you should finish your session.

Start slowly and take a rest day after a hard session. After some weeks you will feel stronger due to muscle growth in all of your forearm muscles.

 
 
Nacho Sánchez doing Esperanza 9a  (3) Facebook
 


Nacho Sánchez - Esperanza (9a) from enadan on Vimeo.

 
 
Bouldering on Gran Canaria #2  Facebook
 

 
 
Hannes Puman does 8B with one shoe  Facebook
 

 
 
Honnold and Ondra did the most ground breaking ascents in 2017  (3) Facebook
 

Based on a poll with close to 3 000 unique votes, in regards the most ground breaking ascents in 2017?

35 % Alex Honnold solo on El Cap
35 % Adam Ondra doing the first 9c
23 % Angela Eiter doing the first female 9b
05 % Margo Hayes doing the first female 9a+
02 % Other

 
 
Hannes Puman (19) sends 8B with just one shoe  Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureHannes Puman, #11 in the Lead WC 2017, is now visiting La Pedriza in Spain and reports on his Instagram account that he has done Flor de Lotto 8B without one shoe. Also, he did in the same day 7A, 8A, 7B+, 8B, 7C, 7C+ , 8A FA flashed and a 7A+. In the pic flashing La Décima Revelación 8A. (C) Talo Martín - Muérdago Films

 
 
The Japaneses and Janja will dominate in 2018 even more  Facebook
 

In regards to the IFSC 2017 review her are some thoughts on 2018.

1. Even stronger domination by the Japaneses which in practice means they will normally have 50 % of the finalists in Bouldering and 25 % in Lead.
2. Janja Garnbret will continue her extreme overall domination.
3. Most of the guys 25+ focusing on the Olympic combination will decline in their best discipline like Shauna Coxsey and Akiyo Noguchi.
4. The best boulderers like Chon, Narasaki and Coxsey will frequently make the final in Lead but the best Lead climbers will continue to struggle in Boulder.
5. Adam Ondra will dominate in the World Champion as ever winning the combination although not go below 10 seconds in Speed.
6. The trend with more volumes in both Lead and Boulder will increase.
7. Sub 7 seconds by some Japaneses who also will dominate in Speed
8. Alex Megos will kick ass in Lead and Boulder.
9. The Italians will continue their progress trend
0. Records in # of participants, live-streaming and general media coverage

 
 
IFSC 2017 analysis by Neumann and Fischhuber  (3) Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureBen Lepesant has written a long very interesting article published at Innsbruck 2018 IFSC World Championships in regards the competition scene where he has gotten some sharp quotes from Udo Neumann and Kilian Fischhuber. © H. Wilhelm / Innsbruck 2018

"Neumann sees great potential in Chon Jongwon for lead climbing: "If he takes it seriously, no one can beat him. He has the strength-to-weight ratio and the finger strength of Gelmanov, the same ability to move as the others from the new generation, and a unique climbing flow. I think that even Adam [Ondra] would have trouble keeping up with him, due to his poorer strength-to-weight ratio. As I said, Tomoa can visualise really well, and this surely helps him in lead too. His style is riskier though."

Talking about Ashima Shiraishi, Neumann says that the new style of route setting does not suit her and Fischhuber agrees.

"Her progress curve was steep initially, but recently it has flattened out." What makes it harder for her, says Fischhuber, is that she is not part of a strong training group like, for example, the young Japanese climbers around National Bouldering Champion Futaba Ito (15), who will compete in World Cups next year. Neumann generally criticises that many young climbers "train too much too early", which in his opinion "makes it harder to progress later on."

 
 
9a/++ FA by Anak Verhoeven in Santa Linya  (1) Facebook
 

Anak Verhoeven reports on Instagram that she has done a new extension to Ciudad de Dios calling it 9a/++. In the preliminary 8a sport climber 2017, Anak who was #3 in the Lead World Cup, is #6.

"Please, people, don't make a controversy about this particular grade again. Is it really that important? It's a route in the 9th grade and I'm glad I've been able to climb it after a long and tiring season and with some pretty uncomfortable circumstances: an aching elbow, some humid rock and frozen toes halfway up the route. And now I guess it's time to relax a bit."

 
 
The world's first D16 drytooling route  Facebook
 

 
 
Megos & Hayes won Moonboard Masters  (5) Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureToday climbing history was written by Moonboard Masters where five teams competed on a live-streaming simultaneously in Sheffield, Barcelona, New York and Osaka *2. The invited set ten new problems and you did get 200 points, + 20 bonus points for a flash, for a top to the 18th row on the board. Reaching and controlling a hold on row #10 gave 100 point and row #15 150 points etc. The maximum score was 2 200. Video

1. Alex Megos/Margo Hayes 1 920 points
2. Jongwon Chon/Miho Nonaka 1 730
3. Tomoa Narasaki/Akiyo Noguchi 1 700
4. Rustam Gelmanov/Katja Kadic 1 370
5. Daniel Woods/Kyra Condie 1 240

 
 
Dan Turner doing Voyager sit 8B+  (2) Facebook
 

 
 
Gran Canaria bouldering in Mogan  Facebook
 

 
 
9a/+ and 8c+ by Anak Verhoeven in Santa Linya  (9) Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureAnak Verhoeven, #3 in the World Cup 2017 and who just established the very first female 9a+ FA, reports on Instagram that she has done Ciudad de Dios in Santa Linya which is 9a/+ in the topo. (All ten entries in the 8a data base selected 9a.) (c) Monika Vetinka

During the same day, the Belgian also did La Fabela 8c+ which in practice is an easier version of Ciudad de Dios. Based these two ascents, the 21-year-old has been moved up to #6 on the 8a Sport climber of the year list.

 
 
Fontainebleau in the 1940s  Facebook
 

 
 
La Rambla 9a+ by Seb Bouin  Facebook
 

Click to Enlarge PictureSeb Bouin, who previously has done some 30 routes 9a and harder, reports on Facebookthat he has done La Rambla 9a+ in Siurana. (c) Tillby Vattard

"This route is a piece of climbing history. For me it's a revenge to do it in 9 goes this year, because I injured my back 2 years ago on this route. In fact, I injured a herniated disc on the crux during a working session. It was really bad, but now it's really finish because I take my revenge. It's time to close french projects."

 
 
Ground breaking ascents 2017?  (4) Facebook
 


 
 
Synergy muscle growth for maximum power!  Facebook
 

Björn Alber, aka Dr 8a, has put together a instructive video how to get stronger gripping power including both the theory and practical exercises. The new thing is a greater focus on muscle growth, through more and longer repetitions, and also to combine several new and normal maximum power exercises, aiming to get synergy and injury free forearm muscles. His son Ymer has successfully followed the program for some years.

 
 
Tonfa 8B | Frankenjura | Germany  Facebook
 


Tonfa 8B | Frankenjura | Germany from 45degrees on Vimeo.

 
 
Rappel down your project  Facebook
 

Most climbers train mainly indoors and the goal is to do harder routes/boulders and often we have specific projects in mind. During the winter season, one good motivation booster is actually just to go out and rappel down the projects.

To go down from above with a clear mind not being tired both physically and mentally could possibly open up for some new beta or thoughts. This might explain why the guys bolting routes end up with personal best on the routes that he/she did equip. Rappelling down could also be considered as visualization but in reality.

 
 
Active Visualization helped Ondra doing Silence 9c  Facebook
 

Climbing has presented an interesting interview with Adam Ondra in regards how he used visualization for doing Silence 9c.

"There are three ways to do visualization, all performed while lying on a bed or mat: You can stay still and only do everything in your head. You can move your hands and feet slightly while you picture the moves. Or you can ask someone to “create” crucial holds and footholds. So, if there is a dyno to a jug, you get your body into position, guide your friend to create the jug exactly where it would be on the wall, and then go for it. I am using all three techniques."

 
 
Bananabreadtour Rocklands Part II  Facebook
 


Bananabreadtour Rocklands Part II from Ironmanfilms on Vimeo.

 
 
Patxi Usobiaga (37) living legend training machine  Facebook
 

 
 
Junior of 2017 - Draft  Facebook
 

1. Janja Garnbret
2. Ashima Shiraishi
3. Margo Hayes
4. Yoshiyuki Ogata
5. Sam Avezou
6. Claire Buhrfeind
7. Laura Rogara
8. Filip Schenk
9. Brooke Rabotou
10. Loic Zehani, Moritz Welt, Meichi Narasaki, William Bosi, Kai Lightner, Alberto Lopez, Laura Stöckler, Sandra Lettner, Elena Kravsovskaia, Pietro Biagini, Jorge Diaz-Rullo, Natsuki Tanii, Naile Meignan,
Semen Ovchinnikov, Rudolfh Ruana, Baptiste Ometz, Mikel Asina, Shuta Tanaka, Lara Neumeier, Ai Mori, Colin Duffy, Rei Kawamata, Moritz Perwitzschky, Keita Dohi, Nico Ferlitsch, Jan Vopat, Futaba Ito, David Naude, Philipp Gaßner, Pablo Hammack, Jakob Kronberger, Leo Skinner, Zach Galla, Marketa Janosova, Ema Seliškar, Clay Gordon, Maya Madere

 
 
 
9a+ and 9a FAs by Adam Ondra  (1) Facebook
 

Adam Ondra reports on Instagram that he has done two impressive FAs in Camaiore; La Terza Eta 9a which he did in four tries and Naturalmente 9a+.

"One of the best routes I can imagine. Slightly overhanging wall, tiny crimps, undercuts, shitty feet, resistant, bullet-proof rock. Tried for two days three weeks ago, now it went down after checking the moves. Rather high-end 9a+ I would say."

The level is going up in 2017 and Ondra is leading the pack. During four days, the 23 year old has done two 9b's, two 9a+' and two 9a's. It will be interesting to follow the progression during 2017.

 
 
Pau Contreras en Wonder boy (8b) FA, Sant Llorenç del Munt  Facebook
 

 
 
Rescat Emocional (7b+), Sant Llorenç del Munt  Facebook
 

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