This article originally appeared on Climbing
In an attempt to make space for the newsworthy ascents that occur with ever-increasing regularity, our weekly news series tries to celebrate a few outstanding climbs (or interesting events) that for one reason or another caught our attention. We hope you enjoy it. --The editors
Will Bosi upgrades Nova--the second half of Ondra's unrepeated V16.
This past June, Czech climber Jana Svecova made the first ascent of Nova, a problem that adds a two-move sit start to the second (and easier) half of Adam Ondra's still unrepeated Terranova, which was established way back in 2011. Nova was Svecova's third V14 and first V14 FA... except maybe it wasn't: because Will Bosi, who sent Nova last week and knows a thing or two about high-end bouldering grades, thinks it's actually hard V15. Indeed, it took him six days to send, which, as he notes in the below video, is more time than it took him to do any of the six V15s he's sent in the Czech Republic so far.
This upgrade is meaningful in several ways. First, it retroactively makes Svecova the first woman to do the first ascent of a V15 boulder problem (though the extent to which it counts as a standalone problem is certainly up for debate). Second, it has some implications about the difficulty of Terranova, since Nova is the supposedly easy second half.
"The thought of doing this part, which is totally desperate to begin with, and then adding a harder half... is pretty mind blowing," Bosi says.
I'm not a betting man, but if I was I'd put money on the fact that Will Bosi thinks Adam Ondra was the first person to climb V17, beating Nalle Hukkataival to the mark by a full five years.
Andre Branchizio comes full circle on Paint it Black (V15)
One of the more fun news stories I've seen this week comes to us from Rocky Mountain National Park, where Andre Branchizio found a moment between kids and work to climb his first V15, Paint it Black, a highly repeated problem first done by Daniel Woods.
Branchizio's send marks his return to hard outdoor climbing after years of forced abstinence. Between 2017 and 2019, he sent multiple V13s and one V14, and logged four promising sessions on Paint it Black. But in 2020 a pair of surprises sidelined him for the next four years. First, he got a hand infection as a result of an unclean acupuncture needle. The infection got so bad that he eventually needed surgery. While recovering from surgery, he lost his job thanks to COVID, and the job he replaced it with was far more demanding than his old one. Between work and childcare, he told 8a.nu, "there just wasn't enough time for outdoor climbing. Honestly there wasn't enough time for anything else."
But this fall he returned to climbing, and to Paint it Black, figuring out the crux hand flip on his first day back, then spending two more days rebuilding outdoor fitness on the boulder. On the fourth day, November 5, with his wife in Ireland for work and a snowstorm on the way, he convinced his kids to join him for a session. Writing on his 8a.nu scorecard, he said "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."
I don't generally like the term "inspirational," but in this case it certainly applies.
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Brooke Raboutou flashes a V12/13 and V12
How do you deal with damp weather on a boulder trip? Brooke Raboutou has gotten around it by trying to do hard boulders very fast. Not much to say here, except (a) well done, and (b) slash grades complicate grand statements: If you take the higher grade, Raboutou just became the first woman to flash V13.
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Watch Taylor McNeill FA one of the South's most beautiful boulders
Taylor "Tall Not Strong" McNeill has once again demonstrated that his favorite motto is bogus (you've gotta be more than a little strong to climb V16). This time he's done it by FAing one of the more jaw-dropping boulder problems that I've seen in a minute.
Beekeeper (no grade yet) was first found by Boone icon Joey Henson in the 1990s and tried off-and-on in the early 2000s, only to sit forgotten for the past two decades--in part because it's very hard to find. Writing on Instagram, McNeill recalls how his first attempt to find the boulder several years ago involved fruitless hours of "swimming through a rhododendron forest"--and amounted to "the worst bushwhack I've ever done in my life."
Local climber and access advocate Aaron Parlier then took it upon himself to clean the boulder up--something that McNeil celebrates. "A lot of work from multiple people went into making this boulder climbable. I'm grateful for the ones out there doing the hard stuff behind the scenes [to bring] boulders like this to life."
Check out his send video:
Watch Babsi Zangerl send Meltdown
Two weeks ago, I wrote about Babsi Zangerl making the fourth ascent of Beth Rodden's Yosemite testpiece Meltdown (5.14c). Zangerl called it the hardest trad route she's done to date, adding that it "felt hard for the grade" and was "a real mental battle." Check out my full article here. And check out the newly released video below:
Watch Seb Bouin do Ariegeois Coeur Loyal (5.15b)
Last April, Seb Bouin clipped the chains of his longstanding project Ariegeois Coeur Loyal (ACL for short), in Pic Saint-Loup, France--calling it 5.15b. He bolted the route five years earlier, shortly after his grandfather died, and gave it his grandfather's "woodworker name": Ariegeois Coeur Loyal. (Ariegeois is a medium-sized hound common in southern France, and the full name translates to "loyal ariegeois heart.") The name, Bouin notes, allowed him to keep his grandfather close to him during the ensuing years--during which he tried the route off and on. It's a large route, as most of Bouin's are, composed of two 20-meter sections--each roughly 5.14d on its own--separated by a rest.
Pic Saint-Loup, Bouin's home crag, plays host to several of his other testpieces, including Beyond Integrale (5.15b/c) and Kmira (5.15a). After Bouin sent Beyond Integrale in 2020, he talked about how finding such a hard route so close to home allowed him to rediscover one of the places he spent so much time as a kid. "I rediscovered the Pic Saint-Loup sector as if it was a new crag. I enjoyed the walk to reach the top of that mountain. I rediscovered the warm up routes, and I was thinking of bolting new routes. There [are] always new adventures to live, even if you know the place really well."
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