Nalle on The Globalist 8B+ / Photo: Heikki Toivanen
© UKC News, May 2009 It appears that Japan is the place to be, with multiple hard problems being climbed in the last few weeks.
Finnish bouldering specialist Nalle Hukkataival has made a hard first ascent in the form of The Globalist (Font 8B+), on home turf near Helsinki, Finland, however he is recently returned from a trip to Japan, where he repeated Bansousha, a slab problem that is graded 5. dan in the Japanese grading system, equating to around Font 8B+/C and was thought by some to be 'the hardest slab in the World'.
Nalle repeated the problem in a single session and thought the difficulties to be Font 8B.
Video: Nalle Hukkataival climbing Bansousha:
Over at Konoto in Japan, female climber Tomoko Ogawa has succeeded on Mutante, (Font 8A+).
Video: Tomoko Ogawa climbing Mutante (Font 8A+):
Moving swiflty on the the US, Tyler Landman made a first ascent with his beautifully named Chelsea Smile (Font 8B/+), a razor sharp sit down start at Rhode Island. Phillip Schaal repeated the problem soon after.
Video: Chelsea Smile:
Not all of the news has been from far flung destinations, Europe has seen its fair share of hard bouldering too: La Danse de Balrog (Font 8B), has been flashed by Keita Mogaki.
La Danse de Balrog, the World's first Font 8B, was climbed back in 1992 by bouldering legend Fred Nicole. Even though it is considered soft for the grade, Mogaki is the first to succeed on the problem on his first try.
You can watch a video of UK climber Keith Bradbury climbing La Danse de Balrog in this video:
And to top it all off, Bernhard Schwaiger has climbed Dust Devil, in the Austrian Saalchtal. He has graded this problem a mighty Font 8C/+ (or V15/16).
You can read more about the ascent (in German) with photos here: Schwaiger's website
Over on UKBouldering.com, it is reported that Nacho Sanchez has repeated both Louis Armstrong (Font 8B) at Parisella's Cave and Keen Roof (Font 8B) at Raven Tor.
Andy Earl also made a lightening fast repeat of Arc Royal at Queens Crag, using a different sequence and proposing a down grade from the original Font 8A+ (see UKC news item on Arc Royal).