Niccolò Ceria and Norwegian strongman Martin Mobråten have both repeated Bernd Zangerl's Shantaram, Font 8C near Osen, Norway.
The ~25 move problem which Bernd has called "the best boulder in the world" saw its first ascent in June 2013, three years after it was showed to him by his friend Torstein (Eide?).
Regarding the difficulty, Bernd didn't say much in terms of a grade, but he said it was the biggest fight of his life and he now has it listed as '8C?' on his website.
Niky needed only three days for the repeat, while Martin seems to have been close for a long time before he seized the opportunity and jumped on the send train. Here is one of his almost successful attempts.
I asked Niky if he could share his impressions of the problem in terms of quality and difficulty:
It was definitively hard for me!
I hadn't been climbing on such a hard boulder since a long time, so I got some troubles during the first 2 days.
The sequence doesn't really have extreme moves, except for a couple of them which are awkward for my hips. The real crux was to link the sequences together, since it is probably the longest boulder I have done so far. My beta "only" counted 21 hand moves, and a lot of more footwork which forced me to stay on the climb for long.
Finally the key beta was to run as quick as possibile the middle part. Since climbing fast is not that much my style, I practised for an hour or so, trying to do that section very quickly. And that was the key to save a couple of seconds of climbing which made me able to send it.
I guess it can be one of my 5 top hardest so far. The line is decently good, but not my favorite from Bernd. It is a nice traverse which climbs pretty well and that's it.
I probably didn't like it that much because the rock is pretty dirty on in. Being in a cave it requires cleaning, but the first day I got there it was horrible: the holds were full of tickmarks and they were covered by chalky layers.
I loved the fact that the boulder is on a remote island where no human beings live nowaday and you have to take a ferry or rent a boat to get to the line.
It was anyway such a great achievement from Bernd putting up this huge stuff in 2013 and it is always nice to get inspiration from him, since he has been always one of my climbing heroes.
The next thing I want to do here is Bernd's "King size" [a ~7C highball put up in 2011] and that's definitively much better than every other boulder I have seen so far here in Vingsand. Can't wait to get on that one!