Youthful crimper Aidan Roberts has returned from Colorado where he managed amongst other things, to climb the hard classic Jade (Font 8B+) on his 3rd attempt. He also added his own problem nearby called Railway, which he describes as his hardest ascent to date.
Railway-First Ascent- possibly 8c? Great 4 move boulder on small crimp rails I scouted at Wild Basin, learnt it was a project, and couldn't resist going yesterday and getting it done! The first move is without a doubt the crux and possibly the hardest move I've ever done on rock! The style suits me well, basic crimping, and this could well be my hardest climb to date. There's potential to keep the foot on for the first move if a little taller, time will tell the difficulty of it. I'm reluctant to grade it 8c as I have tried so few of this grade, though it feels significantly harder than any other 8b+ I've done so perhaps it could be logical. For now, the slash grade and I'll let some future climbers decide! Thanks @tchadx @fausey for putting us up and sorting us out with some ice bath recovery! On to new areas! 💪🏼 #neverstopexploring #noplacetoofar #bouldering
Jade was first climbed by Daniel Woods in 2007 after a great deal of attention from the top American boulderers. The problem was flashed by Adam Ondra in 2013 and Aidan told us: 'I had it at the back of my mind that I'd be able to flash this one, though ended up having a very similar experience to my flash attempt on Amandala out in Rocklands last year.'
On his first two attempts, he used a foothold which didn't suit him, although he felt close: 'I decided to try a higher foot and found I could do the crux move extremely statically. Perhaps it suited me very well, I'm aware static isolation on small holds is my strongest style, but with this method, I feel it felt more around the 8A+ grade. Regardless, I was very pleased to complete a line with so much history!'
On the same day, Aidan climbed Don't get too Greedy (8B), Wildcat (8A+), Lockness (8B) and added his own problem on the steep Green 45 wall which he has yet to name, but we reckon it'll be hard!
Top Notch-8B In my opinion, one of the best around! Had a great couple of days in Upper chaos, I am happy with how I climbed and could get some classic boulders done. Close on the Jade flash, but with bad foot beta and some dry fires I had to settle for third go. Regardless, happy to have climbed such an iconic boulder. I could also do Wildcat 8a+, Don't get to greedy 8b and Lockness 8b, a rarely climbed desperate roof! To finish off the day I was able to make my own contribution to the Green 45 wall with a nice little line left of Don't get too greedy, gotta think up some names! The roads closed for a few days now so off to new areas, psyched to return next weekend! Thanks @benburrk for the vid 💪🏼 #neverstopexploring #noplacetoofar #bouldering #rmnp #organicclimbing
Suffice to say, Aidan's finger strength is world class and when he found a long-standing project at Wild Basin that was a step up from his other ascents his motivation went sky high. He began work on the problem during a very warm spell of weather. Realistically, it was too hot but he confirmed it was possible:
'I returned on a cloudy day when it rained elsewhere, actually the day after I climbed Jade...etc. My confidence was high, and I knew I could do the climb if I stuck the first move - the definite crux and possibly the hardest individual move I've done outside.
'After a handful of tries, I had to dig really deep in order to ride the apex of the swing and could thankfully hold it together and execute the final 3 moves. Perhaps this is the boulder I am proudest of this trip, I feel I've tried some of the world's most finger intensive boulders and this one felt a level up from them for me, a true crimping test piece!'
Aidan named the problem Railway and graded it Font 8C, becoming one of a handful of Brits to have climbed the grade.
Not content with world class crimping test pieces, Aidan had a productive day at the Dali Boulder near Mt Evans. The boulder is a steep, board-like wall and has several powerful and hard climbs, the most difficult of which is Daniel Woods' Ode to a Modern Man (8B+), possibly now 8C after a hold crumbled and the lack of ascents for a few years.
'I had the pleasure of meeting Daniel Woods on this trip and at one point he mentioned the challenge of completing all of these climbs in a day. The line suited me extremely well and I was able to get it done in 3 tries, as a result I feel the grade 8B+/V14 still stands. I really loved the simplicity of this boulder, no secrets to it, holds just big enough on an otherwise featureless face, perhaps the epitome of bouldering in my eyes.
'I was pleasantly surprised to manage to flash the rest of the climbs on the wall, consisting of two 8A+'s and two 8A's along with a few slightly easier blocs, all to make up one of the most productive days I've had on rock!'
Symposiarch - First Ascent Thanks to @tchadx and @fausey for finding and cleaning such a great project! Proof Colorado has so many undiscovered gems to be found. These guys are responsible for much of Colorados development. I am very greatful for the generosity they have shown us and the service which they have offered the climbing community 🙏 This great line offers some unique moves and likely weights in around V12 with potential for a harder low start, I'll be back if time and conditions allow! Time is fast running out on this trip, a wake up call that a longer trip is required next year! Much thanks to ma dude @hamishpotokar for the pic. #neverstopexploring #noplacetoofar #bouldering #needmoretrain
A day on a trip that Aidan will remember for a while! He's currently editing some footage from his trip where we can get more of an insight into a top climber operating at his peak. He also plans to return for a longer trip next year. Apparently, there are a few things he didn't climb!