The World's Second Font 9A for Simon Lorenzi in Fontainebleau

© @gilles.charlier

Simon Lorenzi has made the first ascent of the sit start to The Big Island at Coquibus Rumont in Fontainebleau, France, and has named it Soudain Seul. The project was an obvious challenge that started with Dave Graham's ascent of The Island (now considered 8B+) and then Vincent Pochon's The Big Island (8C) which added two obvious moves into the original. If the grade is confirmed, it would be the second Font 9A in the world.

Lorenzi began to think about the sit start to The Big Island after he made a quick ascent of the problem and was back in Fontainebleau two months afterwards, working the bottom section - an 8B in its own right and a very conditions dependant one. At 5ft5/168cm, Lorenzi is probably the shortest climber to have ticked The Big Island and for the sit start, he had to focus on stretching and use different beta for the upper section. He also used an unconventional technique of placing a book under a kneepad to help stiffen it and lengthen his leg, after previously attempting it with blocks of wood.

It took him six sessions to climb the 'complicated' lower section and at the end of the trip, he was ready to start attempting it from the start. After 8 days working it, he fell twice near the end. After this, it took him '15 sessions more of solving problems and find as many details as possible to reduce my energy [expenditure] in the first part.'

Right up until the day he climbed the problem, Lorenzi was finding new and intricate details that would help him. In total, it took him 25 sessions to complete the climb.

Below is a video of Dave Graham on the first ascent of The Island:

On the grade, Lorenzi has written this: 'I feel that it's somewhere between a hard 8C+ and 9A. I don't know if it's 9A/ V17 because I don't have enough experience to say and there is no other 9A in the style to compare. It seems that the other guys who tried it think more for the 9A/V17 grade but nobody really knows. After reflection, 9A/V17 looks to be the appropriate grade regarding where our sport is now. As always the time and the repetitions will tell us!'

Bouldering heavyweights Jimmy Webb and Jan Hojer have both seriously attempted the project in the past but ultimately, it was the Belgian competition climber who pipped them to the post.

As previously mentioned, if confirmed this would be the world's second Font 9A. The first was Nalle Hukkataival's Burden of Dreams in Lappnor which he climbed in 2016. Charles Albert suggested 9A for his problem No Kpote Only in Fontainebleau but subsequent climbers have suggested it may be nearer to 8C/+. As of this date, no suggested Font 9A has been confirmed.

Below is a video of Vincent Pochon on the first ascent of The Big Island:

This post has been read 8,924 times

Return to Latest News

Simon Lorenzi is a competition climber who won the World Youth Championships in Lead back in 2016. He has since transitioned to the senior competitions and has been gradually improving in both Lead and...

Simon's Athlete Page 3 posts 1 video

Support UKC

As climbers we strive to make the kind of website we would love to visit, with the most up-to-date news, diverse and interesting articles, comprehensive gear reviews, breathtaking photographs and a vast and useful logbook system. As a result, an incredible community has formed around the site - we’ve provided the framework but it’s you who make the website what it is today. If you appreciate the content we offer then you can help us by becoming an official UKC Supporter. This can be a one-off single annual payment or a more substantial payment paid monthly or yearly which includes full access to Rockfax Digital and discounts on Rockfax print publications.

If you appreciate then please help us by becoming a UKC Supporter.

UKC Supporter

  • Support the website we all know and love
  • Access to a year's subscription to Rockfax Digital.
  • Plus 30% off Rockfax guidebooks
  • Plus Show your support UKC Supporter badge on your profile and forum posts
UKC/UKH/Rockfax logo

10 Feb

No mention of the book though.

10 Feb

Yeah I had a double-take when I read that; using a book to 'lengthen your leg'! Ethics police will have a field day, surely.

It's in there.


10 Feb

Who authored the book!? I feel they should be acknowledged! Clearly unethical otherwise.

10 Feb

The cheeky addition of the book helps this rise so far above the standard Hard Climber Climbs Hard Rock story. Any chance of a follow-up of some details on what sort of book? And would it help on your average E1? Also, if UKC can source a sprinkling of entirely-disproportionate ethical beef, even better. ;-) Thanks, D.

More Comments
Loading Notifications...
Facebook Twitter Copy Email LinkedIn Pinterest