22-year-old Will Bosi has claimed the first ascent of King Capella at Siurana in Catalonia, Spain and proposed the grade of 9b+. If confirmed, it would make him the first British climber and only the sixth person in the world to climb the grade. In addition to three other first ascents of a 9b, a 9a and an 8C boulder problem during his time in Spain, he also amassed a staggering ticklist with notable repeats including First Ley 9a+, Ley Indignata 9a (third ascent) and Estado Critico 9a.
Will has been in Spain since December 2020 as a part of his preparations for the 2021 competition season and longer-term campaign preparations for the next Olympic cycle. Following the Moscow European Championships and two years of hard training in boulder and lead, Will found himself to be on top form.
Will climbed La Capella 9b in the same sector in early 2020 (UKC News), making him the first Brit to climb the grade abroad. During this latest trip, Will also added another two first ascents to the area: La Furia de Jabali 9b, which was bolted and cleaned by Beto Rocasolano, and Dani Andrada's project Last Night 9a. But King Capella, bolted by David Brasco, represented a significant step up in difficulty according to Will. He commented:
"King Capella has the same style of the area with a series of boulder problems stacked on top of one another, however this route was another level for me. For comparison, it took me three sessions to complete La Capella, whereas it took me three sessions to unlock the first sequence on King Capella".
The route starts left of La Capella at the edge of the scooped wall into a set of bouldery sequences before the pressure finally relents. As well as the intense, fingery and powerful climbing typical of the area, the middle of the route involved an explosive dynamic move before moving straight into another tough sequence, requiring ten sessions in total. He explained:
"With powerful moves that don't let up and having big all points off moves, King Capella was like I got to be Chris Sharma for a day, it was amazing!"
Furia de Jabali 9b is a power endurance challenge, consisting of around 16 very hard moves before linking into the second half of A 2 Bandas 8b. Will said:
"The crux of the route is the last couple of moves before joining Jungle Speed, just as you are nearly out of power, so I had to keep fighting hard all the way on this one!"
Last Night 9a is quite different in style. Will said: "It revolves around one very hard move which I reckoned would be the equivalent of an 8A boulder. After the boulder, the route isn't so hard but the climbing style is very fun and athletic! To finish the route you have to mantle the top of the crag, which is way harder than you want at the top of a 9a, but it makes topping out very rewarding!"
After the Moscow European Championships, the purpose of the training trip was to reset after a long Olympic campaign and secondly to put in a base level of preparation for the upcoming IFSC World Cup lead season. The trip was the first opportunity for Will to project unclimbed lines. He explained:
"I have always been keen to try and do first ascents but when I have gone on trips before, I always had very specific goals in mind so never had time to look at new routes. Being out in Spain surrounded by the highest density of hard sport climbing anywhere in the world, it was very hard not to be inspired to try and add to it in some way."
The challenge of new-routeing was perfect practice in the skills required for achieving in World Cups, in Will's eyes. He added:
"One of the things that appealed to me was trying to solve problems where there was no predefined beta and the challenge therefore was to firstly see if something was possible or impossible! If I were to look at this from a performance perspective, the process of solving a route with no pre-defined beta is a core aspect of competition climbing so it seemed a great opportunity to develop that aspect of my climbing on really challenging lines."
Will also kept his bouldering in check by establishing a new 8C boulder in Siurana, first cleaned by Dave Graham, as well as repeating his lines Bhai Bon 8B+, Bhai Po 8B+, Bhai Kakata 8B+/C, Bhai Ji 8B+ and Hurrikuto 8B. Describing the new 8C, which he has named Ulls de Bruixa, Will commented:
"The line is the sit start to a jump start 8A+. The sit adds three OK moves and then three really hard moves. These moves all revolve around a crazy drop knee which holds you in on a really small crimp on a very steep wall. The sequence ends by taking a big swing on the starting holds of the jump start. Like Bhai Bon you finish by topping the crag out."
The problem took Will two sessions to complete. Commenting on the difficulty of the line, he said:
"It was at the absolute limit for me, almost falling on every move of the 8A+ ending. This is why 8C seems like the right grade to give it, as it felt significantly harder than Bhai Bon and took longer to finish but I would welcome others to try it. It is also worth noting that it fits my style of climbing perfectly with the small crimps and drop knees."
Will is now back in the UK in quarantine before resuming training for a GB Climbing lead selection event.