Daniel Woods has climbed his long-standing project - the sit start to Jimmy Webb's Sleepwalker (Font 8C+) in Black Velvet Canyon just outside Las Vegas. He has named the problem Return of the Sleepwalker and proposed a grade of Font 9A. Considering the attention this problem has seen, it is highly likely the grade will stand, making it the hardest problem in America and potentially the world.
There had been rumours that he had climbed the problem for a couple of days, but yesterday he announced his success alongside the message 'It's all just a game people... and I play the game. The game is how comfortable can you become with your own insanity.'
In January 2019, Woods made the second ascent of Sleepwalker and began attempting the low start shortly after. Writing on his Instagram he said it 'adds in a 3 move v12 [8A+] straight into the stand.' For the past couple of months, Woods has been throwing himself at the problem and came agonisingly close around five days ago, dropping the final foot movement before the jug at the top. You can see this attempt in the video below:
There are currently no confirmed Font 9A's. Nalle Hukkataival was the first to propose the grade with his ascent of Burden of Dreams in Finland and it's yet to see a second ascent. Charles Albert graded his Fontainebleau problem No Kpote Only 9A, although subsequent repeats have suggested it could be closer to 8C/+. Simon Lorenzi climbed the long-standing sit start project to The Big Island, also in Fontainebleau, but it recently had a second ascent by Nico Pelorson who suggested 8C+. Only time will tell what grade Return of the Sleepwalker is, but it looks a strong contender to stay at 9A.
Woods has previously climbed five 8C+'s: Hypnotized Minds, The Process, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Box Therapy. Return of the Sleepwalker is the hardest problem so far for a climber that has been at the top of the sport for over a decade.
Watch Jimmy Webb on the first ascent of Sleepwalker below:
At the time of his first ascent of Sleepwalker, Jimmy Webb estimated that each move on the problem was 7C to 7C+, with a couple of harder moves. It took Webb 11 days of effort to complete the stand.