The Ticklist: #61 Bouldering Extravanganza

© Simon Lorenzi Collection

This week's Ticklist features some of the hardest bouldering ascents from North America, to Switzerland and Europe. Plus a hard new FA from Stefano Ghisolfi...

Show your scars for Allison Vest 

American climber Allison Vest has climbed Show your Scars (Font 8B+) at Ogden, near Salt Lake City. Writing about her ascent, she said:

'This boulder tested every single mental tactic I had and forced me to learn some new ones. I can't believe, 10+ sessions and a landslide of doubt later, that I'm standing on top, after dreaming of being there for weeks. Grateful for the people who believe in me more than I believe in myself sometimes. This one is for you'

This was Vest's first of the grade - she had previously climbed five Font 8Bs.

Alizée Dufraisse climbs Heritage

French climber Alizée Dufraisse has climbed Heritage (Font 8B/+) in Val Bavona, Switzerland. First climbed by Carlo Traversi in 2012, who graded it 8B+. Since then, the grade hasn't quite settled and most people opt for the slash. Dufraisse started working Heritage in November but was unsure about committing to the hard, high mantle on the problem. She said:

'As it is very beautiful, I kept trying it from time to time, but couldn't figure out how to do the move going to the hold at the mantle. After a productive session together with Melissa Le Nevé and Brooke Raboutou, I finally find out this move and got more and more sycked.

'I started to make tries but keeping in mind that if I don't feel it at the mantle I just jump down. Climbing has to stay fun! Yesterday I arrived at the rock and I felt very good. For the first time, I knew that if I reached the hold at the mantle I would go for it.I made a try, relaxed, listening to Bob Marley and surprised myself to make my way to the top. The thing I am the most proud of is that despite a lot of uncertainty I took advantage of this moment, without hesitation… I just climbed… peacefully… with the support of Dave Graham.'

The climb took Dufraisse 12 sessions in total and she believes it to be the hardest problem she has climbed.

La Révolutionnaire (Font 8C+) for Simon Lorenzi

Belgian climber Simon Lorenzi has repeated Charles Albert's La Révolutionnaire (Font 8C+) at Gros Sablons, Fontainebleau. Commenting on his Instagram, Lorenzi said: 'After making very good links at my third session 2 weeks, ago I took advantage of the perfect conditions of the weekend and sent it at my 4th try today after falling at the last move once and two fails for the start.'

He finished up his session by flashing Kaiken, a steep 8A+ at the same area. 

In 2021, Lorenzi made the long-awaited first ascent of the sit start to The Big Island (Font 8C) at Coquibus Rumont, Fontainebleau, and graded it Font 9A. Nico Pelorson repeated it and suggested it was closer to 8C+ but time will tell.

New 9b for Stefano Ghisolfi

Stefano Ghisolfi has made the first ascent of L'arenuata (9b) in Sperlonga, near Rome, which was first bolted roughly 20 years ago. It took Ghisolfi two trips to climb the route, commenting after the first trip that he needed to return with 'stronger calves.' The route climbs through the centre of a cave and features kneebar rests and bouldery sections. Ghisolfi said:

'The section after the rest stayed humid for a few days, but not today, and I immediately grabbed the opportunity to try hard. It felt so hard during the whole process, and yet so easy during the send.'

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14 Feb

Another small repeat...Camile Coudert repeated Soudain Seul (and on the same day as Simon did La Revolutionnaire).

14 Feb

Question: what bouldering grade is the threshold for newsworthy? Is it Font 8B? I ask because with sport, my sense is that the threshold is roughly: 9a if it is ultra classic and someone notable doing it

9a+ as above, and in the past for a female ascent (though less so now as women are increasingly less far behind men)

9b and up guaranteed newsworthy.

The thing is, a lot more 8B/+ boulders seem to go up every week than say 9b sport climbs. OK that's probably in part because there are a lot of boulders and a lot of boulderers working towards the top end, perhaps more so than in sport. But if the hardest sport route is f9c, and newsworthiness kicks in around f9b, shouldn't bouldering newsworthiness kick in around F8C (as the hardest is F9A)? Not trying to be an ass, genuinely just wondering what the criteria for inclusion is, and on what rationale? Full disclosure: I'm not that interested in bouldering so don't really pay much attention to what is going on over there, I care a lot more about route climbing (sport and trad)

14 Feb

Think top female boulder grade is 8C so 8B seems to fit with your criteria. Also think a 9a+ or super classic 9a route (like Dreamcatcher) would still be newsworthy too.

14 Feb

Yeah ok that makes sense.

Is it just me or does the fact there are so many more “top” bouldering sends per week than sport sends imply that the really big hitters are concentrating on sport, because that is agreed amongst the big hitters to be the truest proving ground?

14 Feb

For what it's worth, there are a lot more 'hard' boulders out there than 'hard' sport routes. By my count there are 56 sport routes that are 9b or harder in the world and at least 133 boulders that are 8C or harder (probably quite a bit higher than this, my list of boulder problems is pretty incomplete). I suspect this is at least partly why it's trickier to discern noteworthy bouldering ascents, because there's a lot of problems graded 8C and it's not obvious which ones are newsworthy and which are not so hard.


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