Florian Wientjes has made the eighth ascent of the iconic Off the Wagon SDS (V16) (8C+), at Val Bavona in Switzerland.
Wientjes' ascent is his first at 8C+, having previously climbed four 8C boulders.
Off the Wagon was first climbed as an 8B+ stand start by Nalle Hukkataival in 2012, before Shawn Raboutou established the sit start in 2018. The sit start adds a big and powerful first move - which Daniel Woods graded 8A in isolation - as well as some smaller hand and foot adjustments, before joining up with the stand start for the remainder of the boulder, a long dynamic move off small crimps and poor footholds, and a series of eye-catching campus moves.
The sit start version was the first 8C+ boulder in Switzerland, and has attracted some of the biggest names in bouldering. After seeing ascents from Jimmy Webb, Daniel Woods, and Guiliano Cameroni, subsequent ascensionists - including Simon Lorenzi - have suggested that the 'crux hold' has slightly improved, although seemingly not enough to warrant a change in the overall grade.
After making quick work of the 8B+ stand start back in December, Wientjes started working the sit straight away. He was quickly able to do all of the moves in isolation, as well as making good links in his first session, before struggling with crux move.
Sharing the news of his ascent on instagram, he said:
'From session two, I always fell on the big move and the mental battle started. Six more sessions came and went with close calls and new "Highpoints". It was mentally really hard climbing to the big move just to fail another time on the same move as the sixty times before'.
'But last saturday everything came together, and I topped out one of the most iconic boulders'.
Whilst Wientjes did the sit start the same way as Raboutou - sitting on the wagon that resides beneath the boulder - in early 2021 Giuliano Cameroni removed the wagon and did a stand start from the ground. Despite, ironically, being a lower start than the sit start, Cameroni's version of the boulder - Off the Wagon (No Wagon) - uses the same starting hand holds, and comes in at the same grade of 8C+.
In addition to joining a select group of climbers to have climbed Font 8C+, last August, Wientjes became one of just eight people to have climbed Font 8B+ in a single attempt, with his flash of the Fred Nicole boulder Amandla (V14) in Rocklands.
Does anyone know why there's a wagon there? It's been there for years.
Stored there by the farmer…
…to stop those pesky boulderers climbing all over their boulder. 😉
Why doesn't he use it?
He does, and then puts it back……it stays nice and dry under the overhang