UKC

First Repeat of Burden of Dreams 9A by Will BosiNewsflash

© Diego Borello/Band of Birds

Will Bosi has made the first repeat of Nalle Hukkataival's Burden of Dreams 9A, the world's first 9A boulder in Lappnor, east of Helsinki, Finland. Initially known as the Lappnor Project, Nalle climbed the line in 2016 after over three years of effort to establish the world's hardest boulder problem. Will has confirmed the grade at 9A/V17.

Will sticks the last move of Burden of Dreams 9A.  © Diego Borello/Band of Birds
Will sticks the last move of Burden of Dreams 9A.
© Diego Borello/Band of Birds

Will spent ten days training on a specific laser-scanned replica on a 40° indoor board in Sheffield, using a pulley system to gradually recruit strength and power for the crux first move. He shared his progress in YouTube videos and eventually linked it in roughly two halves before travelling to Finland in March.

On his first day in Finland, Will completed the top moves first, before managing the lower section and doing all five individual moves in under half an hour. His first sessions on the problem were livestreamed on Instagram and YouTube, which peaked at over 2000 viewers.

Will Bosi working Burden of Dreams on an Instagram livestream.  © UKC News
Will Bosi working Burden of Dreams on an Instagram livestream.

Will doing the last move of Burden of Dreams for the first time.  © UKC News
Will doing the last move of Burden of Dreams for the first time.

Between attempts, Will commented that some of moves felt easier than those on the replica, and some harder, but that the friction on the rock was better overall and the holds are closer together on the real thing. At one point, he used a phone app to roughly measure the angle of the holds on the wall, which appeared to vary between 40-44 degrees.

Will cleaning the problem early in the process of working Burden of Dreams.  © Band of Birds
Will cleaning the problem early in the process of working Burden of Dreams.
© Band of Birds

Toru Nakajima and Shawn Raboutou - who had previously worked the line - eventually joined Will to attempt the line together, as well as Stefano Ghisolfi, who had trained on the replica with Will.

On his third session Will worked the line with Nakajima and consolidated the crux first move to the middle section twice in a row, managing to climb it in almost two halves.

Will worked a replica of Burden of Dreams before travelling to Finland.  © Diego Borello/Band of Birds
Will worked a replica of Burden of Dreams before travelling to Finland.
© Diego Borello/Band of Birds

Over the next few sessions, Will experimented with different methods, including a heel hook to secure the last move. He also battled with thin skin, using tape to prolong his attempts.

By his eighth session, Will was able to do all of the moves and made good links. By session 11, he had made significant progress, climbing to the last move but being unable to stick the hold. 

The steep board-like wall of Burden of Dreams 9A.  © Diego Borello/Band of Birds
The steep board-like wall of Burden of Dreams 9A.
© Diego Borello/Band of Birds

Yesterday (12 April) Will climbed the problem on his first try of the day in his fourteenth session. In total, he spent 24 days working the line, combining time spent on both the replica and the boulder itself. 

Immediately after the ascent, Will said: "It feels unbelievable right now! I came to the boulder today thinking it would be too hot to climb but the warm up felt incredible and on the send I flew through the bottom section and after dropping the top hold previously, this time it all came together!"

On the grade, he commented: "From the overall experience on this boulder from working the replica to finally sending it, I think it's a step up from everything else I have done and it is a huge step up from any 8C/+ I've done. Therefore I think it definitely deserves 9A!"

Will adds Burden of Dreams to a long list of hard repeats and first ascents, including Alphane 9A (UKC News), Honey Badger 8C+ (FA, UKC News) and a 9b+ sport first ascent, King Capella (UKC News). 

Will is now one of just three climbers in the world who have climbed two 9A boulders alongside American climber Shawn Raboutou, and Simon Lorenzi, and is the first person to repeat two established 9As.


Interview with Will after his ascent

UKC: In the last few sessions it seemed to come together quite quickly, although skin seemed to be a limiting factor throughout! Were you changing your approach much both during sessions and in your recovery, or was it simply just a case of getting better recruitment on the moves?

My process was fairly consistent for the last couple of weeks. Basically in the first week I got super bad skin with many cuts and then spent a long time trying to heal it. Once it was healed my sessions started getting really good and I was feeling close. So the key was keeping the sessions short to keep the skin good. 

You said the second move was the one where everything needed to be perfect. Did you change anything to make the second move more reliable, or was it just a case of trying the same thing until that move stuck?

I spent a lot of time trying to find a way to make that move more reliable, but in the end I just had to get lucky. Although I was able to start doing that move wrong or have a good chance at least in the last session as my time on the boulder has made me stronger. It was definitely the redpoint crux for me though. 

In almost all the recent clips we've seen of you on Burden you've been using the original beta rather than the heel hook beta, at what point did you decide that that was the better approach?

I still believe the heel hook beta is easier but it's so low percentage that it's maybe harder to actually do from the start. Or you could just keep slipping forever. Originally I thought Nalle's beta was more low percentage, but actually you can train into it very well as it turns out. 

Will Bosi sticks the crux first move of Burden of Dreams 9A.  © Diego Borello/Band of Birds
Will Bosi sticks the crux first move of Burden of Dreams 9A.
© Diego Borello/Band of Birds

Tell us how you felt on it - did it go very easily in the end?

I sent the boulder first try of the session which definitely seems to have been the common theme, as both times before when I dropped the last move it was also my first go. I felt amazing on the send go, I climbed the first four moves perfectly and arrived at the last move feeling fresh! I slightly missed the last hold and almost fell but just held it together. Still can't believe it!

Who were you with and how did you feel after topping out?

I was there with Shawn and two videographers so a fairly big crew. Topping out has to be one of the most amazing experiences I've had — standing on top of the boulder in disbelief looking at the sky full of stars! 

Did you consider going live for the send when you were getting very close?

I thought about it a little but as I was having really long rest periods in between tries and I had proper cameras there it didn't make sense to me. 

Comparing it to Alphane is a bit apples and oranges but where does it sit next to the other hard problems you've done and does it help to contextualise the grades of others?

Honestly after the send I'm quite confused. Beforehand I was fairly confident but less so now. I'm still sure it's the hardest boulder I've done and I believe it's a big enough step to be 9A! I think it's harder than Alphane but not much harder. I could see both being the same grade but Burden being solid and Alphane being soft. I'll maybe comment more soon. 

Who do you think will get the third ascent?

Very hard to say as it's definitely a boulder that needs a lot of luck but as Shawn is still out here and looking strong he'd be my bet! 

What's next for you?

Hopefully a trip to America to climb out there! I am still super keen for Excalibur but it's a bit hot already now.

Watch an earlier UKC video interview with Will prior to his ascent:


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Edinburgh born Will Bosi is one of the world's top climbers. At just 17 years of age, Will became the youngest Brit to have climbed 9a with his repeat of Rainshadow at Malham Cove. In 2018 he became first British male...

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14 Apr, 2023

Rad!

14 Apr, 2023

Absolutely mega!

14 Apr, 2023

The most coveted second ascent in bouldering, Chapeau

Amazing! :) Nice one Will!

14 Apr, 2023

Outrageous effort Will. Made my year this has. Come on the Brit’s!

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