Zander Waller climbs Sleepwalker 8C+, suggests downgrade

© Zander Waller

American climber Zander Waller has made the tenth ascent of Jimmy Webb's Sleepwalker (f8C+), at Velvet Canyon, Red Rocks, Nevada. He has suggested a downgrade to 8C.

Webb first climbed the boulder in 2018, at which point he described it as potentially 'the hardest boulder in the country', and suggested a grade of 8C+.  

Subsequent ascents from Daniel Woods, Nalle Hukkataival, Drew Ruana, and Ryuichi Murai seemed to confirm the grade, with Matt Fultz' suggestion of soft 8C+ being the biggest outlier prior to Waller's ascent.

'I've never been so happy to finish a boulder', Waller shared on Instagram, 'this was my first true experience projecting a climb, and after three real sessions I was able to fire it off in one perfect attempt'.

'When I first watched the video of Jimmy Webb putting up the FA when I was 15, I knew that one day I would stand on top of it, and I'm relieved that that day finally came'.

'Regarding the grade, I've definitely messed around downgrading stuff as a joke in the past, but I am completely serious about my decision on this one. The beta I used is much easier than previous betas, and I don't think that it can possibly warrant a V16 grade. Admittedly, I have almost no experience on difficult boulders, but for me to skip V14 and V15 and then do a V16 in less than four sessions seems outlandish'.

Waller has previously made multiple downgrades of multiple grades, such as suggesting that Dunks on Deck, a Little Cottonwood Canyon 8B+, should be downgraded to 7C, before later changing his suggestion to 8A.

In the case of both Dunks on Deck and Sleepwalker, Waller was able to find new beta for the boulders due to being a taller climber.

'I'd love for other people my size to try my beta and see what they think; for now, I am confident that the boulder is V15 (8C), potentially even low-end. Regardless, Sleepwalker is an amazing climb and I'm grateful for the opportunity to try it'.

Following up to criticism of his downgrade on Reddit, Waller said 'I did the boulder in four sessions and found beta which changes the intro of the boulder from hard V14 into V13. I have wanted to climb V16 my entire life, but I'm not going to take the grade when I do not deserve it'.

Waller also confirmed that whilst being taller made Sleepwalker easier, it made Daniel Woods' sit-start, Return of the Sleepwalker (f9A), considerably harder, stating that 'anyone who is tall enough to do the new beta will really struggle on the start, and vice versa'.

Check out Daniel Woods' FA of Return of The Sleepwalker, 9A, below:

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16 Oct, 2023

That's interesting, since Jimmy isn't exactly petite either. How lanky this Zander is then? That being said, while it is easier for people of his physical dimensions... it does not mean the grade is easier if you can't reach the moves. It just means that the problem is morpho, and will/is easier for the really tall.

16 Oct, 2023

182cm on his IFSC profile, so about 6 foot.

16 Oct, 2023

On reddit he stated his span is very positive as well. Not sure how it compares to Jimmy though.

16 Oct, 2023

Well That’s not super long. But the big ape-index/reach might also explain it. After all, the crux of Sleepwalker is indeed the slap. I recall Jimmy went directly to the good hold, Daniel caught first the sloper and continued to the jug. Nalle actually had already problems before due to reach issues, and continued to fight his way up with the slouper. But he has the least amount of reach of the three.

so Yeah, this route might suit those with big wingspan. But that also makes it morpho…

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