UKC

Matt Fultz makes first repeat of Big Z, 8C+

© Matt Fultz Climbing

Matt Fultz has made the first repeat of Big Z, 8C+, in Lake Tahoe, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, USA.

The boulder, which was established by Shawn Raboutou in 2020, represented one of Fultz' longest standing projects to date, with Fultz having spent more than thirty sessions on the boulder across the space of three years.

Big Z begins with a series of technical bicycles for the feet, as well as thin cracks for the fingers, with the climber's body moving more sideways than upwards. After the low crux section, the climber is able to get a toe hook round a far arete, leading to a committing and snatchy hand move above a boulder that is so close that putting a pad on it would risk interfering with the climb itself. 

Finally, after the climber is able to reach the arete with both hands, the boulder finishes up easier terrain. 

Despite knowing that the boulder was 'impossible' for him when he first tried it, Fultz continued to return to it, specifically because it helped him work his weaknesses.

Due to being a taller climber, Fultz' own beta was quite different to Shawn's, with Fultz using a knee bar at the beginning. Whilst this allowed him to avoid one of the bicycle moves, it left him with an entirely new crux.

Sharing news of the ascent across social media, Fultz said: 

'So so happy right now! What a process for me and a huge personal achievement. This is the hardest problem I have ever done without a doubt. Honestly, this is the first time I truly understand the concept of a problem being bigger and more meaningful than just the number attached to it'.

'This problem made me question myself and demanded so much more than I ever thought I would have to give. I actually stopped believing in myself. I felt serious imposter syndrome when people referred to me as a "pro climber". I'm not sure that will go away now that it's done, but I do know that I am just really really grateful for the experience and the frustrations that allowed me to learn more about myself'.

'I've been trying Big Z for the past 3 years. During my first 10-ish sessions I knew it was impossible for me. I'm too tall and don't fit into the positions at all. My fingers are too big to fit into the cracks. My butt is too big to avoid the dab on the rock. I only continued to show up because I knew it was good for me to work on my weaknesses, and holy cow what a sick line!'

'I eventually worked out the kneebar beta which unlocked the middle crux, but while the kneebar fixed a problem it also created one. The transition out of the kneebar became a new crux and set me up for the next moves terribly'.

'This year I fell on the last move. Then a couple days ago I basically did it from one move in. I truly believed for the first time. Fast forward about 20 more sessions and I ended up on top with full confidence on my first try of the day'.

Big Z is Fultz' eighth boulder at 8C+, you can watch footage of the ascent:


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22 Mar

'I eventually worked out the kneebar beta which unlocked the middle crux, but while the kneebar added a problem it also created one.

Great 2 for 1 deal. In all seriousness, how much he grew and learned on sth that seemes unattainable inspires.

Well spotted! Looks like Matt's updated his comments, so I've done the same in the news report - and yeah 8C+ whilst working your weaknesses is an incredible effort!

22 Mar

The direct route of the face looks to be a bit of a challenge. There's a peg with a krab at the top so I assume someone's trying it?

22 Mar

My butt is too big to avoid the dab on the rock. I only continued to show up because I knew it was good for me to work on my weaknesses...

Good to know this debilitating condition is finally getting some recognition.

Looks nails!

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