UKC

Shauna Coxsey climbs The Boss, 8B+

© Dave Parry

Shauna Coxsey has climbed The Boss (f8B+), at Yarncliffe in the Peak District.

Shauna Coxsey climbs The Boss, 8B+  © Dave Parry
Shauna Coxsey climbs The Boss, 8B+
© Dave Parry

In climbing The Boss, Shauna has become the first woman to climb 8B+ on British soil.

The ascent is Shauna's third at 8B+, and her second at the grade this year, having climbed Fotofobia sit (f8B+) just under two months ago. Her first ascent at 8B+ came back in 2014, when she made the first female ascent of New Base Line (f8B+), in Averstal (Magic Wood), Switzerland.

The Boss received its first ascent at the hands and heels of Ned Feehally in 2020, when it was touted as potentially the hardest boulder problem on Gritstone. Ned was first introduced to the boulder by Ben Bransby - who made his own ascent of the boulder just a few weeks ago - in the winter of 2019.

Compression and heel hooks? It's got Ned Feehally written all over it  © Nick Brown - UKC
Compression and heel hooks? It's got Ned Feehally written all over it
© Nick Brown - UKC

After making the first ascent, Ned told UKC that it was 'rare to find a gritstone problem that's got sustained climbing as this roof does. As a result, it feels much more physical than your average grit boulder problem. It's a real fight'. He added that, whilst it's easier for second, third, and fourth ascensionists to comment on grades, The Boss felt more challenging than his top end gristone ascents of Second Coming (f8B), Ill Behaviour (f8B), and Voyager Sit-start (f8B+).

We got in touch shortly after Shauna made the ascent to find out more:


Congratulations on climbing The Boss! It's a beautiful looking boulder, can you describe the climbing for us?

Thank you! It's been on the list ever since Ned did the FA. It is such a gem! The climbing is steep and powerful with some bad holds. It really feels improbable at first. The last move is this huge blind slap overhead from a horizontal position. It's totally committing and a bit spooky.

Shauna commits to the final slap  © Band of Birds
Shauna commits to the final slap
© Band of Birds

When did you first try it?

I tried the end a little a few weeks back. And then I tried it again a few days ago when I dropped the last move, which kinda felt like a right of passage. I knew I wanted to get back as soon as the conditions looked good and today they couldn't have been better for me! 

What was the crux for you, and how did you work it out?

Does waiting for it to be dry and in good condition count as a crux? As for the climbing, the last move was the crux for me. It was so far and the toe hook was tricky to learn.

Shauna cuts loose on the final move of The Boss, 8B+  © Band of Birds
Shauna cuts loose on the final move of The Boss, 8B+
© Band of Birds

How does The Boss compare to your other ascents at 8B+, Fotofobia Sit and New Base Line?

It felt hard! I have been waiting a long time to believe I was strong enough to even try The Boss.

It's hard to compare it to the other 8B+'s I've done as it's a very different style but it sure felt a lot harder than Fat Lip (f8B), a local 8B I did recently which, although on different rock, it climbs kinda similar.

&copy Band of Birds  © Band of Birds
© Band of Birds

When we spoke last year, shortly after your ascent of Hydro 8B, you told us about how nice it was to be feeling confident enough to try hard boulders, and to find your fight again - how are you feeling about your climbing currently, having climbed two 8B+ boulders in the last two months?

I am so happy! I've been working with a new coach, Joy Black, for a little while now and she has really helped me level up and find parts of myself both physically and mentally I'd been struggling to get back.

Shauna Coxsey climbs The Boss, 8B+  © Dave Parry
Shauna Coxsey climbs The Boss, 8B+
© Dave Parry

I still feel like I've got massive gains to make in training and I can't wait to see what I can do on the rock.

Any other boulders you have your eyes on?

So many! All over. The list keeps getting longer. 

What are your current goals in climbing?

To keep showing my daughter how much I love doing what I do. And to see what's possible.


Footage of the ascent will be released later this year.

&copy Band of Birds  © Band of Birds
© Band of Birds


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Overall 1st place in the 2016 and 2017 IFSC Bouldering World Cup. Appointed MBE in 2016. Britain's first Sport Climbing athlete in Tokyo 2020.

Shauna's Athlete Page 82 posts 18 videos



I shouldn't be surprised, but the speed of the ascents Shauna has done lately really has been mind-blowing. Makes you wonder what the future has in store when she's rattling through 8B+s at a rate of knots...

2 May

Amazing. That sounds like really not many sessions of trying too. So impressive.

In one of the pics, there's a green tube of something in the background which I really hope is a tube of Pringles...

2 May

Given the 'product placement' I suspect a can of Green Red Bull...

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