Thursday, September 2, 2010

2010 Round-Up part 1

October 2010
- The 9th annual Durban Bouldering Competition was incorporated into the SANCF structure for national team selections for the first time ever. The highlights of the event were the mens and ladies open finals in which the top climbers had 7 minutes to climb each of the 3 finals problems. Julia Chen set an uncontested highpoint on ladies final problem 1, slipping off the finishing hold on her flash attempt in the humid conditions. Problem 2 for the ladies had a stopper move which no one managed to hold, whilst problem 3 proved too powerful for all the girls except Julia who managed an impressive topout, and Illona Pelser who stuck the crux move but fell soon after. Marijus Šmigelskis managed the only top outs problems 1 and 3 to grab 1st place in the mens open category, and Falco Filotto's flash of the reachy problem 2 secured him 2nd place.

Mens Open Ladies Open U18 Boys U18 Girls U15 Boys U15 Girls
 1.  Marijus Šmigelskis  Julia Chen  Jason Salt  Jasmin Pillai  Tristan Swart  Alex Williams
 2.  Falco Filotto  Illona Pelser  Stefan Lutge  Carmen Naiker  Jonathan Hare  Karina Moodley
 3.  Wesley Black  Candice Bagley  Dylan Williams  -  Jason Coetzee  -

- Steve Bradshaw has become the second South African to boulder 8B+ with a late season send of "Mooiste Meisie" in Rocklands (often misspelt as "Mooiste Maise"). Steve struggled with the heat as summer approached on the extremely condition dependant line of slopers up a steep wall. Resorting to working the problem at night for most sessions, he finally got a cold spell in the weather one afternoon and made it count. Check out the rest of Steve's adventures here.

- Regarded by most locals as the best problem in Cape Town, "Pandemonium" finally recieved it's first female ascent when Julia Chen climbed it from the stand start (which is 7C) during a weekday night session. Julia becomes the first South African lady to boulder 7C after working the problem a handful of days.

September 2010
"Pandemonium" 8A received it's 3rd and 4th ascents from the sit start by Arjan de Kock and Andrew Wood at Redhill. Steve Bradshaw has returned to South Africa after a few years in the USA and spent several months in Rocklands, where he managed to join the small club of South Africans that have climbed 8B with his send of "The Arch". The line was originally opened by Fred Nicole and was featured in the opening scene of "Rocklands", the first feature length film about the area. Unfortunately, "The Arch" lost some of it's holds over the years but was re-climbed by Italian Christian Core at 8B. The problem lay unrepeated in it's upgraded state until Steve's success on the line this season.

- Arjan de Kock continued his rampage with a day in Topside where he managed to onsight "Captain Graffiti" 8A at Echo Valley for the problem's 5th ever ascent! Micky Wiswedel was on hand to capture the moment, see more amazing pics on his blog... At Redhill's Coppermine, Marijus Šmigelskis made the 2nd ascent of "Toxic Avenger" 8A, a line opened by American Paul Robinson a few weeks prior. Paul also made 2nd ascents of "The Contents" 8A at CBD and "Black Hawk Down" 8A+ at The Cinema in Topside.

August 2010
- With very little happening anywhere else in South Africa, all focus was in Rocklands the past two months and more specifically on Arjan de Kock. Arjan's 4 month stay at the world's best bouldering area has been a climber's fairytale. During his stay, he flashed an 8A and an 8A+, and more impressively sent five 8B+'s, downgrading one to 8B (the brand new "The Big Short" established by Paul Robinson). One of Arjan's 8B+'s, "Golden Shadow", is a Fred Nicole test-piece that some rumoured to be 8C. In addition to these, Arjan also dispatched the mega-classic Fortress testpiece "The Vice", a solid 8B. Check out Arjan's complete ticklist here. Benjamin de Charmoy came heartbreakingly close to sending "Ray of Light" and had to settle for "Steakhouse" 8A+ as a consolation prize. Dom Riordan paid the 'lands a brief visit and put down "Ron Ron et Caramel" and "Paula Abdul", both now at 7C+ form their original grades of 8A. American Paul Robinson has tied up a few loose ends from his trip in 2007 and found time to put up a few new lines, including re-climbing "Black Eagle", now 8B+, and a new roof problem near "Leopard Cave" called "La Grotte Magnifique" checking in at 8A. The highlight of Paul's trip undoubtedly is the long-awaited second ascent of "Monkey Wedding" 8C, a strong candidate for  as one of the hardest problems in the world.

June 2010
- The news coming in from Rocklands is getting better and better as a handful of local climbers have made it their home for the season. At Roadside, Mathieu Schneuwly and Mat Rowe dispatched "Sunset Arete" 7C and Benjamin de Charmoy finished off his project "Nutsa" 8A+. Julia Chen is leading the ladies front with an impressive ascent of "The Rack", a super burly 7B roof at The Fortress. Rachelle de Charmoy and Faye Brouard sent "John Denver" 7A and Faye also added "Director's Cunt" 7B to her ticklist. Most impressively however, is Arjan de Kock's performance: he finally managed to send "Black Shadow" 8B after numerous sessions greasing off the last few moves. Arjan also climbed "Armed Response" 8B without too much difficulty as well as numerous 8A's but perhaps most noteworthy was his pseudo-flash (he had redpointed "Black Spider" a few years prior) of "Green Mamba", a problem that was originally opened at 8B, now settling at 8A+...

- Back in Cape Town, Andrew Wood and Marijus Šmigelskis added a few more problems to The Den in Cecillia Forest, the hardest of which was "Super Sonic" 7C. Phlip Olivier surprised himself with a fast send of "Chaos" at Redhill for his first 8A, leapfrogging 7C and 7C+!

 - The Rocklands season is in full swing and wasting no time, Alan Hills teamed up with Adam Ludford to both send their first 7C+, "Hole in One" as well as "Jaws" 7C. Marijus Šmigelskis opened an excellent 18+ move problem up a clean crimpy wall at the new Ingozi sector. The line, "Go Green!" 7C is bound to become a classic as soon as access arrangements have been sorted out. Arjan de Kock needed only 4 tries to send "Panama" 8A, and onsighted "Go Green!" as well as the highball "Splash of Red". The latter problem was originally opened at 8A, but grades as low as 7B have been given for the line. Time well tell where the grades settles, but it is an impressive style of ascent regardless of the grade. Julia Chen got reaquinted with the Cederberg sandstone after her Asia tour by sending "Human Energy" 7A+, "Esoterrorist" 7A and "Director's Cunt" 7B all in an afternoon.

May 2010
- Marc Efune joined the locals for a week in Rocklands and came away with "Caroline" 7C and then "No Late Tenders" 7C+ along with Scott Noy. Arjan de Kock is having a strong start to the season with "Barracuda" 8A, "Out of Balance" 8A and "Caroline" 7C not proving much of a challenge.

- There was a fair amount of action at Redhill this month. At Coppermine, Benjamin de Charmoy nabbed an ascent of "Panic Room" 7C+ and Marijus Šmigelskis adding the long awaited sit start to "Pandemonium" to up the grade to 8A and create possibly the best problem of the grade in the entire country. Mike Janata sent "Elfen Lied" 8A, and Mat Rowe has been slowly dispatching many of Redhill's testpieces, with "Tears of a Rapper" 7C+, "Flaming Pig" 7C, and finally his long time nemesis "Chaos" 8A all falling in quick succession.

- Fresh from his 2nd place finish at the NBL finals, Wesley Black spent some time at eZemvelo and opened his, as well as the area's, first 8A "Legends of Tuesday". He also added "Bird Watcher" 7C+ to eZemvelo's growing list of problems and made a repeat of "Animal Planet" 7C in three tries.

April 2010
- Despite the rains Marijus Šmigelskis headed out to eZemvelo after the NBL finals and managed to climb three 7C's in an afternoon, "The Deadly Mosquito""Escaping Paranoid Slopers" and "Power of One". Back in the Cape, Herman Rabe sent "I Believe I can Fly" 7C in Rocklands.

- Check out the NBL page for the results of the National Bouldering League finals for 2010.

- Topside's Echo Valley testpiece "Captain Graffiti" 8A received it's fastest ascent to date when Benjamin de Charmoy sent the line on just his second session in two months! This marks the 4th ascent of the problem and Benj rates it his hardest send yet despite the grade. Check out the video:

- As her time in Japan came to an end, Juria Chen spent a few days at Ogawayama where she sent the country's first ever bourder probrem "Captain Ahabu" 7A, which wasu opened 30 years ago. Juria also went back to Mitake ando sent the long traberse "Fato Attacker" 7A+ as werr as bisiting a few resser known bourdering areas around Tokyo.

- Benjamin de Charmoy and Marijus Šmigelskis had a rather successful day at Redhill's Easter Island. Benjamin kicked things off with the 4th ascent of "Tears of a Rapper" 7C+ in less time and fewer tries than it took him to send the 6C warm up! He then kept the ball rolling with the 2nd ascent of "Storefront Cemetery" 8A and to top things off made the first ascent of "No Room for Authority", a burly one move 7C. Marijus succeeded on first ascent of the prize line of the area, a hanging prow now named "The Pursuit of Happiness". It took Marijus about a week's worth of efforts over the past two months to unlock the complex 13 move compression sequence and he reckons the problem's difficulty lies somewhere between "Black Shadow" and "The Vice", both classic Rocklands 8B's of a similar style. Check out a video of the day:

- Cutloose Bouldering will now be bringing you some bouldering flicks in HD! check out the videos page for more info...

- Several Cape boulderers made a trip out to Rocklands over the Easter Weekend. Andrew Wood sent "Teatime" 7C with relative ease and Mat Rowe bagged his first 8A with "Black Velvet", followed by the classic "Jaws" 7C the next day.

March 2010
- Eastern Cape local Martin Renz dispatched "High Maintenance" 7C at Redhill, as well "Flaming Pig" 7C which was also repeated by Herman Rabe for his first of the grade. Back in Cape St Francis, Adam Ludford made the second known ascent of "Queen of the West" 7C.

- The temps have been dropping in Rocklands after a scorching summer. Arjan de Kock took advantage of the better conditions and sent "Witness the Sickness" 8A. Benjamin de Charmoy started the send train on "Who the Fuck is Minki" 7C which Marijus Šmigelskis and Andrew Woody joining immediately after.

- A few Cape climbers have spent the past while in visiting various countries in Europe and Asia. Dom Riordan has been sampling some gritstone in the UK's Peak District and made short work of the creatively named "Undercuts to Sloper" 7C.  Back in Austria's Maltatal, Edvinas Šmigelskis flashed a 7C and is not far off to sending some world famous 8B's! Julia Chen has been touring in Japan, where she made the second known female flash of "Ninja Gaeshi" 7A, at Tokyo's most popular and busiest bouldering area, Mitake. She then went on to repeat "Kodomo Gaeshi" 7A+ and checked out a recently developed area called Osawa where she sent a 7A whilst it was snowing...

- The new Easter Island power testpiece "Tears of a Rapper" 7C+ recieved its third ascent by Edvinas Šmigelskis. Edvinas, who is back in South Africa for a few weeks, climbed the Redhill line after about an hour of attemps and ironing out beta. Check out the clip of the send below, filmed off a cellphone so excuse the low quality:

- Natal local, Jason Salt who just turned 15, had a very successful day at the Rory Lowther Memorial Challenge, held annually in Swinburne. Jason managed to dispatch "Spunky Monkey" 7B, "Fat Bastard" and "No Strings Attached" both 7A+, along with many other easier lines. An impressive show from a promising young climber, the future seems bright for SA bouldering.

February 2010
- Continuing his good sending form, Andrew Wood made a fairly quick 3rd ascent of "Fallen Fighter" 7C at The Scree. All three ascentionists of the problem thus far have used slightly differing sequences. Check out the video of Andrew's ascent:

- Check out the NBL 2010 page for results and reports from the various regional leagues.

- Once again, Andrew Wood returned to Redhill, this time with Benjamin de Charmoy, with their sights set on "Chaos" 8A. The original concept of the problem involved a long move off a sloper rail to poor sloping crimps, before slapping up to slopers on the lip and topping out. "Chaos" remained a project for several years until Emile Esterhuizen thought of a slightly easier sequence by moving further to the right to a poor sidepull, and then moving back left into bad underclings above the sloper rail and skipping the crimps altogether. Although the line was complete, many Redhill locals felt that the true line was yet to be climbed. In 2007, Marijus Šmigelskis finally made the first ascent of the originally intended line bumping the grade up from 7C to 8A... Fastforward to 2010, Benjamin sent "Chaos" on his first session on the problem after sharing beta and watching Andrew dispatch it during his second day on the line. This came as a surprise to both climbers as they had just about given up for the day, but both made progress on some last ditch efforts and stuck around for the send.

- The once popular "Ponder" 7B at Topside's boulders received it's first female ascent by Julia Chen. Julia fell off the final move on her first session working the line, and she climbed it easily after a few tries after a rest day.

- Andrew Wood and Julia Chen have been making several visits to Redhill and have repeated some of the older testpieces of the area. Andrew sent a trio of 7C's starting with "Cruel Angel's Thesis", then he returned to climb "Flaming Pig sit start" and "High Maintenance" both in the same afternoon. Julia's incredible form of late proved no match for "Megaduck" 7B, which she climbed in a very quick time after first trying the problem five months prior.

January 2010
- Bonnydoon at Topside saw some impressive action from the ladies front recently. Rachelle de Charmoy had a good day nearly flashing "Low Flow" 7A, and getting the send on her next attempt. Rachelle also dispatched "Two Stroke" 7A a while later. The highlight of the day, however, was without a doubt Julia Chen's repeat of "Powerlines" 7B. Julia worked the problem for one session, before returning and sending it on her 3rd attempt on her next. This classic roof testpiece has spit off many dedicated male boulderers and is widely regarded as a sandbag for the grade, making Julia's first female ascent of the problem all the more noteworthy.

- Edvinas Šmigelskis made a short visit to Cape Town over the holidays from his new home in Austria and spent a couple of sessions at The Scree. As a result "Summer Rain" 7C finally received a long awaited 2nd ascent, as did the more recent "Fallen Fighter", also 7C.

- Dale Posthumus has been braving the 40 degree temps in Rocklands over January and has been rewarded for his persistence with his first 7C+, "Weichei" at the Plateau boulders.

- Former Durbanite, turned Cape Town student Benjamin de Charmoy visited Redhill and sent the "Elfen Lied" 8A traverse on his second try after re-working the moves. Benj had tried the line in previous years but had no trouble sending the classic stamina testpiece this time round.

- Always below the radar, Professor Steven Bradshaw has been pushing the boundaries of SA climbing for over 3 decades. Several noteworthy sends in 2009 nearly went unnoticed, namely "Panic Room" 7C+ at Redill's Coppermine and "Bitter and Twisted" 7C at at Topside. Quite inspirational to know that with enough commitment and dedication, it's possible to stay in shape and climb hard long past your 20's and 30's...

- Julia Chen started off the new year well with three quick sends. First off was "Riot Police" 7A+ at Coppermine in Redhill, which went down after a handful of attempts in 37 degree heat. Then, a few days later, Julia went up to the Scree for a night session. There, she made a fast 3rd ascent of "Hot Pie Boy" 7A, topping out the wheelchair-if-you-fall slab in near pitch black darkness as her headlamp died down to a worthless glow on her send attempt. Returning to The Scree a few evening later, she made also short work of "The Holy Grail" 7A, in just a few tries.