Top American boulderers Alex Puccio and Michaela Kirsch have both climbed a difficult boulder with Hailstorm V14 in Ogden, Utah. It was first climbed by Drew Ruana.
Puccio has been on a sending spree lately with sends of For the Children V11, Abbadon V12, Power Save V12, Meadowlark Lemon Stand V13, Hungry Hungry Hippos V12, Tilt Shift V9, Stake Your Claim V10, Abaddon V12, Firestorm V12 and Hailstorm V14.
Puccio has climbed several V14s over the years, with her first coming in 2014 with Jade. Hailstorm is Kirsch’s first of the grade and she shared her stoke, saying, “I’m really proud of this moment and honestly a little surprised. I’ve now sent my hardest route (Dreamcatcher) and boulder to date while finishing my doctorate.”
Last summer Kirsch sent Dreamcatcher 5.14d in Squamish, shortly after Paige Claassen. Kirsch was there when Ruana got the first ascent, and said, “I was there when Drew got the FA and hunkered down beneath the boulder following a literal hailstorm.” In February, she ticked Power Save V12 and Community Service V10.
About her send of Hailstorm, Puccio said, “We went up to the boulder the day before and I only tried the first few moves of the stand start Firestorm for a very short time because the entire top of the boulder was wet from the snow melting on the top. Maybe we climbed for like 30 min or so before the water came all the way down the boulder onto the lower holds. So we left.
“We went back the next day and I was able to send the stand really quickly and then Michaela sent the sit. I didn’t have any intentions of really trying the sit but with some encouragement from them, I got on it, at least to see how some of the moves felt. I thought maybe I can come back to it. After a little work on it, and all of Michaela’s beta, I found myself climbing into the stand which already knew the moves and then climbed it to the top. For grading it, looks like some think V14 and some think V13, I honestly don’t know. Michaela sprayed me down with all her beta that she had to figure out for herself and it suited me really well.”