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Fall 2020 Starts with Sends to 5.15c and V16

Including the second ascent of the world's first 5.15c

We’re two weeks into fall 2020 and the list of hard sends from climbers around the world grows by the day. Conditions in many of North America and Europe’s top spots have been nearly perfect, which has led to big projects going down.

Here are just a few of the headline-making climbs from the past few weeks.

On the first day of fall, Aidan Roberts made the first ascent of Super Power V15+ at the Land Stones in the U.K. after four years of effort. He said, “In terms of pure difficulty and minimalism, this one takes the top spot and undoubtedly barges it’s way to my hardest climb to date whilst also aligning perfectly with my style. Steep, body tension, wide moves and small crimps and, from my experience, possibly one of the best of it’s style I’ve come across.”

Next up was Eva Hammelmüller with a send of Der Seewächter 5.14a in Ötztal. Over the past few months she’s climbed nearly 10 routes 5.13c or harder. Dani Fuertes then sent Ali Hulk sit start extension total 5.15b in Rodellar, Spain.

American Isabelle Faus continued her strong summer with a number of new V14s, including Sinwav in Pine Cliff. The top boulderer has made first ascents of 20 boulders V12 or harder.

In Montserrat, 12-year-old Geila Macia climbed her first 5.13c called Vuelo a Ciegas at Totxo del Macana. It was the first of the grade in Spain back in 1986.

Karoline Sinnhuber then sent Minas Tirith in Ötztal for her second 5.14a. The once top comp climber has sent over 100 problems V11 or harder.

A few days later, Daniel Woods, 31, repeated Giuliano Cameroni’s Blade Runner V15 in Rocky Mountain National Park. No other climber has sent more hard problems than Woods, who has 25 V15s and eight V16s to his name.

Alizee Dufraisse, 33, then sent Fin de Ali Hulk extension and Hulk extensión total, both 5.14c in Spain’s Ali Baba cave.

Dufraisse’s husband, top climber Dave Graham, then made the second ascent of Fin de Ali Extension Sit Start 5.15a at Rodellar. “Basically if you see the cave, this is a left entrance to the ending,” he said. “This adds 18 moves to the big undercling, and if you do Ali Hulk stand it adds about the same, but much easier climbing in my opinion.”

Next up was the big news of the week with Stefano Ghisolfi making the second ascent of Adam Ondra’s Change 5.15c in Flatanger. He said after, “It ended today with a bloodbath that lasted more than an hour to complete the 185 moves.”

World Cup gold medalist, Hyunbin Min, then made the first ascent of Soul Rock Dance 5.15b in Korea after only five days of projecting it.

Matt Fultz then put down Hypnotized Minds V15 in Rocky Mountain Natinonal Park for his 11th of the grade. He said, “Covid hit, the park shut down, and I struggled with situational depression. I gained 10 pounds. Climbing was the last thing I wanted to do. Even still, I would run through the moves in my mind once each night before bed. As July rolled in and climbing outside was given the green light, motivation began to swell again. Everything in my control was directed toward improving my chances at Hypno in the fall.”

This week, Cameron Hörst sent his third 5.14d with Arrested Development at Mount Charleston. The steep California route was first climbed by Ethan Pringle.

Yesterday, Jorge Diaz-Rullo, sent El Bon Combat for this fifth 5.15b over the past year-and-a-half. He summed up the exerpience as: “Thirty-plus days of work, almost two months living alone, stressed by the heat of summer, drenched by a ton of rain, one robbery, so many frustrations and the fear of a losing battle.”

Also recently, Olympic-qualified Mia Krampl with her second V12 called Wrestling with an Alligator, watch below.

In Canada

Over the past few weeks, a number of hard routes have been sent in Canada. In the Canadian Rockies, Dexter Bateman repeated Smells Like Teen Fascism 5.14a in McGillivray Canyon.

He reported, “Out of every route I’ve climbed/sent this definitely took me the most goes. Must’ve sunk 25-ish goes into this thing. Definitely not the most amount of days or time sunk into it but I tried it so many times, the first four- five draws were the hardest and I’d lower right away if I fell. Then I also fell on the heartbreaking crux at the top. Bled lots on this route, and lost alot of stoke on it haha but once I sent I realized it was a wonderful route.”

Horne Lake has been the place to visit this fall and some hard grades have been going down.

The big news is Becca Frangos with her send of Driven 5.14a, her third 5.14 of 2020.

Marcel Aarden made the first ascent of Dark Matter, and said, “The most sustained overhung route in the cave. Climb the steep tufa goodness to a tough rp crux before the anchors.” He graded it as a soft 5.14a.

Graham McGrenere and Dan Beland repeated it and gave it a solid 5.13d. Beland said, “Great route. I struggled the most with the bottom parts but once the beta was more refined it was was actually not too hard. I did the top boulder similar to Marcel with a couple of shorty mods. Lots of good kneebar rests.”

McGrenere also climbed Satellite Debris 5.13a (which was also sent by Vikki Weldon), Prince Gizzard and the Lunar Wizzard 5.13b and Supernova 5.13a.

Also at Horne Lake, Kim McGrenere repeated The Baobob Tree 5.12d.

In Squamish, Quebec crusher Em Pellerin has been projecting Cobra Crack, one of the world’s most classic 5.14- trad climbs. Earlier this summer, Pellerin made a rare ascent of La Zébrée 5.14 trad in Quebec.

If Pellerin can clip the chains, it will be the first female ascent of Cobra Crack, which has had 13 recorded redpoints with the last being in 2017 by Said Belhaj, read more here.

Two years ago, Babsi Zangerl worked on Cobra Crack, but had to return to Europe before the tick. Good luck, Em!