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Nalle Hukkataival Sends Dragon’s Guardian in South Africa

Nalle Hukkataival made the second ascent of Paul Robinson’s Dragon’s Guardian at Cederberg in South Africa less than two weeks after the first ascent. Robinson graded the problem V15 and Hukkataival was quick to suggest maybe it’s not quite V15.

I can clearly remember seeing this boulder for the first time out in the distance. It was 2014, and my first time exploring this valley in the cederberg. I ran over excited, not knowing what I would find underneath the roof. I quickly spied an easier line that would later become, "dragon's eye," but to the left remained a nearly blank section of perfect stone that almost begged to be climbed. That year, I could not visualize the line so I left without trying it. I came back this year with a fresh perspective and sat there trying to figure out a sequence through the roof. I eventually decided it could be feasible and I began to give the project efforts. Days went by on it, some good, some bad, but each day I learned and broke down the sequences one by one. After, a big storm, I woke up to perfect conditions. I marched up the hill and straight to this roof. After a short warm up and a quick refresher on some of the moves, I took a few deep breaths, chalked up, and sent the line that I once thought could never be climbed! The process of it all really was just as amazing as standing atop of what I am now naming, "The Dragon's Guardian, 8C/V15. No words can describe what it is like for me to find and climb all of these first ascents; I just feel extremely lucky and grateful for the opportunity that I have been given 😀. #bouldering photo: @jacquesvanzylphotography

A photo posted by Paul Robinson (@paulrobinson87) on

On Instagram, Hukkataival wrote, “Excited to see Paul Robinson climbed his project The Dragon’s Guardian V15, I was stoked to go check it out. Up on the side of the mountain, the boulder offers a nice view over the whole Driehoek Valley. “The boulder climbs out a steep overhang with lots of body tension and extended moves. I really enjoyed figuring out the subtleties of the beta that culminates in a powerful foot cut at the end of the crux. Perhaps not quite V15 but a great hard boulder nonetheless. Thanks to Paul for opening it.”

Hukkataival has climbed some of the world’s hardest problems, including The Understanding in Magic Wood, Stepping Stone in Grampians, Livin’ Large in Rocklands and many others. He also made the third ascent of Gioia V16 in Varazze, Italy.