This last week brought a host of challenging boulder problems to some less than likely areas. Despite its incredible rock density, the Yosemite Valley had yet to see a V15 established amongst its boulders.
The ascent came from American boulderer Pablo Hammack. Although Hammack might be a new name to some, the strong American has completed numerous challenging problems across the western United States. At 15 years old, he would complete his first V14, progressing through to V16 just this last February.
With numerous other difficult ascents to his name, Hammack stands to join some of the strongest outdoor boulderers in the country, especially with his ascent of Love Will Tear Us Apart, Yosemite’s first V15.
The thuggy opening pulls directly off a steeply angled side-pull before exploding wide to a positive right-handed grip. Although the position following the first move does allow a small “rest,” the problem then moves through a technical heel rock on edges that appear invisible. After a nail-biting piano-match, the 20-year-old boulderer dead-pointed to the lip of a historic first for the Valley.
This incredible bloc comes right on the heels of Jimmy Webb’s Tierrany, a brand new V14 put up in April. After achieving the second ascent, Carlo Traversi mentioned that this boulder, while Yosemite’s hardest, would not retain the title for long. It is possible that Hammack’s project had been on the minds of many California-based boulderers.
Much to Hammack’s credit, he refrained from spraying on social media or 8a. The ascent had too much attached to it, however, for him to retain his flight under the radar. In either case, the proud ascent will serve as inspiration for those climbers flocking to America’s oldest climbing area.
In Canadian climbing, the world’s strongest hands, Yves Gravelle, completed the first ascent of a new ultra-hard Calabogie test-piece. Carnage V14, stands as perhaps the most heinous line in the entire province.
The problem starts as La Soufrière a newly established V11 Gravelle put up in April. The 11 starts low on an almost impossibly thin granite edges and a low right-handed side pull. After a heinous dead-point off the heinous left-hand, the boulder appears to at least become more comfortable. Throwing a heel, Gravelle bumps right before tossing left to the final droppable move of the boulder. Aside from the start holds, La Soufriere does not share any holds or movements with Carnage.
In true Gravelle style, Carnage takes the worst hold on La Soufrière and forces a match. Unlike La Soufrière, Gravelle said he started with the right hand on the left hold and his left hand on the right hold. “Pull off the ground, set the right heel, match the crimp left hand, then to the slopey edge and Dyno.”
Gravelle noted that he started working left and right hand betas for the start to preserve skin. as he was able to make the match work in a crossunder sequence he featured on his Instagram. “The crimps are very sharp and I would only get 2-3 tries before getting a really bad cut. The boulder was pretty challenging because I could have to rest over a week between sessions to rebuild the skin.”
Featured Image by Yves Gravelle.