Last year saw Gatineau’s Yves Gravelle tear through Quebec’s remaining open projects. Since March of last year, Gravelle has established over four V12 or V13 boulder problems in and around Morin-Heights.
Popularized on social media for his incredible feats of strength, Gravelle has taken a hardline approach to training that prioritizes power and finger strength. Between his most recent videos with Andrew MacFarlane and his ascent of the Gas Station project, Gravelle has shown that progression can come out of lockdown.
He began these last 12 months with the first ascent of Finnish Stylz, a thin V13 at the Crown. The high-tension, small-grip test-piece climbs granite edges and moves right of the area classic: Crucifix.
In the same area, Gravelle would establish the more powerful La-Relève Low, a beautiful compression project that stood for years awaiting its first ascent.
While the Crown still offers a couple of opportunities for difficult FAs, Gravelle spent the end of the summer in Kanata-Tremblant working the lower start to his incredibly challenging V14: Miall’s Ahead. This full line has potential to be Canada’s most difficult boulder problem as it adds a V12-V13 into the V14.
On August 26, Gravelle would join Samuel Tiukuvarra to work on a legendary Laurentides’ problem dubbed The Gas Station Project. Famous for its history as an old Chris Sharma project, this unclimbed mega effectively breaks down into two hand moves from the stand. On that day, they could not reach the top.
Furthering his train of ascents, Gravelle would pull through Le Purgeur, a problem he would mention as one of the last infamous four-star projects in the park region of Val David.
He would also establish the sit start to this project in this same year.
These boulders would join a seemingly endless first ascent tick-list in which Zatoichi V13, a thin-gripped test-piece, would fall to Gravelle’s impregnable fingers. Two weeks later, Gravelle would also establish the first ascents of Mariposa V12/13 and Maximum Overdrive V12.
After taking a little time off for the holidays, Gravelle would refocus and join UK-based, Ontario bred, Macfarlane for a small youtube series that profiled the illustrious boulderer. After hitting a significant number of his benchmarks in these videos, he would return the famous Sharma and Daisuke project in the Laurentides.
At over 45-degrees overhanging, this boulder stands as one of the area’s most inspiring and challenging problems. Unlike the granite of the Crown, the almost slick grips of this board climbing masterpiece make it one of Canada’s most aesthetic establish problems.
Rated at V13, the stand alone makes an impressive accomplishment; however, Gravelle says that he is falling at the lip on the sit and has confidence for the oncoming season.
Featured Image of Gravelle’s low-start to Miall’s Ahead.