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Words with Yves Gravelle about new Quebec V15s and projects

The top Canadian boulderer has made first ascents of a number of Ontario and Quebec's hardest problems this year

I scroll the social media feeds as much as anyone, watching what friends and other climbers are working on, sending and planning to visit. And over the past few months, one climber continues to pop up at the top of the feed with yet another hard first ascent: Yves Gravelle.

I reached out to Gravelle shortly after his first ascent of Low Miall’s V15 (the direct start to his Miall’s Ahead V14) at Kenata Tremblant, Quebec, at the end of September with a few questions about the problem and other projects. Gravelle said that he’d touch base soon, as he was busy working on yet more new problems.

So, it was no surprise when I opened Instagram yesterday and saw that he’d made the first ascents of yet another two hard problems: So What V15 and Turn & Burn V14.

Despite his busy schedule and list of projects, he touched base after his impressive double send day. Below are some thoughts by Gravelle on Low Miall’s V15 and other projects.

Had any climbers attempted Low Miall’s before you? The stand start called Green Dolphin Street is a very popular V11/12 and gets a lot of traffic. But, I haven’t seen many people trying the low. Kanata Tremblant is quickly becoming a top destination for hard bouldering. I’m sure we will see some strong climbers visiting and trying the sit start soon.

How long did you train for the project? I starting working on Low Miall’s this summer. For the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot of volume on Miall’s Ahead V14 to build power endurance for another project on this wall starting on Thessalhydra V14 that links left into Miall’s Ahead V14. I eventually got strong enough to pull off the start holds of Low Miall’s, and it became a project and another fun link up.

What were some specific things that you had to train? Power endurance. I’ve always been more of a dragster. I have a lot of power and finger strength, but couldn’t sustain that output for more than a few seconds. Now I can do very hard moves for over a minute. This is a game changer for me. I also spend a lot of time working on flexibility.

What’s the crux move(s)? Overall, the line is very sustained. I knew that I could fall on any of the moves. The hardest move for me is the T-Rex compression move, and moving my feet from that position. The first move on Low Miall’s is pretty hard as well.

How many sessions did you make on the problem? I’ve lost count. I’ve been going on average once a week since June.

What did you do to celebrate? I moved my pads and started working on the next project. I also messaged my wife to tell her the news.

Are there other potential V15 or harder problems in Quebec and Ontario? Tons! The past few years I’ve been cleaning and piecing all those projects together. Now I finally got the tools and confidence to send them. I put up a new boulder yesterday called So What. It starts on Thessalhydra V14 and links into Miall’s Ahead V14. It’s even harder than Low Miall’s V15, adding a V13 section into the V14. The sit to Cosa Nosta and La Relève are also the top prizes in the region.

Do you have any more projects this season? Yes, my list keeps on growing. I would like to revisit and establish the sit to Widowmaker. I got very close to sending before they closed the borders due to Covid. The sit start to Cosa Nostra is also at the top of my list.

Watch Gravelle on his FA of Carnage V14 in Ontario