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The World’s 30 Hardest Boulder Problems

The majority of the climbs are found in Europe, North America and Japan

There are over 30 climbers who’ve climbed V16 or harder, and the first proposed V16 was back in 2004 when Mauro Calibani climbed Tonino ’78, but it was downgraded to V15/16. The first V16 climbed was Hypnotized Minds by Daniel Woods.

Woods is by all means the best boulderer with six V16 first ascents and one proposed V17 first ascent. Jimmy Webb has climbed five V16s. There are two suggested V17s with Burden of Dreams and Return of Sleepwalker, neither have been repeated.

Of note is that Gioia, first climbed by Christian Core in 2008 was graded V15. In 2011, Adam Ondra repeated Gioia and said it should be uprated: “If you were to give this 8c [V15], then bouldering grades wouldn’t make much sense anymore. You’d have to downgrade all the 8b+’s (V14s) and most of the 8c’s (V13s) as well.” Ondra said Core rated the route V15 to “play things safe.” Ondra then suggested Gioia was V16. “If we admit that some of the current testpieces are V16 and not V15, I think it is better for the whole scale,” Ondra said.

Gioia was then repeated by Nalle Hukkataival in 2014 and Niccolò Ceria in 2020, neither proposed a grade. Elias Lagnemma made the fifth ascent in 2021 and used a knee-bar discovered in 2015. He gave it a personal grade of V15/16.

Below is a list of the 30 most difficult problems that get a solid V16 or harder rating, and who’s climbed them. For more info on hard bouldering visit 99boulders.

World’s Hardest Boulders

Burden of Dreams V17 (9A) in Lappnor Finland by Nalle Hukkataival
Return of the Sleepwalker V17 (9A) in Red Rock USA by Daniel Woods
Soudain Seul V16/V17 (8C+/9A) in Fontainebleau France by Simon Lorenzi, Nico Pelorson, Camille Coudert
Big Conviction V16 (8C+) in Fontainebleau France by Simon Lorenzi
Big Z V16 (8C+) in Tahoe USA Shawn Raboutou
Box Therapy V16 (8C+) in Rocky Mountain National Park USA by Daniel Woods, Drew Ruana, Sean Bailey
Brutal Rider V16 (8C+) in Sloup Czech Republic by Adam Ondra
Creature from the Black Lagoon V16 (8C+) in Rocky Mountain National Park USA by Daniel Woods, Dave Graham, Jimmy Webb, Daisuke Ichimiya, Griffin Whiteside, Shawn Raboutou, Carlo Traversi, Drew Ruana, Matt Fultz, Dylan Barks, Andy Lamb
Drop a Line V16 (8C+) in Cousimbert, Switzerland by Pirmin Bertle
Ephyra V16 (8C+) in Chironico Switzerland by Jimmy Webb, Niccolò Ceria, Giuliano Cameroni
Floatin’ V16 (8C+) in Mizugaki Japan by Ryuichi Murai
Ganesh V16 (8C+) in Tintorale Italy by Elias Iagnemma
Grand Illusion V16 (8C+) in Little Cottonwood Canyon USA by Nathaniel Coleman, Sean Bailey, Daniel Woods, Matt Fultz, Zach Galla
Hallucination (After Breakage) in V16 (8C+) in Hourai Japan by Kazuma Ise
Hypnotized Minds V16 (8C+) in Rocky Mountain National Park USA by Daniel Woods, Rustam Gelmanov, Dave Graham, Matt Fultz
Hypothèse assis V16 (8C+) in Fontainebleau France by Charles Albert
Insomniac V16 (8C+) in Lincoln Lake USA by Drew Ruana
La Révolutionnaire Extension V16 (8C+) in Fontainebleau France by Charles Albert
Ledoborec V16 (8C+) in Moravský kras Czech Republic by Adam Ondra
Moonlight Sonata V16 (8C+) in Joe’s Valley USA by Taylor McNeill
Nayuta V16 (8C+) in Gero Japan by Dai Koyamada
Nexus V16 (8C+) in Shiobara Japan  by Ryuichi Murai
No Kpote Only V16 (8C+) in Fontainebleau France by Charles Albert,, Ryohei Kameyama, Nico Pelorson
Off the Wagon Sit V16 (8C+) in Valle Bavona Switzerland by Shawn Raboutou, Daniel Woods, Jimmy Webb, Giuliano Cameroni, Sergei Topishko, Yannick Flohé
Poison the Well V16 (8C+) in Brione Switzerland by Giuliano Cameroni, Jimmy Webb
REM V16 (8C+) in Cresciano Switzerland by Giuliano Cameroni, Paul Robinson
Sleepwalker V16 (8C+) in Red Rock USA by Jimmy Webb, Daniel Woods, Nalle Hukkataival, Drew Ruana, Nathan Williams, Matt Fultz, Pablo Hammack
Terranova V16 (8C+) in Holstejn Czech Republic by Adam Ondra
The Process V16 (8C+) in Bishop USA by Daniel Woods
United V16 (8C+) in Mt. Mizugaki Japan by Ryuichi Murai

Return of Sleepwalker V17