Back in 2016, Nalle Hukkataival made the first ascent of the “Lappnor Project” in Finland. He named the problem Burden of Dreams and assigned it a difficulty of V17 (9A), making it the first problem in the world at the grade. It took Hukkataival nearly four years to send the problem.
Six years later and Burden of Dreams has still not seen a repeat. Several other top climbers have given attempts over the years but all have come up short. New V17’s have been established in the meantime, including Daniel Woods’ Return of the Sleepwalker and Shawn Raboutou’s Alphane.
Burden of Dreams is a five-move crimp line on an 45-degree overhanging face that resembles board climbing. Everything about the problem is difficult. The holds are small and faced in awkward directions, requiring very specific finger and thumb positions. The moves are long, especially to the final three-finger crimp, necessitating powerful, dynamic movement. And the foot holds are lousy demanding an immense amount of body tension. Another big factor contributing to the lack of repeats is that the problem is located in an obscure location with a short climbing season and finnicky conditions.
With only a handful of moves and a grade of V17, Burden of Dreams may contain the most challenging series of moves on any established boulder problem in the world. Hukkataival said it has the hardest starting move he had ever attempted.
Will Burden of Dreams be repeated anytime soon? Two of the best boulderers in the world—Aidan Roberts and Shawn Raboutou—appear to be making progress on the line. In late 2021, Roberts took a trip to Finland to try the problem. He did not send but he came away motivated. He 3D scanned the holds and has been training on a plastic replica of the problem. You can check out his efforts in the video below.
Roberts, 24, has accumulated an impressive list of hard bouldering ticks. He was the first to repeat Alphane V17, and he’s put up several V16 first ascents, including the U.K.’s first two V16’s: Superpowers and Isles of Wonder Low.
Raboutou visited Burden of Dreams in late 2022. A recent videos shows him and fellow hard climber Giuliano Cameroni working the individual moves. Raboutou was able to complete four out of the five hard moves over the first few days of working the problem. And he felt very optimistic about the only move left uncompleted— the notoriously difficult first move.
We’ll all have to wait and see if Raboutou or Roberts return to Finland in 2023.