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Rock Climbing Weekly #3: Emi Takashiba, Andrew Funk and Duygu Haug

Big send of Pulse 5.14a, new 5.13s in Squamish, a lot of V10 sends and Duygu Haug climbs 5.14b in Turkey

There’s a lot to cover in the world of rock climbing, so we’re bringing it to you in a quick-to-read story that highlights some of the most noteworthy sends and misses of the week. For indoor-only climbing, visit Gripped Indoors and for paddling, camping, skiing and hiking visit Gripped Outdoors.

In Canada, Covid-19 restrictions have reduced how much spring travel rock climbers are doing, but crags are busy which means locals are getting out. In Squamish, Emi Takashiba sent Pulse 5.14 on the Big Show (we’ll have an interview about the send on April 28).

And 5.14 climber Tom Wright made the first ascent of Ignorance is Bliss 5.13a/b in the Valley of Shaddai. It was bolted in Spring 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown. “I couldn’t piece this one together last season,” he said. “But a winter of bouldering and some good conditions helped take it down first session this year. An amazing opening boulder problem (bring a knee pad) leads to excellent technical face climbing. Boulder problem will feel easier the taller you are, felt V7/8 for me, 513a/b?” Another FA that went down in Squamish was by Josh Duncan of Hermit Crab 5.13a at Cheakamus Canyon.

Also in Squamish, Andrew Funk continued his spring sending spree with The Other Way V10, Overdrive V11 and Fool’s Gold V12. And Josh Choi sent The Reckoning Stand V12, Dylan Smith climbed My Gift, Your Curse V10, Jacob Scharfman climbed Underworld V10 and Adrian Kask sent Nalle’s Arete V10 and Send the Pain Below V10. In Alberta, Zack Watson repeated Sharp Shooter 5.13b, Sean Peter sent Mon Col V10 at Big Rock and Matt Lucas sent Jabba V12, also at Big Rock.

Farther east, climbers in Winnipeg are developing a two-pitch crag in Whiteshell Provincial Park. Ontario is under strict don’t travel rules, so climbers aren’t getting out much there. In Quebec, Emile Baril sent La Matrone V11 and Brutus Low V11, both at Parc de la Madone. And Dung Nguyen, who once coached Team Canada from Canmore, sent El Ninjo 5.12a in Luskville.

Internationally, top West London comp climber Molly Thompson-Smith climbed her first V13 with Keen Roof in the U.K. She’s been spending more time outdoors this spring than in the past. A serious finger injury and surgery at the end of the 2017 season forced her to take eight months off, but she fought my way back to win the National Championships in October 2018. “Outside of sport, I am a huge advocate for diversity and inclusion in sport,” she said. “Currently, my full focus is aimed at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

In Turkey, Duygu Haug climbed Aaron 5.14b. She lives at JoSiTo Camp in the heart of the climbing areas Geyikbayiri and Antalya. World Champion ice climber Lucie Hrozová, 32, recently took up bouldering and last week climbed Red Hot Tortilas V11 and Temná hmota V13 in Sneznik.

In Spain, Alex Megos upgraded Ramon Julian’s Mejorando Imagen from 5.14d to 5.15b. Julian made the first ascent in 2013 after only seven tries. A number of his climbs have been upgraded over the years. It took Megos over a week to make the second ascent. He said, “Pulling up on the draws I decided to give it one more try to at least drive back home with bleeding fingers. I lowered to the ground, my expectations were nonexistent. I had no chance to climb it on my sixth try.”

Top trad climber James Pearson, 36, sent his third 5.14d with Ça Chauffe in Seynes, France. He said, “At least on paper, Ça Chauffe  should have suited me pretty well, and after climbing through the crux on my second day of red-points, I figured it would go down pretty quick. There was just one little problem– I couldn’t do one of the moves in the upper 8b! With time, perseverance, lots of falls, and even more hand cream, eventually, things fell into place. This route was an excellent reminder of just how crazy climbing can be and how everybody is different.”

In the U.S.A., Alex Puccio sent two more V12s with Temper Tantrum in Elevenmile Creek and Burnt in Kraft Boulders. The 31-year-old national champ has climbed over 220 V11 or hard problems, with nearly 10 being V14. Puccio continues to be one of the best boulderers in the world.

And finally, Simone Tentori made the first ascent of Megalodonte V15 in Val Masino. He said, “What a journey. The longest battle to date. So many days practising these moves till perfection. Hard connection of Crazy Snake V13 into Snake’s bite V12. First of the grade for me and for the valley, so proud of this ascent. Thanks to my friends and all the people who kept the psych high.” Watch the send below.

Megalodonte V15

Weekly Updates: Ice Season 2020/21Rock 1, Rock 2

Access: Many climbing areas in Canada are currently in areas where Covid-19 restrictions are limiting travel. Don’t travel for rock climbing right now, it could risk future access. Be sure to follow your local access group: SquamishKootenaysAlbertaOntarioQuebecNova ScotiaNewfoundland.

Gear and Tips: For spring rock climbing gear, check out the best climbing harnesses for 2021 and the best cams for 2021. For safety, here are five reasons to wear a helmettips to be a better bouldering spotter and 10 tips for a more fun spring. Always wear a helmet!