Alban Levier has made the third ascent of l’Alchimiste (V15) in Fontainebleau, France. The boulder problem came into fame after Marc Le Menestrel established it in 1996 at 8B (V13), which was at the time the
hardest boulder problem in the forest and the first of its grade.
Not long after Le Menestrel’s ascent, the crux holds were mysteriously chipped off and the problem was deemed impossible. It lay dormant for nearly two
decades, until last March. Nalle Hukkataival repeated l’Alchimiste—using a slightly different variation to the original line—and
re-opened one of the Font’s hardest test-pieces.
Hukkataival never proposed a new grade, reasoning in a Facebook post that he spent a long time working the problem but then sent very quickly after discovering
better beta. He wrote that trying the wrong method for weeks skewed his perspective, so he chose to leave the grading to future repeaters.
Levier managed to send l’Alchimiste in only two sessions, using similar beta to Hukkataival. He suggested a grade of 8C (V15). Levier also mentioned
that he thinks the original Le Menestrel line to left might be possible.
Earlier this month, Levier made the first ascent of La Force at the Orsay roof south of Paris. He suggested a 9a (5.14d) route grade for the problem
instead of the speculated 8C (V15) boulder grade.