Dave Graham ticked an old nemesis off his list with a send of Monkey Wedding (8C V15) in Rocklands,
South Africa. His ascent is the eighth known repeat of the Fred Nicole test-piece.
“Last weekend I finished off one of my ultimate-global-nemisis-projects, the legendary Fred Nicole problem Monkey Wedding (8C), which chills in
the center of one of Rockland's most popular sectors,” Graham reported on Instagram.
Fred Nicole established the boulder problem in August 2002 and suggested a stiff 8B+ (V14) for difficulty. It took eight years for Monkey Wedding to
see a repeat, by Paul Robinson in 2010, who suggested an upgrade to V15 where consensus has settled. Monkey Wedding experienced slow, but
steady action over the years as Adam Ondra sent in 2011, Daniel Woods in 2012 and Nacho Sánchez in 2015.
This year, however, the problem has seen a relative flurry of activity with four ascents: Shawn Raboutou, Vadim Timonov and Nalle Hukkataival in July,
and now Graham.
Graham, 34, first attempted the boulder problem in 2015. “Last season I tried the boulder quite a lot, for at least 12 days, but could never seem to improve
my highpoint, or do better than one hang the beast, which is only ten moves long,” he wrote on Instagram.
He returned to Rocklands this season, “partially uncertain of whether or not I could even summit this small peak, my confidence dashed by last year’s failure,”
he wrote. On day one, he found “more intelligent beta,” and matched his progress from last season, but the send remained elusive. Six days later, after
cold but humid conditions, still no luck.
The winds eventually changed, blowing in hot, but dry air, and Graham got after it. “I cruised out to Roadside, booted up, warmed on the moves, made a
try, fell at the crux, felt great, rested a moment, pulled on, and from that moment on, it was this surreal mind bending experience,” he wrote. “It
felt too chill … yet it was real and terrifying. I ended up on top, a surprised and happy man, liberated, unleashed, humbled, proud, potentially
wiser, and feeling ridiculous.
“The moral is, even if you don't believe in yourself, even if you describe a boulder as being built against you, the opposite of your style, outside of
your entire box, ‘impossible’ for some reason, if you will. You are wrong. You can succeed. You can do anything.”
Nacho Sánchez Sends Monkey Wedding (V15)—Rocklands
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VIDEO: Daniel Woods Repeating Monkey Wedding (V15)