Seizing a brief window of good conditions, Nalle Hukkataival of Finland fired off the third ascent of Gioia--one of two problems in the world believed to hold the coveted grade of V16. Hukkataival had tried the problem last winter, but was unable to pull off the send. This winter, he returned, battling through rainy weather before finally completing the line.
"It's definitely one of the very hardest boulders in the world and climbs really well!" Hukkataival told Planet Mountain.
Gioia, which is Italian for "joy", is located in Varazze, Italy, and was first climbed in 2008 by the soft-spoken Italian cop and powerhouse boulderer Christian Core. Core suggested 8C (V15) for the problem, however, after many of the world's strongest boulderers pitted themselves against the line with little success, Core and others began to think that maybe Gioia was perhaps V16. In 2011, Adam Ondra spent 11 days unlocking the sequence of Gioia and completed the problem's second ascent. Ondra confirmed many climber's suspicions by suggesting a personal grade of 8C+ (V16) for the line.
The 28-year-old Hukkataival has established and repeated his fair share of V15 boulder problems across the globe, and his personal grade for Gioia will heavily contribute to whether or not the problem will settle at V16. However, Hukkataival has yet to express an opinion on the grade of Gioia, only stating that the problem is indeed one of the hardest lines in the world.
Hukkataival's ascent of Gioia was filmed and raw footage of the send circulated on the webs of social media via Youtube Saturday night. The video has now been removed however. For now, check out the footage of Ondra's second ascent of Gioia below.