After only five days of work Daniel Woods, one of the few climbers who can climb both 5.15 and V15, has climbed his first 5.15b: the short and crimpy La Capella in Siurana, Spain. And he’s just getting started.
Woods joins an elite group of only 15 other athletes from around the world who have climbed 5.15b.
He described La Capella as “a perfect starting point” given it’s bouldery nature, and sent the route only a week into his three-month trip to Spain.
Woods, who has climbed V16 and several 5.15a routes, tells Rock and Ice, “This year I really wanted to step up my sport climbing game and my bouldering game. I started with the goal of 9b and 9b+.”
“I definitely left nervous,” he continues, “since it was a new level to break into for me, but I also knew I trained my ass off before this trip and that my shape was good, so confidence was high. Now I’m stoked to move on to the next objective.”
La Capella was established by Adam Ondra in 2011 and it was his first 5.15b first ascent. The Italian Stefano Ghisolfi, who has climbed three other 5.15b routes, made the second ascent last month after ten days of effort, and confirmed the 5.15b grade.
At around 50 feet—short for most routes of this grade—La Capella hits hard with a V7/8 section followed by two bouldery cruxes each rated at V12/13—or ~V15 when considered as a whole. Following his success Woods commented on his Instagram, “Who would [have] thought my first 9b would be a bouldery one ?… nonetheless stoked as hell.”
Though most commonly thought of as a boulderer given his ascents of V16, flashes of up to V14 and World Cup successes, Woods is not shy to rope up and is one of the very few climbers to climb both 5.15 and V15. Woods broke into the 5.15 realm in 2010 with the second ascent of Jaws II in Rumney, New Hampshire. Since then he has climbed various other 5.15a routes: Thor’s Hammer in Flatanger, Norway, Papichulo in Oliana, Spain and Tinipi, which he established, at an elevation of 14,055 feet on Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo.
Getting the trip off to a stellar start, Woods is psyched to move on to other projects on his list. “The 9b routes I am interested in here [in Spain] are First Round First Minute, Chaxi Raxi and Fight or Flight,” says Woods. “I want to test out La Dura Dura (5.15c) as well, to see what it’s like.”
Woods’ bouldering background clearly served him well on La Capella and it gives him an edge as he moves on to his other goals: “Having a good bouldering background gives me confidence for the hard cruxes of these routes,” he says, “I just need to understand how to climb them now.”
Considering it took Woods only five days to “up his sport climbing game,” we’re stoked to see what the next few months of his trip hold and where this dude, who we we’re fairly sure was at the top of the game, is going to take his climbing.