Daniel Woods has added to his incredible list of difficult boulders, becoming only the third person to complete Swiss testpiece Off the Wagon Sit (8C+/V16). In a post on Instagram, Woods called his ascent “one of the more [exhilarating] experiences I have had in bouldering.”
Off the Wagon is on a boulder in an idyllic field nestled in the Swiss countryside. Climbers begin the problem underneath a steep overhang on a wagon, the climb’s namesake. The owner of the farm only allows access to the boulder from November through March, so as to preserve the pastures for his animals.The boulder saw its first ascent in 2012, with Finnish boulderer Nalle Hukkataival claiming the first ascent. Jan Hojer repeated it a mere two days later. Since then, five others have completed the original stand start to Off the Wagon. Hukkataival rated the climb 8C (V15), however all following ascentionists recommend 8B+ (V14).
In 2018, American Shawn Raboutou established a new sit start to the climb, which adds an 8A (V11) sequence to the beginning. With this addition, Off the Wagon Sit became the first 8C+ to go up in Switzerland. The new sit start variation then sat unrepeated for over a year.
A few weeks ago, Jimmy Webb managed to fire off the sit start for the second ascent. After establishing himself in the original part of the problem, Webb then campused the three moves to get around the corner where Raboutou had used a high heel hook. It was Webb’s fourth 8C+. Mirroring the closeness of Hukkataival and Hojer’s ascents, Daniel Woods climbed Off the Wagon Sit a few weeks after.
Woods is no stranger to the world of hard boulders. He climbed his first V14, Echale, in Golden, Colorado, in 2004 at the age of 15. Since then he has stacked up a long list of impressive climbs, including first ascents of the Bishop highball The Process (V16), Creature from the Black Lagoon (V16) and Box Therapy (V16), the latter two both in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. In January 2019, he made the second ascent of Sleepwalker (V16), after Jimmy Webb, in Red Rocks, Nevada.