A couple weeks ago, Isabelle Faus made the first ascent of Sinawav (V14/8b+), a highball boulder she found exploring in the woods near her house.
“It sits in the side of a cliff and is suspended off the ground. It’s a compression roof to a hiiiiigh ball,” wrote the 27-year-old on Instagram on July 9.
Sinawav starts low, then progresses through “certainly V13” climbing to a rest hold. Faus wrote that she fell on the move to the rest hold for a couple of days. The rest hold, however, isn’t a total rest. “The rest hold is pretty good but most of [your] weight is on your hands so it’s hard to really recover, after a few shakes you just start to get more tired,” wrote Faus.
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From the rest hold, you either commit to the top or jump off—as climber Daniel Woods did three times. Committing to the top of the boulder is scary because its position means a fall near the top could be a 25-foot pinballing nightmare.
“Falling off the top section means hitting the wall behind you and falling like 25 feet. Probably get fucked up,” Faus wrote in her Instagram post.
Sinawav’s finish is techy and super crimpy. Faus describes her beta, “I go right hand to a small vertical crimp and get a high right foot next to it, and have to do a subtle left hand dead point to a bad slopey crimp.”
After this sequence comes the crux move of the entire boulder: getting to the lip. It’s a “huuuuuuge lock off to the lip…like when [you’re] looking at it from underneath it seems impossibly far.. it’s very intimidating,” wrote Faus.
The day she sent she was not in a great mood, but this ended up helping her commit.
“Just getting to the jug was limit for me so I really wanted to just commit to the top if I got there. I was honestly scared and sweaty, but my bad mood made me not really care.. I was just like I’m doing this.. I don’t care what’s happening in my head and I didn’t really care about falling for some reason…going for the last move it felt like I was going to come up short but I some how made it,” she wrote.
“Finding and doing a big/bad line was something I think everyone who looks for boulders wants to do,, and I’m proud of myself for having all the skills it takes to do something like this. looking forward to more,” Faus wrote.