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Mid-Summer Sends: Americans Tearing It Up On the Boulders

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Lots of hard boulders and routes going down this summer. Here’s a (non-exhaustive) rundown of some of the highlights from the past few weeks!

Brooke Raboutou has sent Jade (V14) and Two Ton Skeleton (V14) in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

“Jade has always been a ‘bucket list’ climb for me, but one I thought I would always need to be stronger to do, or even try,” wrote Raboutou on Instagram August 16. “The first day I was on it I was pleasantly surprised by how I felt on the climb, second day I fell on the V10 stand and yesterday I was able to send first try of the day and felt as though I was floating up the wall,” she wrote. She sent Two Ton Skeleton on her last try of the day. “I feel so grateful to have this time to explore the park. I have learned so much in the past few months from pushing myself outdoors,” she wrote.

Earlier this month, Raboutou also sent another V13, Freaks of the Industry, in Rocky Mountain National Park. “Yay! Happy to put this one down! Felt easy when I did it but felt hard when I didn’t do it, classic,” wrote Raboutou on “One of the rare climbs that I feel is perfect for the grade, felt like a solid 13 to me, not easier or harder!”

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Drew Ruana has sent Creature from the Black Lagoon (V16) in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is Ruana’s third V16, after Sleepwalker and Box Therapy. Ruana has one of the hottest hands in bouldering right now—all of those V16 ascents are from this year.

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Ruana sent Box Therapy in mid July. Both that and Creature are Daniel Woods problems. Box Therapy is a 6-plus-mile hike in, and adds a lower start to an old Tommy Caldwell problem called Spread Eagle (V11).

Alex Puccio continues to crush: after Reverse Logic (V14/8B+), she went on to send Daytripper (V13/8B) in the same day, and and The Alley (V13) just several days after.

For Reverse Logic and Daytripper, it was a two-destination day, with a 2-hour drive from Coal Creek—where the former is—to Upper Chaos—where the latter is.

“Either REALLY suited me or it’s more of an 8B! Time will tell! :)” Puccio wrote about Reverse Logic on “Did it second try from the start, second day on it. Sent this and Daytripper in RMNP in the same day! lol.”

Puccio’s total to eight V14s and 31 V13s.

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Nathaniel Coleman reported that he made the first ascent of The Grand Illusion, a V16 boulder problem in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, at three a.m. earlier this year. Drew Ruana, who was working the problem with Coleman, was there when he sent.

The boulder was originally a V9 (Euro Roof) until Chris Sharma pushed back the start and made the first V13 ascent (Euro Roof Low) of the line. Now, the pair has expanded it “as far down as the holds go.” For Ruana, this new start adds 13 hand moves. “This boulder was probably the sickest and definitely the hardest line I’ve ever had the pleasure of climbing on,” wrote Coleman on Instagram.  

On July 30, Natalia Grossman sent Freaks of the Industry, V13, in Rocky Mountain National Park. According to, this is her fourth of the grade in the past 12 weeks. “Feeling so grateful to spend long days at the park filled with positivity, encouragement, determination and countless laughs with my best friend!” wrote Grossman on Instagram.  

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Maggie Odette, age 50, went from hanging three times on Mutton Bustin (5.14a/8B+) to sending in the next go. Just last year, Odette got her first 5.14b/8C. “Last week I started using the phrase ‘3-hang hell’ in reference to my performance on this route. I was thinking about those hangs, dwelling on the hard parts until they became intimidating, instead of focusing on the climbing. I wasn’t opening up and allowing it to happen. Once I realized that, I went directly from 3-hang hell to sending on Monday. Awareness is everything,” wrote Odette on Instagram July 30.

Marine Thevenet got the first female ascent of Kingda Ka (V13/8B) in the San Gottordo pass. “This one was on my dreaming list since I tried it last summer. I really enjoyed to figure out the best beta that could allow me to climb it: the foot that works, the perfect place for the thumb, the right moment to switch the hands,” wrote Thevenet on Instagram

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Katie Lamb sent Freaks of the Industry (V13) and The Wheel of Chaos (V14) in Rocky Mountain National Park. On, she called The Wheel of Chaos her “proudest to date.” Lamb wrote, “4 sessions, first try from the bottom today, thought it would get epic but pulled some endurance out of nowhere. Beta for all shapes and sizes on this one. Felt the park magic – something special about screaming in the talus. MEGA!”

The 29-year-old Matt Fultz has sent his eleventh V15 with Blade Runner in Rocky Mountain National Park,. Fifteen months ago, his top bouldering grade was V14. “Finally ticked this one off! I don’t think any boulder has put me through the ringer quite like this one…a wild testpiece that has as much to do with skin and conditions as finger strength. 3am alarms, countless splits…I enjoyed the process, but at the same time I’m relieved to be done with it,” wrote Fultz on Instagram July 20. 

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Jonathan Siegrist made the first ascent of Phat Camp (5.14d) in Wicked Cave, Rifle Mountain Park. He linked up Fat Camp (5.14c) and Bad Girls Club (5.14c) to create a line “without the good rests on either and a new boulder problem in between as well,” Siegrist wrote on Instagram. “Felt pretty hard to me but I did spontaneously explode out of a kneebar twice so I might not be the best judge…I’ll call it ‘Phat Camp’ 14d,” he wrote.

Emilie Pellerin sends Le Zébrée, a 5.14a trad route in Val-David, Quebec. “Officially got the most authentic ascent of the route…climbed it in its usual state: WET!” wrote Pellerin on Instagram. “…I walked up to the route (or should we call it a waterfall?) we laughed at it being just impossible in these conditions,” she wrote. “Well, funny enough, I swam up it like a champ, slid off foot holds, fought off rugs and sponges on the go, it was all but gracious.” Pellerin had been dreaming of sending the route for 13 years. 

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Giani Clement made the first ascent of  Stil Vor Talent (8C/+ V15/16) in early August. Details in the caption below!

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“STIL VOR TALENT” FB 8C/+ FA has been born.? . “IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, YOU CAN DO IT”. Walt Disney . So far my hardest #firstascent & boulder at the same time – if you can still talk about bouldering – because the line is more like a sport climbing route in terms of length & amount of moves. . With the FA of “SVT” I’m fulfilling a huge dream✨ – a dream that has been very present in my life over the past weeks. I had a concrete plan & was very focused to follow it & implement it accordingly. I’m now super happy & very grateful that it worked out & that my dream line has become real. . I would like to say thank you everyone involved for their great support! You are the best! ??? . The journey started already last autumn after my ascent of “LA GROSSE TARLOUZE” FB 8C. IMO already a great line, logical by the fact that you get off the “NES” 8B+ without a rope, on the easiest way – which is itself already a good challenge. The only point which I find disturbing is that you climb down after the big sloper-rail before you continue climbing towards top. Because of this small disturbing factor the idea & vision was born to get out of the boulder on a more direct as well as harder way, which leads to an add. hard two move sequence – the crux of the whole boulder. An upturning, tension-intensive, shoulder move, from a perfect shaped pinch into the slopy roof, followed by a cool dyno to a big railsystem. This crux we succeeded in late autumn 2019, towards the end of the last #magicwood season. So the incentive was definitely created to dream of the line and to return as soon as possible. . However, a lot of patience was necessary to hold out until after the corona lock-down & the area re-opening. At the beginning of May 2020 I started to clean & debug the overhang & the slab above. I was quickly thrilled by the rock quality & the style, which is still challenging the psyche up to the top. . Persistence, a good balance between sharp attempts & training units depending on the weather conditions were key factors for the final success. . More details & insights in the process until the final ascent will follow shortly. . . ? @hanneskutza ?❤️ . . . . .

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