Starting with the most recent. Yesterday Paul Robinson reported that he had made the first ascent of Karoshi (V15), in Hueco Tanks, Texas. Robinson wrote on Instagram, “I discovered this line last year when we went over to the newly opened [Fred Nicole problem] “New Map of Hell.” I spied a set of holds that looked to climb straight out the steep overhang. Obvious start and a set of some gnarly sharp crimps to finish.”
Robinson was unable to tick the line in 2017, but this year he finished if off. He tentatively suggested the V15 grade for the new problem, but also said he was eager for more climbers to get on it and confirm. This is Robinson’s second V15 first ascent of 2018, following Pirate’s Code, which he climbed in July in Cederberg, South Africa.,
With her ascent of Terre de Sienne, Hueco Tanks, on December 5, Isabelle Faus has logged six—count ’em six—V13s in 2018. Not a bad year. She has ticked two V14’s in her career—The Wheel of Chaos, Upper Chaos Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park; and Amandla, Rocklands, South Africa.
On her 8a.nu scorecard, Faus wrote of Terre: “Hard dead point.. was trying the bump method at for the first couple days .. then [started] trying to go straight up to it and did it that sesh, didn’t split any tips !!”
Fred Nicole originally put up Terre de Sienne as a V15 in late 2004. Later ascentionists considered it at least one, likely two grades easier. Two years later, Nicole added a sit-start to the problem to create Terremer, a V15 that is one of Hueco’s hardest. (Nicole originally suggested V16 for Terremer, but after repetitions by Paul Robinson, Daniel Woods, Daniel Beall and Simon Parton, the grade has settled at V15.)
No shoes, no problem.
Charles Albert has built a reputation on bouldering extremely hard barefoot. His most recent hard send is a first ascent that he thinks could tip the scale at 8C+ (V16). A sit-start to Hypothèse, a 7C+ (V10) in Fontainebleau, France, his new problem—logically named Hypothèse Assis—adds just two super-hard moves to the original line.
Previously, Albert suggested V16 for La Révolutionnaire, also in Fontainebleau. The problem, which he established in 2017, is unrepeated.
Takahashi opened the year with a V15—The Nest, Red Rocks, Nevada—and has book-ended the year with another in the same place. On December 13, he made the fourth ascent of Nalle Hukkataival’s Kintsugi.
Jimmy Webb made the second ascent and suggested a slash grade of V14/V15. Nils Favre snagged the third top, and wrote after the climb, “New beta V14?”
Beyond his Red Rocks V15s, in 2018 Takahashi also nabbed proud sends of Warrior Up (V14), Mt. Evans, Colorado, and The Ice Knife (V14), Guanella Pass, Colorado.
With a name like that, you’re bound for big things, right? Roca is one of Chris Sharma’s young proteges out of Barcelona.
After a finger injury kept him sidelined for much of 2018, he is finishing the year on a high note. At the end of November he made the first ascent of Boulder Blaster (8C/V15) in La Comarca, Spain. On Instagram, he called it “the most difficult problem [I’ve done].”