Used to be that only a few folks were climbing the rare grade of 5.15b. Sure, there still aren’t oodles, but more and more top climbers are adding their names to the 9b club. Two climbers in the past few weeks, in fact, sent their first 5.15b’s: Hugo Parmentier, a French climber, and Will Bosi, from the U.K., both 21 years old.
More on each below!
Hugo Parmentier — Eagle 4
Two-and-a-half weeks ago, Parmentier became the first person to repeat Adam Ondra’s Eagle 4, a 9b (5.15b) in St. Léger, France.
Ondra made the first ascent of the route back in February 2018. Afterwards, he wrote on Instagram, “Interesting process of working this route. I got really close on my second day of trying, when only foothold break stopped me from sending. Then, I tried maybe 5 days more, but it was never completely dry. Today, it was dry, I felt strong, made through the hard part and fell 5m from the anchor from totally easy terrain. Luckily, I could do it even second time in the late afternoon.”
Eagle 4 was a massive project for Parmentier. He had previously ticked two 9a’s (5.14d), as well as one 9a+ (5.15a) with La Moustache Qui Fâche, in Entraygues, France. La Moustache took him 6 days of work. Eagle 4 would require nearly four times that.
Parmentier made five separate trips to St. Léger over the course of five months to project the route. On day 23, it finally went down.
“The battle came to an end,” he wrote on his 8a.nu scorecard. He also wrote, “About the grade: a lot harder FOR MY OWN SIZE/BETA than ‘La moustache qui fache.'”
This young Frenchman is clearly one to keep an eye on. Beyond redpointing hard sport climbs, he also plugs gear. In the fall of 2018, on a trip to Yosemite he sent Final Frontier, a 5.13b multipitch on Fifi Buttress.
Will Bosi — La Capella
Will Bosi has been at the leading edge of British sport climbing for a good few years now. Back in 2016, he became the youngest Brit to climb 5.14d when he sent Rainshadow, a Steve McClure route. Since then, Bosi has sent two other routes of the grade.
Today comes word that he has leveled up by sending La Capella (5.15b), skipping 5.15a altogether.
He recorded the redpoint on his 8a.nu scorecard, writing, “Woo one of my dream lines, first 9b and almost sent on 2 day. got the send on 3rd day with bad skin so i think its soft. however ive not climbed enough to judge…”
Like Eagle 4, La Capella is also an Adam Ondra route. Ondra established the short bouldery line in 2011, and it lay unrepeated until 2018, when it saw a flurry of action. First Stefano Ghisolfi repeated it that January, followed by Daniel Woods in February.
And most impressive? Bosi did the climb after just three days, while Woods needed five, Ghisolfi something in a similar realm, and Ondra nine. Sure, FAs take the vision and figuring out the beta, and Bosi had the advantage of studying the videos of Ghisolfi and Woods’ ascents if he wanted, too, but still: three days is three days!