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World Class: The Story of Aidan Roberts’ Bouldering Breakthrough

The future of British bouldering is here: Aidan Roberts. "World Class" follows Roberts as he repeats and establishes hard problems in the UK and abroad.

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Every now and then, you get to witness a run of cutting-edge performance that defines an era of the sport. Even rarer, is when you see that purple patch unfold in an area that’s not in the media spotlight and is renowned for sandbag grading. This past summer, saw Aidan Roberts climb not just a couple of outstanding Lakeland boulder projects, but a whole slew of FAs and repeats up to 8C+/V16 in just a six week period. We’re also not talking of lines ignored by the best—they’d already seen attention—they are problems that climb some of the proudest boulder faces in the Lakes and show off the best of British climbing.

This film follows Aidan repeating multiple 8Bs to then establishing first ascents all the way up to 8C and 8C+ with Superpowers and Outliers. Whilst you all know these grades have been climbed before elsewhere, you may not know the context of Aidan and the Lakeland grading – he’s not soft and neither are the grades! One of his FAs from Colorado established previously (Railway, 8C) has been tried by some of the world’s best boulderers and yet has only had a single repeat by Matt Fultz.

“World Class” also dives into interviews to get the opinions and experiences of two of Aidan’s close allies—and also elite boulderers—Dan Varian and Jack Palmieri. Both of them explain the significance of this run of climbing form and provide the perfect contextual backdrop to some stunning climbing footage. If anyone’s opinion on British bouldering matters, it’s these guys. They’ve both established and repeated hundreds of Font 8As and above, all over the UK and have watched Aidan progress in his climbing.

For those of you who like tick lists, the FAs in World Class are:

Superpowers, 8C+ (Ladstones)

Outliers, 8C (Trowbarrow)

Railway, 8C (Colorado)

Flip off at the Opera, 8B+/C (Bowderstone)

Tranquilitas, 8B+/C (Kentmere)

Copperline, 8B+ (Coppermines)

Hathi Junior, 8B (Swarthbeck Gill)

Lady of the Forest, 8B (Kentmere)

Lad powers, 8A+ (Ladstones)