The Hardest Boulder Problems in the World

A map of the worldLAST UPDATED: October 26, 2016. If I’ve missed anything, leave a comment or drop me a line and I’ll include it in the next update.

Ever wondered what are the hardest boulder problems in the world?

This article is just that: a list of all the V15, V16, and V17 boulder problems in existence (8C-9A in the Font Scale). Here is the complete list criteria.

The list is in a sortable table, so have fun with sorting it however you wish.

As for ascensionists, I’ve listed the first ascensionist first and then listed later ascensionists in chronological order as best I could. If an ascent had a video, I linked to it from the ascensionist’s name — so have even more fun watching all the crazy videos of top boulderers on the hardest problems.

The World’s Hardest Boulder Problems

Boulder ProblemGradeCragCountryAscensionists
AirianV15/8CBaltzolaSpainIban Larrión, Alberto Rocasolano
AngamaV15/8CFontainebleauFranceDai Koyamada, Paul Robinson
AsagimadaraV15/8CMt. MizugakiJapanTokio Muroi, Toru Nakajima, Toshi Takeuchi, Jongwon Chon, Adam Ondra, Sachi Amma, Ryuichi Murai
Assassin, Monkey and ManV15/8CKochelGermanyToni Lamprecht
BabelV15/8CShiobaraJapanDai Koyamada, Motochika Nagao, Sachi Amma, Ryuichi Murai
Black Eagle SDV15/8CRocklandsSouth AfricaFred Nicole
Bokassa's FridgeV15/8CKochelGermanyToni Lamprecht
Burden of DreamsV17/9ALappnorFinlandNalle Hukkataival
Byaku-dou / The Road to the HeavenV15/8CHouraiJapanDai Koyamada, Motochika Nagao
Bügeleisen SitV15/8CMaltatalAustriaNalle Hukkataival, Jakob Schubert
Catalán Witness the FitnessV15/8CLa Cova de l'OcellSpainChris Sharma, Alberto Rocasolano, Felipe Camargo, Nacho Sánchez
CháronV15/8CPetrohradCzech RepublicAdam Ondra
Creature of the Black LagoonV16/8C+Rocky Mountain National ParkUSA - ColoradoDaniel Woods, Dave Graham
CrisisV15/8CCrevillenteSpainNacho Sánchez
CthulhuV15/8CArnaoSpainNacho Sánchez
Defying GravityV15/8CSouth PlatteUSA - ColoradoDaniel Woods, Jimmy Webb
DeliriumV15/8CLincoln LakeUSA - ColoradoJimmy Webb, Daniel Woods, Dave Graham
Der mit dem Fels tanztV15/8CChironicoSwitzerlandMartin Keller, Dai Koyamada
Dust DevilV15/8CSaalachtalAustriaBernhard Schwaiger
El DiabloV15/8CPenolesMexicoDaniel Woods
Emotional LandscapesV15/8CMaltatalAustriaKlem Loskot, Martin Moser, Nalle Hukkataival
EntropiaV15/8CCastillo de BayuelaSpainNacho Sánchez, Alberto Rocasolano, Ignacio Mulero
EpitafV15/8CHoraiJapanDai Koyamada
EternalV15/8CHinokageJapanDai Koyamada, Kazuma Watanabe
FortalezaV15/8CUbatubaBrazilFelipe Camargo
Foundation's EdgeV15/8CFionnaySwitzerlandDave Graham
From Dirt Grows the FlowersV15/8CChironicoSwitzerlandDave Graham, Bernd Zangerl, Radovan Souček, Adam Ondra, Nalle Hukkataival, Rok Klančnik, Manuel Brunn, Nils Favre, Kilian Fischhuber, Jan Hojer
GingaV15/8CKanotoJapanYuji Hirayama
GioiaV15/8CVarazzeItalyChristian Core, Adam Ondra, Nalle Hukkataival
GossipV15/8CFrankenjuraGermanyMarkus Bock, John Gaskins (?), Markus Windisch
Half-LifeV15/8CFrankenjuraGermanyFelix Knaub
HighlanderV15/8CSustenpassSwitzerlandMartin Keller
HorizonV15/8CMt. HieiJapanDai Koyamada, Ashima Shiraishi
Hull Shea NationV15/8CHoraiJapanDai Koyamada
HurricaneV15/8CBirgkarAustriaBernhard Schwaiger
HydrangeaV15/8CShiobaraJapanDai Koyamada, Daniel Woods, Motochika Nagao, Sachi Amma, Ryuichi Murai
Hyper BalladV15/8CShiobaraJapanDai Koyamada
Hypnotized MindsV16/8C+Rocky Mountain National ParkUSA - ColoradoDaniel Woods, Rustam Gelmanov
Il PirataV15/8CLake DistrictUKJohn Gaskins
In Search of Time LostV15/8CMagic WoodSwitzerlandDaniel Woods, Dai Koyamada, Carlo Traversi, Tamás Zupan
InsomnioV15/8CCrevillenteSpainNacho Sánchez
KaramuV15/8CUnknownJapanDai Koyamada
KikelaV15/8CTevergaSpainIsaac Montes
KimeraV15/8CPiemonteItalyChristian Core
KintsugiV15/8CRed RocksUSA - NevadaNalle Hukkataival
Knocking on Heaven's DoorV15/8CPetrohradCzech RepublicPetr Resch
KryptosV15/8CBasler JuraSwitzerlandFranz Widmer, Fred Nicole
La Force TranquilleV15/8CMagic WoodSwitzerlandDaniel Woods, Nalle Hukkataival
La Grosse TarlouzeV15/8CMagic WoodSwitzerlandMichael Piccolruaz
Le BoaV15/8CUnknownSwitzerlandFred Nicole
Le Marathon de BoissyV15/8CFontainebleauFranceJan Hojer, Guillaume Glairon-Mondet
Le Pied à CoulisseV15/8CFontainebleauFranceGuillaume Glairon-Mondet, Jimmy Webb, Charles Albert
Le Poinçonneur des LilasV15/8CBasler JuraSwitzerlandFred Nicole, Franz Widmer
Livin' LargeV15/8CRocklandsSouth AfricaNalle Hukkataival, Jimmy Webb
Lucid DreamingV15/8CBishopUSA - CaliforniaPaul Robinson, Daniel Woods, Alex Megos
LurragorriV15/8CAraotzSpainMarkel Mendieta
L'Alchimiste (right version)V15/8CFontainebleauFranceNalle Hukkataival, Alban Levier
Maria SingerV15/8CKochelGermanyToni Lamprecht
MethuselahzationV15/8CYatsueJapanDai Koyamada
MikelonV15/8CBaltzolaSpainIban Larrión
Monkey WeddingV15/8CRocklandsSouth AfricaFred Nicole,
Paul Robinson, Adam Ondra, Daniel Woods, Nacho Sánchez
MontecoreV15/8CFrankenjuraGermanyMarkus Bock, Dai Koyamada, Fabian Christof, Manuel Brunn, Alex Megos
ObsejaV15/8CKusiętaPolandŁukasz Dudek
OrochiV15/8CKanotoJapanDai Koyamada, Makoto Yamauchi, Alex Megos, Toshi Takeuchi, Ryuichi Murai
Paint It BlackV15/8CRocky Mountain National ParkUSA - ColoradoDaniel Woods, Paul Robinson, Dave Graham, Ian Dory, Toru Nakajima
Pata LedovceV15/8CHolstejnCzech RepublicAdam Ondra
Pipe Dream SDV15/8CSaalachtalAustriaBernhard Schwaiger
Poslední mažoretV15/8CLabské údolíCzech RepublicRostislav Stefanek
Practice of the WildV15/8CMagic WoodSwitzerlandChris Sharma, Tyler Landman, Daniel Woods, Adam Ondra, Carlo Traversi, Jimmy Webb, Nalle Hukkataival, Anthony Gullsten, Martin Stráník, Toshi Takeuchi, Dave MacLeod, Gabriele Moroni, Baptiste Ometz
Quoi de NeufV15/8CToit d'OrsayFranceRémy Bergasse, Sébastien Bouin, Alban Levier
Road Sweet HomeV15/8CGrampiansAustraliaNalle Hukkataival
RokudouV15/8CToyamagawaJapanDai Koyamada
Satan i Helvete (broken version)V15/8CFontainebleauFranceAlban Levier
SerenataV15/8CMaltbyUKMike Adams
ShadowplayV15/8CLake DistrictUKJohn Gaskins
ShantaramV15/8COsenNorwayBernd Zangerl
ShivaV15/8CFontainebleauFranceThomas Willenberg
Soyuz (low start)V15/8CZarzalejoSpainAlberto Rocasolano
Spray of LightV15/8CRocklandsSouth AfricaDaniel Woods, Dave Graham, Shawn Raboutou, Toshi Takeuchi, Ryuichi Murai
TerranovaV16/8C+HolstejnCzech RepublicAdam Ondra
TerremerV15/8CHueco TanksUSA - TexasFred Nicole, Paul Robinson, Daniel Woods, Dan Beall, Simon Parton
The Big IslandV15/8CFontainebleauFranceVincent Ponchon, Lucas Menegatti, Arjan de Kock, Guillame Glairon-Mondet, Jan Hojer, Toru Nakajima, Chris Schulte, Griffin Whiteside, Niccolò Ceria, Edward Feehally, Michiel Nieuwenhuijsen, Jimmy Webb, Jonas Winter
The Bridge of AshesV15/8CRocky Mountain National ParkUSA - ColoradoDave Graham, Daniel Woods, Jimmy Webb
The EndV15/8CZalogSloveniaUrh Cehovin
The GameV15/8CBoulder CanyonUSA - ColoradoDaniel Woods, Carlo Traversi, Jon Cardwell, Jimmy Webb
The Ice Knife (sit start)V15/8CGuanella PassUSA - ColoradoDaniel Woods
The MatriarchV15/8CRocktownUSA - GeorgiaJimmy Webb
The NestV15/8CRed RocksUSA - NevadaDaniel Woods, Jimmy Webb, Paul Robinson, Nalle Hukkataival
The New ChapterV15/8COzark MountainsUSA - ArkansasPaul Robinson
The ProcessV16/8C+BishopUSA - CaliforniaDaniel Woods
The Stepping StoneV15/8CGrampiansAustraliaNalle Hukkataival
The Story of Two WorldsV15/8CCrescianoSwitzerlandDave Graham, Dai Koyamada, Paul Robinson, Jernej Kruder, Carlo Traversi, Giuliano Cameroni, Gabriele Moroni, Toru Nakajima, Jimmy Webb, Jan Hojer, Samuel Ometz, Martin Stráník
The Story of Two Worlds (low start)V16/8C+CrescianoSwitzerlandDai Koyamada
The UnderstandingV15/8CMagic WoodSwitzerlandNalle Hukkataival, Jimmy Webb
The Wheel of LifeV15/8CGrampiansAustraliaDai Koyamada, Christopher Webb-Parsons, Ethan Pringle, James Kassay, Benjamin Cossey, Dave Graham, Ian Dory, Alex Megos, Daniel Woods
The Wheel of Life DirectV15/8CGrampiansAustraliaJames Kassay, Jorg Verhoeven
The Wheel of WolvoV15/8CLincoln LakeUSA - ColoradoJimmy Webb, Daniel Woods, Dave Graham, Matt Fultz
Tonino '78V15/8CMeschiaItalyMauro Calibani, Julien Nadiras, Antione Vandeputte
TopazV15/8CWild BasinUSA - ColoradoDave Graham, Daniel Woods, Paul Robinson
TransdendenzV15/8CSachsenGermanyThomas Willenberg
Trip HopV15/8CFontainebleauFranceSebastien Frigault, Thomas Willenberg, Paul Robinson, Guillaume Glairon-Mondet, Jan Hojer
VanitasV15/8CHoraiJapanDai Koyamada, Ryuichi Murai, Ichimiya Daisuke
Viva La EvolutionV15/8CFlirschAustriaBernd Zangerl
Walk Away (sit start)V15/8CFairy StepsUKJohn Gaskins
Warrior UpV15/8CLincoln LakeUSA - ColoradoDaniel Woods, Dave Graham, Jimmy Webb, Matty Hong, Paul Robinson, Michael O'Rourke, Griffin Whiteside
WhirlwindV15/8CSaalachtalAustriaBernhard Schwaiger
Witness the Fitness (broken)V15/8COzark MountainsUSA - ArkansasChris Sharma, Fred Nicole, Daniel Woods
Wrath of the LichkingV15/8CFrankenjuraGermanyFelix Knaub, Alex Megos
ZiqquratV15/8CGabyItalyNiccolò Ceria
ZunamiV15/8CSaalachtalAustriaBernhard Schwaiger, Hermann Schwaiger, Klem Loskot, Florian Schmalzl, Tamás Zupán

The World’s Current Hardest Boulder Problem

Judging solely by grade, the world’s hardest boulder problem is currently Burden of Dreams, a proposed V17/9A. Nalle Hukkataival has the first and only ascent.

List Criteria & Grading Guidelines

In order to create this list I had to come up with the criteria for deciding what problems made the cut and guidelines for how to assign grades to problems that don’t yet have a consensus.

Here they are:

  • The grade had to be V15/8C or higher.
  • If 50% or more of ascensionists graded a problem lower than it’s original grade, I treated it as having the lower grade. This led to me leaving off problems such as Dreamtime (the first problem to ever receive a V15/8C grade) and White Noise, since 50% or more of ascensionists gave the problems a grade of V14/8B+.
  • Slash grades were treated as being two separate grade suggestions. So, for example, this means problems graded 8B+/8C with no repeats were treated as having one grade suggestion of 8B+ and one of 8C, at which point the 50%-or-more guideline mentioned above kicked in and I treated the problem as having a grade of V14/8B+.
  • A special note about Gioia: Many people think of Gioia as a V16/8C+ boulder problem due to this popular Reel Rock video. However, following my grading guidelines, I have included it on this list with a grade of V15/8C. This is because Christian Core gave it a grade of V15/8C when he got the FA and Adam Ondra gave it a grade of V16/8C+ when he got the second ascent. (Nalle Hukkataival also sent it but didn’t put forth an official suggestion.) So, with only two grade suggestions to go off of, following my grading guidelines I stuck with the lower grade.

I’ve tried my best to be as thorough and comprehensive as possible with this list. However, I’m still human, so if I’ve made any mistakes or left off any problems or people you think should be added, let me know in the comments or contact me.

Who Is the Best Boulderer Ever?

Who is the best boulderer ever?
Using the data in the table above, I put together some graphs to help you visualize who has sent the most hard boulder problems and who has gotten the most hard FAs (first ascents).

These graphs open the door to some interesting discussions about who is the best boulderer ever.

Daniel Woods, Dai Koyamada, & Nalle Hukkataival

Just going off of these two metrics it’d be easy to make the case for either Daniel Woods, Dai Koyamada, or Nalle Hukkataival as the top boulderer of all time. They have racked up more hard ascents and FAs than anyone else.

Daniel Woods has the most hard ascents and second most hard FAs.

Dai Koyamada has the most hard FAs and second most hard ascents.

Nalle Hukkataival is third in both categories and has the first and only ascent of the world’s first proposed V17/9A.

It should be noted that there are a few unrepeated Dai Koyamada problems he graded 8B+/8C (V14/V15) which I left off of this list due to my criteria. If repeat ascensionists confirm the higher grade then I’ll have to add them to this list, boosting his numbers of hard FAs and hard ascents.

To me, the data suggests that Daniel Woods, Dai Koyamada, and Nalle Hukkataival are neck and neck and neck for the title of best boulderer ever.

Admittedly, though, sheer volume of hard ascents and hard FAs is not the only way to assess someone’s ability. While someone could make the case that someone else might be the best boulderer ever, at the very least these three are the most prolific when it comes to hard FAs and hard ascents.

The Quest for a True V16/8C+ V17/9A

The quest for a true V16
As you can see by this section’s title and graphic, it was originally titled “The Quest for a True V16/8C+.”

However, now a proposed V17 exists, so I had to make some changes. I think most of the reasoning here still applies, though, so I’ve left this section mostly as is.

Consider this…

The list above has four V16s and one V17. Only one of those problems, Creature of the Black Lagoon, has more than one grade suggestion. Daniel Woods and Dave Graham both climbed it and suggested a grade of V16/8C+.

The other four problems each currently have only one grade suggestion, which means they are at high risk of being downgraded. All of them, in fact, are at risk of being downgraded to grades below V16/8C+ — Burden of Dreams and Creature of the Black Lagoon included. (Though it is not common for hard problems to be downgraded two grades, it is not unheard of.)

I know this because, through my research, I came across many hard problems that were downgraded after a handful of repeat ascents. The Game and Dreamtime are two well-known examples.

In other words, based on the possibility of their being downgraded, there seems to be no boulder problem with a consensus grade higher than V15/8C.

While doing research for this article I ran across this thought multiple times:

The first problem to ever receive the V15 grade was Dreamtime in 2000. That was subsequently downgraded, but, in 2002, five V15s were put up that still stand as V15 today. So, depending on how you look at it, it has been either 14 or 16 years since the first V15/8C. That was a while ago — why don’t we have an established V16/8C+ yet?

I can’t answer that question obviously, but I created another graph of the number of hard ascents by year to shed some insight on the topic.

Top boulderers are collectively sending 30+ hard problems per year now (mostly V15/8C). With this data, it seems only a matter of time before a true V16/8C+ emerges.

What’s more, top boulderers are sending grades below V16/8C+ with ease (at least from an outsider’s perspective). Adam Ondra flashed Jade, V14/8B+, and Jimmy Webb sent Jour de Chasse, V14/15 (8B+/8C), in 15 minutes. This leads me to believe that some of the current top climbers are capable of achieving the V16/8C+ grade, and it appears that some of them are already in the process of establishing problems worthy of the grade.

At the end of the day, though, the most likely explanation for why we don’t have a unanimous V16/8C+ is that it is damn hard to send one. However, the data suggests that V15s are becoming easier for top boulderers.

A ‘true’ V16 feels inevitable. Maybe one already exists.

Bokassa’s Fridge – Assassin, Monkey and Man

I originally had Bokassa’s Fridge – Assassin, Monkey and Man on this list as a V16/8C+ boulder problem.

However, I have since removed it because Jens Larssen from 8a.nu brought to my attention that it was an “elimination boulder”, or, a problem where the climber doesn’t climb the natural line but instead creates the difficulty by avoiding certain holds.

If you have other thoughts on this problem as to whether or not it should be on the list, leave a comment below!

Should We Even Be Talking About Grades?

Many top climbers (e.g. Nalle) have expressed some dislike or frustration in grading problems, especially hard ones. Yet, it isn’t difficult to imagine the intense pressure they feel from the community to do so, and to chase the high grades.

Should we even care about grades, though?

Some of the world’s best climbers and boulderers don’t seem to think so and instead try to view a problem or a route as a mental and physical challenge to be overcome rather than a number to achieve.

Should we take after these people and try not to think about the grades? Or are the grades a necessary proxy to reflect the progression of the sport, and one that we should pay attention to?

Obviously I’m aware of how much attention I’m calling to grades with this article, and how I’m definitely not making it easier to ignore them. Above all, though, I’m interested in starting a discussion around the topic of hard boulder problems, and the question of grading is one that must be brought up when you do that.

Where in the World Are the Hardest Boulder Problems?

There’s a graph for that:

The Potential of the Sport of Bouldering

Currently, only 18 countries are home to a boulder problem that is graded V15/8C or higher. This makes sense given the newness of the sport, but it is also quite incredible to realize:

  • 12 of those countries are in Europe
  • There is only one country from Asia, Africa, and South America on the list (Japan, South Africa, and Brazil, respectively)
  • There is not a single country from mainland Asia on the list

Just imagine in a few decades all the amazing crags, problems, and climbers that will come about as the sport expands.

When to Project vs. When to Train (Backed by Data)

When to project vs. when to train
Finally, I graphed the ascents of the hardest problems by month for both the northern and southern hemispheres. At the very least this graph can give you some general insight into the seasonality of the sport and when to train versus when to project.

Comments

Generally, the data suggests that if you’re in the northern hemisphere you should tackle projects near or during October and March.

However, the data is admittedly more nuanced than that.

While this could potentially be thought of as a good rule of thumb, location of the project also plays an important role. For example, all five ascents of Terremer, 8C/V15, in Hueco Tanks, Texas, have been done in either December or January. This could be because the warmer climate of Texas necessitates you project there in the coldest months.

If you’re climbing in the southern hemisphere, it seems June to September is the best time to project.

The Stories of the First Ascents

The stories of the first ascents
The hardest boulder problems usually have an interesting backstory to their FA (first ascent). Here are the stories for some of the problems listed above.

Babel, 8C/V15. Dai spent THREE YEARS working on this project at Shiobara. The problem consists of 30 moves (!!) on a 12 meter roof.

Cháron, 8C/V15. Adam Ondra worked on Charon for three days one year, but didn’t send. The next year, he came back and needed only 30 minutes to reach the top. According to Adam, the problem fit his style exactly… it would appear so.

Defying Gravity, 8C/V15. There’s an article for that.

El Diablo, 8C/V15. El Diablo was initially spotted by Jimmy Webb on an expedition to Peñoles and Dave Graham popped a finger tendon while trying it. Daniel Woods had to climb the problem at night since it was too hot to climb during the day, finally getting the ascent on the last day of the trip.

Fortaleza, 8C/V15. At first sight, Felipe Camargo wasn’t sure whether or not the problem was possible. He eventually rappelled down the boulder and, in the process, discovered a small pinch on the problem’s arête that made him think it was doable. In the end, the line took Felipe Camargo four one-week trips to complete. As of this writing, Fortaleza is Brazil’s hardest boulder. Camargo was interviewed after the send, the transcript of which you can read here.

Hurricane, 8C/V15. Hurricane consists of 10 tiny holds on a steep overhang. Bernhard Schwaiger wasn’t strong enough to climb the line when he first tried it in Fall 2008. He trained for the FA by working other projects and revisiting Hurricane every so often to practice the moves. The perfect conditions came together in Fall 2009 and — with the help of a cool mountain breeze — he was able to reach the top.

Hydrangea, 8C/V15. Dai Koyamada added a six-move sit-start to the existing problem Hydra (8B+/V14) to form Hydrangea. Ever the fan of insanely long problems, Hydrangea consists of 25 moves and includes a 30-foot section of horizontal roof.

Hypnotized Minds, 8C/V15. There’s an entire video on this problem’s backstory.

La Force Tranquille, 8C/V15. Daniel Woods spotted the line for this problem in Fall 2010, but didn’t send. He returned in Fall 2011 and it took him five days to finish. At the time of his FA, Woods said it was one of his hardest ascents so far.

Livin’ Large, 8C/V15. Nalle Hukkataival started off by top-roping the boulder to figure out his route. This process alone took him five days. After days of trying, he finally woke up to perfect bouldering conditions. This time when he went out, he only had four pads to break his fall from the crux which was 8 meters (~26 feet) off the ground. However, he sent the problem without falling from that height, and called it “a proper 8C”. Read the full story here.

Lucid Dreaming, 8C/V15. The night before the day of his FA, Paul Robinson had a dream that inspired him to check the weather. The weather forecast called for rain later in the morning, so he — while it was still dark — packed up some pads and set out alone to attempt the problem before the weather got worse. He sent it and called his friends up to tell them the good news. The route follows the south face of a 60-foot boulder called Grandpa Peabody. The name is a tribute to Robinson’s father, who passed away eight months before the FA.

Paint It Black, 8C/V15. Jamie Emerson first spotted this boulder in 2011, and Daniel Woods first ascended it in 2012. The boulder overhangs 65 degrees and juts out over a river. According to Woods, falling from the top of the problem would cause you to fall 20 feet (~6 meters) into the water below. Yikes. Hope they checked that water for submerged rocks beforehand…

Pata Ledovce, 8C/V15.  Adam Ondra got the FA of this problem the SAME DAY he got his first ascent of a 5.15a route called Perlorodka. That’s right — he sent an 8C/V15 and 5.15a in the same day.

Terranova, 8C+/V16. Adam Ondra spent a total of 11 days working this problem. He consistently says that the line is, well, pretty lame. It’s a simple traverse along a limestone wall that never takes you more than a few feet off the ground and consists of some downright ugly moves. However, the problem was a longstanding challenge for Ondra — he found the limestone walls when he was younger (they’re near his home in the Czech Republic) and always wondered if they were climbable. When he got older he returned to satisfy his curiosity. It seems they are climbable — they’re just damn hard!

The Bridge of Ashes, 8C/V15. Check out the video of Dave Graham’s FA.

The End, 8C/V15. Check out the video of Urh Cehovin’s FA.

The Game, 8C/V15. The Game had been tried by elite climbers for years, but went unclimbed until Daniel Woods snagged the FA in 2010. Woods had worked on the problem for at least 17 days over the course of two years. While warming up for an attempt, Woods broke a crucial handhold and had to figure out another beta. He was able to send the same day.

The Nest, 8C/V15. Daniel Woods himself wrote a blog post on Evening Sends about his FA.

The New Chapter, 8C/V15. In early 2013, Paul Robinson took friends Daniel Woods and Jimmy Webb to try an old project of his in the mountains of Arkansas. The three friends quickly sent the roof problem, called it Child’s Play, and graded it V13/8B. Robinson then spotted a line of holds deeper into the roof that led into the start hold of Child’s Play. Nighttime came and the group had to leave, but Robinson thought about the problem constantly for the next couple months and finally got the FA on his third trip. With the ascent, Robinson felt as if he had started a new chapter of life, hence the name. Here is the story in his own words.

The Process, 8C+/V16. Here is the amazing write up of the FA.

The Story of Two Worlds, 8C/V15. There isn’t much known about the story of Dave Graham’s FA (the footage didn’t come out until many years later), but the story of the second ascent is quite interesting. Dai Koyamada was confused as to where the start of the problem actually was (no footage, remember) so he started from what he thought was the proper location, sent the problem, and graded it 8C/V15. However, it then came to Dai’s attention that he might have started at the wrong spot. He returned to the problem and then started from an even lower spot than the original. He sent this this new interpretation, The Story of Two Worlds (sit start), and suggested an 8C+/V16 grade for it.

The Understanding, 8C/V15. This video tells all.

The Wheel of Life, 8C/V15. When Dai Koyamada nabbed the FA of this 60-move boulder problem, he gave the line a grade of 8C+/V16. Later ascensionists have either downgraded the problem (some to as low as 8B+/V14) or given it a route grade due to its length.

The Wheel of Life Direct, 8C/V15. James Kassay added 10 moves to the already incredibly long Wheel of Life line to create an even more difficult problem to grade.

The Wheel of Wolvo, 8C/V15. Rock and Ice interviewed Jimmy Webb about his FA.

I have to give a special shoutout to 8a.nu and HardClimbs.info. Both sites were instrumental in putting together this article, and without these amazing resources it wouldn’t exist. Check them out!!

Lastly, if you’re reading this article, I bet you yourself are interested in climbing harder. If you’re struggling to pick out the proper gear, though, check out our list of the best climbing shoes.

About the Author:

Alex is the founder of 99Boulders and has been reviewing and writing about outdoor gear for over two years. When he isn't working on the site, he can be found backpacking around South America or at the bouldering gym using his 6'5" wingspan to skip all the hard holds.
  • Owen Summerscales

    Bügeleisen Sit

    • 99boulders

      Added it! Thanks for the notice

      • Uncle Roger – WADA via il cül

        To be noted that Nalle seem to have bothered with 8C/+ only for Bügeleisen Sit and Gioia.
        Despite what he said in the blog post after the Gioia send, he then had a fb post summing up his year and put those two boulders with the slash grade… :O

  • Kristofer Fiore

    Wheel of Life?

    • Uncle Roger – WADA via il cül

      Consensus is it’s a 9a+ route?

  • thecrookedspine

    Chris Schulte has sent the big island, video on rock and ice website

    • Updated it so his name is now on the list. Thanks!

  • Rabbit1

    Alex Megos nabbed the 3rd ascent of Lucid Dreaming couple days ago. Daniel Woods nabbed the FA of the superproject in Bishop that’s called “The Process” and is proposed a V16.

  • babz

    L’alchimiste reclimb in font
    http://bleau.info/apremont/70.html

  • Ignacio Sandoval Burón

    The Spanish Rubén Díaz Torres has sent two 8C’s, at least. First was the FA of ‘Kemena’ in Almenara in February 2013 (interview in Spanish: http://www.8a.nu/articles/ShowArticle.aspx?ArticleId=8525 & video: https://vimeo.com/63234796) and in the Spring of 2015 he got the 4th repeat of ‘Misti’ in Fontainebleau (news and video: http://www.8a.nu/news/AllNews.aspx?CountryCode=ESP&NewsId=35155).

    Also, ‘Kemena’ was repeated by Nacho Sánchez (he thought it could weight in at 8B+ better).

    Finally, ‘Txapela’ 8C in Albarracín, which was firstly sent by Iker Arroitajauregi and then repeated by Dani Andrada and Alberto Rocasolano.

  • Lio

    Really nice article. Amazing job, congrats. Just my two cents about why we don’t have a V16 yet: because grade deflation at the V15 grade! Because of money and sponsor pressure, I think the pro boulderers are afraid to propose it. Because of their strong ego, some top boulderers won’t hesitate to downgrade a V16. Buggeleisen sit and Gioia are V16 to me. The Process probably too but a hold broke (how convenient, nobody can downgrade it!). And Nalle’s Sisu is probably in the 9A/A+ realm, based on the time Nalle has been trying it versus the time he needs to climb a 8C. But he probably won’t propose more than 8C+ to be sure than no one can justify it as a 8C…or a hold will “accidentaly break”…who knows? Time will tell. Cheers

    • Thanks for sharing Lio. I was sure surprised to see Nalle slap a 9A/V17 grade on Burden of Dreams!

      • Lio

        Me too! I was really impressed by Nalle’s reasoning about the 9A grade and agree 100% with all his thoughts. I’m psyched to see the video of the ascent and see when he’ll complete his Sisu project. I’d put all my money in the future on a repetition of Burden of Dreams from Alex Megos. That would totally fit his style. Again time will tell.

  • Mike nirvanaclimb

    You’ve TOTALLY overlooked Australia and in particular Chris Webb-Parsons who has climbed the wheel of life and has been a collaborator on a bouldering guide for the grampians in , Australia.

  • Evan Uthus

    I don’t think that unrepeated FAs where the climber claiming the grade has not repeated any entries on the list should be included. If the only V15 you have climbed is your own project and no top climber has verified the grade I think the claim is very flimsy. It could very well be that the boulder is your anti-style, so very hard for you but not V15 grade. The following 13 climbers fall into this category: Dudek, Hirayama, Cehovin, Lambrecht, Stefan, Resch, Adams, Piccolruaz, Mendieta, Gaskins, Montes, Carrion, Camargo. Some of these climbers have climbed 5.15a lead or are generally respected as top climbers by the community, but others haven’t and aren’t. If there were attempted ascents by other climbers on the list that confirmed the grade I would agree that that the grade should be considered legit but if not then by this criteria any V13-V14 climber could claim V15 on a project.

  • Daniel Soley

    Horizon V15 – first climbed by Dai Koyamada – has now also been climbed by Ahima Shiraishi.

  • Troy Fauteux

    Rustam Gelmanov Makes Second Ascent of Hypnotized Minds (V16)

  • Joshua Muller

    Are you gonna add Burden of Dreams or wait untill Nalle releases the footage?