Woman climbing steep rock.

Ascents Of The Year Part Two - Sport Climbing

Everybody loves end of year lists, right? Here at NZAC we like to celebrate climbing in all ways, shapes and forms, but every now and then it is good to recognise things at the cutting edge. So here are what I think are the five most impressive sport climbing ascents of the year 2021. In case you missed it, bouldering is here

Sport Climbing - Women

Beka Burberry - Hong Kong Pooey (28, Wānaka, onsight). Beka flies largely under the radar, but she is a really talented climber, as evidenced by onsighting this 28. She probably climbed other hard things that I just didn't hear about.

Amanda Speed - Into The Brown (28, Mangorewa Gorge, first ascent). Speedy is better known as a comp climber, but she seemed to spend a decent amount of time outside this year. There aren't many female first ascents of this grade in New Zealand, so this is really encouraging to see. 

Emily Harding - Cocaine (28, Wānaka). The routes at Al Cap are long, technical and involved. You need to be a good climber to get anything done there. Cocaine is no gimme at the grade, well done Emily on getting this one done.

Jana Wold - Let There Be Bolts (28, The Cave). Jana had to come up with some unique beta to get this one done, it is really great to see her achieving her strong climbing potential.

Izzy Shanks - Louder (28, Froggatt Edge). Fantastic effort from Izzy and looking forward to seeing more from her climbing in the future.

Sport Climbing - Men

Josh Cornah on Nebuchadnezzar (34) at Babylon, Milford area. Photo: Tom Hoyle

Josh Cornah - Nebuchadnezzar (34, Babylon). Early in the year Josh made the first repeat (and first New Zealand ascent) of this this difficult line, originally bolted by Derek Thatcher. 

Josh Cornah - New Testament (34, Little Babylon). The Josh show continued with an ascent of this extension to the New Zealand classic Moses (27). This extension was equipped by Jon Sedon, but the final move was judged too hard and a trapeze was hung from the anchor, so a tick required a final dyno to the trapeze. Jon was probably right, as it took Josh to do it without the trapeze and it comes in a 34 points.

Alec McCallum - Paint It Black (33, The Cave). Alec isn't just a boulderer, he just really, really likes bouldering. He climbs hard routes too, like this fierce Derek Thatcher route at The Cave, with some feisty small edges.

 Enzo Murray - Hydroplaning (33, The Cave). This was originally New Zealand's first 34, but is thought to be 33 these days with advancements in kneebar technology. Still a fine effort from Enzo, and the the first of the grade for him.

Derek Thatcher - Doomsday Clock (32, The Cave). Derek has done most of NZ's hardest climbs, so the best way for him to feature on lists like this is to come up with new novelties close to home. Be assured, he stills climbs at a very high level.

Errata: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly listed Jake Townshend as having climbed Hydroplaning. Apologies to Jake for this error, we are just so sure he'll do it soon …