Climber on hard boulder

Gravity Relinquishes Its Grasp


There can be no doubt, gravity just ain't what it used to be. While February 2024 was a day longer than the standard February, it it still the shortest month of the year and yet this February contained a stupendous quantity of hard climbing. We've already reported on Adam Ondra's repeat of Bon Voyage, but there were a number of other significant repeats or first ascents in February.

Will Bosi became the second climber to succeed on three different V17s, with a relatively quick ascent of Daniel Wood's Return Of The Sleepwalker, in Red Rocks, USA. He has previously climbed Burden of Dreams and Alphane.

There were also two new V16s established in the USA, Adrenaline in Colorado by Daniel Woods and Devilution in Bishop by Sean Bailey.

Belay image

Further to these ascents, Nathaniel Coleman flashed Slashface (V13) at Hueco Tanks, a problem first climbed by the legend Fed Nicole and once considered one of the hardest in the world. Also at Hueco, Michaela Kiersch put in a 108 V-point day for the annual Rock Rodeo. She climbed eight problems V10 or harder, including a V13 and three V12s.

Sport climbing also felt the effects of reduced gravity, with Spain's Jorge Diaz-Rullo making the third ascent of Sleeping Lion (37) in Siurana.

In Patagonia, weather is often more more significant than gravity. Nico Favresse, Siebe Vanhee, Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll and Drew Smith have made the first free ascent of Riders on the Storm in the Torres del Paine, over 18 days. The 1300m alpine big wall was first climbed in 1991 by Kurt Albert, Norbert Batz, Bernd Arnold, Peter Dittrich and Wolfgang Güllich at 27 (A3) and despite many attempts by talented teams, the points of aid had not been eliminated until now. New Zealand's own Mayan Smith-Gobat made one of the more significant previous attempts, with Brette Harrington, and found the free climbing variations used by the team of Favresse and co.

It will be interesting to see if this is a permanent shift in the Earth's gravitational field, or merely a brief anomaly.