Nicole Adds Two Hueco Testpieces

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The great Swiss boulderer Fred Nicole, who has established most of the cutting-edge problems at Hueco Tanks, completed two more desperates in a late-winter visit. The first was Terre de Sienne, a patinaed wall left of the classic Diaphanous Sea. “It’s a stand-up start with a long lock-off move to grab a very small edge, followed by another hard move,” Nicole said. “The rest is easier, but it adds some character to the line.” The other problem is on the Nacho Man Boulder and climbs an obvious cave line. Nicole named this El Techo de los Tres B for his late friend Thom Liemich, who “loved bicycles, blues and bouldering.” Nicole, who has established three V14 problems at Hueco in a decade of visits to the Texas park, believes both of these new problems are a bit harder. Nicole added that he has put up at least one other new problem elsewhere in the last year that was “on my actual limit” and might be harder than the Hueco climbs. However, he explained, “Seeing the state of mind of the latter months in the climbing scene, I didn’t feel like talking about my last few realizations (new routes).” He cited the “sad evolution” of his problem Dreamtime, originally graded V15 but now considerably easier after repeated episodes of chipping by people who “feel they can adapt an already climbed line to their own needs.” Still, Nicole added, “To find myself back in Hueco, even with its restrictions, was a great pleasure. And it’s a surprise constantly renewed to discover that there is still so much potential in this place.”