Fifth Ascent of The Wheel of Life


UPDATED: 10/7/11 - Benjamin Cossey replied to a post about his Wheel send on that explained his apparent V14 downgrade.

"V16 represents the highest difficulty yet climbed by humans, even then these few problems are not confirmed. V15 takes the very best climbers a massive amount of effort to climb and yet there are not much more than a handful of confirmed ones in the world. The Wheel doesn’t really have any one move that you couldn’t find on, say, a V7. The hardest moves on it are in my opinion on Sleepy Hollow and yes, you have to bone down for sure because you’ve just climbed from the bottom but they aren’t crazy hard and certainly not in terms of V16 or even V15 hard."

He then breaks down the problem by move, addressing questions about whether using a kneebar makes the problem easier. Read more here.

10/7/11 - Another ascent of Dai Koyamada's The Wheel of Life in the Hollow Mountain Cave, Grampians, Australia, has flown under the radar for about a week. Australian climber Benjamin Cossey repeated the 60-move problem/route last Friday, simply saying, "What a rad thing," on his scorecard.

What's notable is that he suggested the problem could be much easier than originally reported, as "low" as V14. When Japan's Koyamada established the problem in 2004, he proposed V16 for the massive link-up, which consists of the problems Under Siege (V14), Sleepy Hollow (V12), Cave Girl (V12), and Dead Can't Dance (V12).

In 2007, Australian Chris Webb Parsons made the second ascent of the traverse, suggesting 5.15a. Then Ethan Pringle repeated The Wheel for the third ascent in 2010, recommending that 5.14d was more appropriate. And this year, fellow Australian James Kassay managed an ascent as well, confirming Koyamada's original grading at V16. "I'm not a route climber, and as such I'm not going to give it a route grade," he said. So it seems that after five ascents, the grade has not yet settled.

According to his scorecard, Cossey has climbed the other link-ups in the cave, which ranked at about V12. The hardest he ascent he had registered prior to The Wheel is Ammagamma (V13) in the Grampians.

Date of ascent: September 30, 2011