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From the Deep South last winter to Europe in the spring, and then on to South Africa in the summer and Colorado in the fall, Jimmy Webb seemed to be everywhere and climbing everything, usually in blazing speed. Webb flashed at least half a dozen V13 problems—we say “at least” because he downgraded problems that felt easier for him, including Sky, often called V14, which he flashed in Rocklands, South Africa. In Rocky Mountain National Park, Webb did the third ascent of Dave Graham’s Bridge of Ashes (V15) in just 30 minutes. He also put up two new V15 problems at Lincoln Lake in Colorado. Oh, and he bested a stacked field at last summer’s Psicobloc deep water soloing comp in Utah, leaving viewers wondering, “Who’s that dude with the beard?!”
Webb, 26, hails from Tennessee and has been bouldering hard for more than half a decade. (He did his first V14, Jade in Rocky Mountain National Park, in 2010.) But 2013 was extraordinary by anyone’s standards. “I honestly don’t know if I’ve gotten stronger, or if I’ve just had more opportunity,” Webb says. “I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot, so it’s only natural that I’m able to complete more boulders. And the overall experience is so good for my climbing that it makes me stronger mentally.”
Working part-time as a route-setter at the ABC Kid’s Climbing Gym in Boulder, Webb says he likes repeating hard boulders and putting up new problems just as much. “I usually like to go to an area, spend some days paying respect to the classics, and then branch out and try to discover something new,” he says. With a full year of travel coming up, he should have plenty of opportunities.
Of all the places in the world, where would you most like to climb? “There are so many places I haven’t been. Australia would be rad.”
What climber are you most impressed by? “The beauty of climbing is that everyone is different. Right now I really like climbing with Dave Graham, because he’s so technically sound. He really knows how to move on the rock.”
More Golden Pitons:
Look for the full Golden Pitons feature story, including dozens more climbs and climbers, in our February issue (Climbing 322).