New V14s by Robinson, Graham


3/6/12 - The past week has seen a flurry of impressive bouldering ascents across the globe.

Hueco Tanks in Texas held its 19th annual Hueco Rock Rodeo competition on March 3 and 4. Daniel Woods and Dutch climber Katharina Saurwein took home the big prizes, followed by fellow Netherlands native Jorg Verhoeven and Angie Payne in second place; Canadian Sean McColl and Nina Williams in third place; and Dave Graham and Courtney Sanders in fourth place. Woods reportedly climbed Crook by the Book (V14), Nagual (V13), The Machinist (V13), Full Monty (V12), Two Days with Gene (V11), and another V12 to grab the top spot on the podium.

Several days before the comp, Graham found a new line in Hueco and worked out the moves for six days. He dubbed it Neon Desert, and thinks it weighs in at V14. "Super nice rig climbing out a comp wall, bomber crimps, athletic climbing, and resistant," he said on his scorecard. "Felt a solid step [up from] the 8b's I have done here. Maybe there is some beta I didn't find, but the method I used is challenging, and majestic!"

McColl also took home more than a medal from the Rodeo: he flashed Nagual (V13) during the comp. (Nagual was first flashed by Paul Robinson in 2007, marking the first flash of that grade by an American.) McColl also climbed seven problems V10 or harder that day, including Flamignon (V13), Full Monty (V12), and a flash of Subzero (V11). The week before, McColl participated in the American Bouldering Series National Championships, where he placed seventh, just out of reach of finals.

Up north in Colorado, Jimmy Webb—who also competed at ABS Nationals—repeated two V14s: Woods' new Mirror Reality in Rocky Mountain National Park, and Echale in Clear Creek Canyon. Regarding Mirror Reality, he said on his blog:

"On my first glance of the bloc, I knew that it was my style, and I knew that if things went well I could complete it rather quickly. Luckily things did go well, and I was able to put it together in about an hour or so. Luck is the key word here... The way this one goes you could either do it in a few tries or it could take a few weeks. Problems like this are badass, and I tip my cap to Daniel for making the first ascent!"

He had previously attempted Echale to no avail. The first move gave him trouble for the first hour of this trip's attempt; it wasn't until he removed some tape off his finger and decided to give the problem the "f*** it" attempt that he stuck the first move and continued to top out the boulder. "It's just crazy to me that no matter how tired you are, you can always muster that reserve energy and kill it," he said.

Over in Albarracín, Spain, Paul Robinson established what he thinks is a V14, calling it Helicopters and Beaches. The problem sat as a project next to Christian Core's Beautiful Mind (V14). He worked the moves for three days; on day three, he apparently had to battle high winds, cold temps, and rain showers for the send. During the two weeks he's been in Spain, he's climbed 14 V11s or harder.

Dates of ascents: February & March 2012