Playing The Game in Boulder Canyon


Carlo Traversi • The Game V15 (2nd Ascent) from Carlo Traversi on Vimeo.

3/14/11 - This weekend, Carlo Traversi made the second ascent of Daniel Woods' The Game in Boulder Canyon—the problem made famous for its suggested V16 rating in February 2010.

On Saturday, amongst a group of elite Boulder climbers, including Dave Graham, Traversi linked the moves and finished the problem, after about five days of work. "I can't even put an estimate on the number of attempts it took," Traversi says. "I figured out the top section pretty quickly, and the key to the boulder came down to the first two foot moves. It required a unique balance of power and body positioning."

Traversi used similar beta to Woods' with few minor changes.

From his blog: "The first move is 'easy,' then you have to move your feet up, and this particular foot move was probably the hardest part of the problem for me. After you get the feet up, you do a little bump, then reach to the finger lock hold. Unlike Daniel, I didn’t use a finger lock. Instead, I crimped the seam. This was a much more comfortable grip position for me, but it didn’t allow me to reach as far to the next hold. I adopted some serious foot squeezing maneuvers, and managed to completely cancel out the swing that he had to hold. All in all, our beta was very, very similar."

Traversi has had his sights set on The Game for a while now. "Ever since I first drove up Boulder Canyon many years ago, I've wanted to try to climb that dagger of rock that stuck out from the hillside," he says. But until Woods established the moves, the problem wasn't tangible. "The Game is close to home, and I've been psyched to climb on real rock, so I just started making attempts," he adds. "The climbing is really fun and fits my style really well."

Whenever one of the world's hardest unrepeated problems sees a second ascent, the topic of grade confirmation always comes into play. Traversi suggested a V15 grade; previous to this boulder, he had four V14s under his belt, but no V15s. Regarding The Game, Traversi says on his blog, "As for the grade, who knows? I really have no clue. This boulder fit my style very well. It could be V16. It could be V15. Time will tell. The important thing is that [Daniel and I] have both given our honest opinions based on our prior experiences, and that’s all that should be expected."

"I went into the whole 'Game projecting process' without any expectations," he says. "I decided that I really had nothing to lose, and basically committed myself to doing the boulder from the get-go. I never became obsessed with the send, just tried to enjoy the process. And oddly enough, the whole process didn’t take much time."

Date of ascent: March 12, 2011

Sources: Carlo Traversi,,

The Game. Raw and Uncut. from brandon amos on Vimeo.