10/13/11 - The Nordic countries saw a difficult first ascent and repeat this week.
Magnus Midtboe repeated Jorg Verhoeven's Nordic Flower link-up (5.14d) in Flatanger, Norway. He had first tried the route in May, working out the moves to the first section. This week, he sent on his third attempt. "I'm not sure about the 9a [5.14d] grade, but on such a beautiful route, I don't think the grade even matters," he said on his blog. "Without a doubt the most beautiful route I have ever done."
Verhoeven climbed this 230-foot extension in September, calling it "one of the most brilliant routes" he's ever climbed.
Farther east, Nalle Hukkataival finished one of his long-standing projects in Finland, one he calls a "multi-year epic." The granite boulder problem involves "lots of body tension and shoulder strength... and a very precise heel hook move to a two-finger pinch at my absolute extension," he said. This climb required many struggles, including minor finger injuries, access issues, and almost breaking two ribs after falling off.
He dubbed it Circus Elephant Syndrome and suggests V14. He says he has spent more time on this boulder than any other project. "In my opinion, 8b+ [V14] is HARD, and I intend to keep my line with the 8c [V15] grade, which I still view as cutting-edge until something a notch above the current bouldering level gets climbed." Regardless, it may be the hardest problem in Finland.
Hukkataival has recently registered more than 15 V12-or-harder ascents on his 8a.nu scorecard.
Dates of ascents: October 2011