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It’s great when hard climbing feels easy—it usually means our training has paid off or it’s a rare low-gravity day. But the victories that come easily just don’t have as much staying power as the hard-fought battles, the projects that start out as question marks or “maybe-nevers” and then somehow come together that one, magical time, even if we just eke them out.
Two recent videos capture that try-hard-and-keep-trying-hard-no-matter-what spirit. In the first, the top French redpoint climber Seb Bouin puts together the wild, 50-meter-long Beyond Integral (9b/+; 5.15b/c) on the jutting limestone prow of Pic Saint Loup, France. The climb links a bouldery 5.15a (check out the desperate finger-stabs into micro-slots down low) into a V12 boulder problem on slimper gastons; Bouin had been trying the climb on and off since spring 2019, and was not originally sure he could even do the upper boulder. In 2020, climbing close to home due to the pandemic (like all of us), Bouin redoubled his efforts and was able to unlock the sticky sequence. As he wrote in a statement, “After two weeks on Beyond Integral some of the beta clicked and I was finally able to link sections on the second part of the route. I needed just one more week of tries to send….”
In the second video, Jon Glassberg, the pro climber, photographer, and videographer behind Louder Than 11 productions, pits himself against The Nest (V15) in First Canyon, Red Rock, Nevada. First climbed by Daniel Woods in 2013, The Nest earns its V15 grade by linking a V11 sit-start into The Nest Stand, a V13. Glassberg had long wanted to climb V15, a mythical grade cemented by Fred Nicole’s first ascent of Dreamtime (8c/V15) in Cresciano, Switzlerand, in 2000. Glassberg’s efforts on the Fontainebleau V15 Big Island, however, over four different trips left him with two herniated disks in his lower back, his goal ever receding. Then, as he wrote in an Instagram post, “I invested 3 months of power endurance training and headed to Red Rock to begin the process no matter how long it took. After 9 sessions of incremental progress it was DONE and I was on top, in shock. I came prepared and executed without an epic and damn it felt good.” Watch the cool, retro-80s-vibe video below for just how much effort Glassberg put into topping The Nest out this spring—it’s inspiration to us all to give our very best effort and to keep trying, no matter how long a climb takes.