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Off and on for the last year and a half, Ryuichi Murai, Nomura Shinichiro, and Toshi Takeuchi—three of Japan’s most pedigreed outdoor boulderers—have been throwing themselves at one of the country’s hardest known projects. On December 10, Murai finally stuck both of the two low-percentage campus cruxes, climbing his way to his third V16 FA.
(You can find the footage, released by Mellow, below.)
Located in Mizugaki Yama, Japan, and previously known as “The Launch Pad Project,” Floating consists of just six moves (not counting the topout, which actually looks quite hard). Of those six moves, Murai and Shinichiro do three of them footless, even campusing the crux first move, which Takeuchi has been trying to Moon-kick his way through. After that, all three climbers do a foot-on rose-move, followed by a footless unwind. All in all, as the V16 grade suggests, Floating looks properly heinous.
Murai, 27, started climbing in 4th grade and was asked to join the Japanese National Team at age 13. He’s been one of the world’s strongest outdoor boulderers for years, but he didn’t start getting much international attention until April 2016, when he did three V15s in less than a month, including Dai Koyamada’s Hydrangea, and picked up his first major sponsor. (At the time, he still had only 220 Instagram followers and was working toward a degree in information science.)
In 2019, on a trip to Colorado, he put down The Game (V15), Echale (V14), Mirror Reality (V14), and Midnight Express (V14), among others. Returning home, he then made the first ascent of United (V16), another project that had resisted the efforts of many of Japan’s most elite boulderers. Then he flew to Switzerland, where he made a one-day ascent of Dreamtime (V15) and quick work of Dave Graham’s The Story of Two Worlds (V15).
More recently, this last October, Murai put down his long-term project, Nexus, a 40-move monster in Shiobara Cave, which shares an ending with Hydrangea. He expressed some doubt about giving a boulder grade to a problem that’s so long, but added that it felt harder than stylistically similar problems such as Babel, a V15 in Shiobara he sent in 2016, and Daniel Woods’ In Search of Lost Time, a V15 in Magic Wood, Switzerland, that Murai sent in 2017.
For those of us who haven’t tried these problems but want to contextualize how much stronger Murai is than most other humans: He can hang one handed, with just three fingers, on the Beastmaker 14mm crimp for 29 seconds.
Twenty-nine seconds! I doubt I can do that two-handed.