Video: Shawn Raboutou on the FA of “Big Z” (V16)

It's a tension line with toehooks and sidepulls, and it sure looks pretty hard.

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In December, 2020, Shawn Raboutou put down the first ascent of Big Z in Lake Tahoe. It’s the first V16 for an area that has seen significant attention from some of the world’s strongest climbers in recent years. Raboutou himself has climbed multiple V16s, including repeats of Daniel Woods’ Creature from the Black Lagoon and Nalle Hukketaival’s Livin’ Large, plus the first ascent of Off the Wagon Sit in Val Bavona Switzerland.

For all you bone crushers out there, Big Z—a tension problem with sidepulls and toehooks on bullet granite, with some strange fall potential, as Shawn demonstrates in the video—is in South Lake Tahoe in a zone that also hosts a V12 and a pair of V13s established by Jimmy Webb.


Well, it’s V16, which is another way of saying, “It’s really a son of a bitch.”

Read More: “The Q&A With Jimmy Webb”