Thursday, June 27, 2013

James Kassay on the First Ascent of The Wheel of Life Direct (V16)

...And I thought V15 was as hard as bouldering problems got. I guess I was wrong. I've personally done a few V5's and those just about killed me. Imagine something literally three times as hard.

This guy's technique is so flawless that he makes these incredibly difficult moves look easy. The toe-hooks and heel-hooks are what I am fascinated by. But equally interesting is his creativity in finding spots to rest, for example the knee-jam where he hangs hands-free or the spot where he grabs his own shoe for a jug hold to rest on.

Commentary from Chris Parker via Rock and Ice magazine:
Repeating a 70-move, V15 roof climb was not quite enough for the Australian boulderer James Kassay. In fact, he wanted to make the problem harder! The line Kassay envisioned was a direct finish to Dai Koyamada's 2004 testpiece The Wheel of Life (V15), which climbs through the belly of the Hollow Mountain Cave in the Grampians of Australia. In 2011, Kassay repeated Koyamada's original problem, and then set to work on adding a more difficult finish. A year later, Kassay's links became longer and longer, until one November day, he sent The Wheel of Life Direct. Could Kassay's creation warrant the coveted V16 grade? Decide for yourself as you watch the video below and marvel at Kassay's flawless technique and unique rests such as grabbing his own climbing shoe!

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