Daniel Woods in Switzerland

Daniel Woods in Switzerland

Posted on 21. Apr, 2011 by in News

Daniel Woods has been on a tear lately (when is he not?), as he is touring some of the hardest boulders in Europe. First off he tried Gioia V15 at Varrazee, climbing all the moves quickly in the heat. He then left Italy hoping to return in cooler weather. From there it was on to Switzerland, where he climbed the third ascent of Practice of the Wild V15, which is an amazing cave boulder problem in Magic Wood. He also repeated Paul Robinson’s Ill Trill and suggested a downgrade from V15 to V14, and Chris Webb-Parson’s Believe in Two, giving it the same downgrade. Very impressive.

It’s hard to know these days if high end climbers are being honest about what they actually think about the numbers. Perhaps all of the downgrading, not just by Daniel, but many others, is an attempt to try and give a sincere and accurate assessment of the actual difficulty. Perhaps it is simply ego-driven bickering. What will stand out in the end? It will be interesting to see if and when an American climber younger than Chris Sharma or Dave Graham takes the lead on the development of a new area, which is something that hasn’t happened in a while.

Finally, while B3bouldering likes to keep its focus on bouldering, as it is clearly the superior discipline, I will acknowledge that Adam Ondra has had a decent spring of Spanish sport climbing. Well done!

23 Responses to “Daniel Woods in Switzerland”

  1. Pat

    21. Apr, 2011

    The constant downgrading often seems to have ulterior motives, which defeats the purpose, obviously. And I concur that bouldering is by far the superior discipline.

  2. Dude

    21. Apr, 2011

    While their climbing abilities are truly impressive, what I was struck by in the footage of Daniel Woods and Paul Robinson in the 2010 Real Rock DVD and Progressions DVD was their constant statements that the climbs they are doing represent “the next level”. They seem more interested in doing things in the name of being the first to assign a new, higher grade than anything else. Watching similar footage of Chris Sharma, who also refers to the next level, you get the sense he is most interested in trying to do things that are harder than anything HE has done before and may not be doable (by him) rather than creating a new grade in the grading system. Sharma’s less grade oriented attitude to me has been further validated by his willingness to pass the torch to Adam Ondra and his acknowledgement that Ondra will or may already be the best sport climber in the world.

  3. sammy d

    21. Apr, 2011

    ondra stole that torch from chris like 2 years ago.

    Daniel is on another level. He just says it different than chris.

  4. michael

    21. Apr, 2011

    Everyone knows Chris is still the best
    The arch cant be repeated unless you are strong like bull & atleast 6 feet 2 inches tall with a positive ape index of atleast 2

  5. polaropposite

    21. Apr, 2011

    So correct me if I’m wrong here, but reports I’ve read state that Woods didn’t do Practice of the Wild with the all-points-off dyno, as the FA did, but used an intermediate instead. Just wondering if you (Jamie) have yet come up with a better justification than what was essentially “because I say so” for denying someone credit for a valid ascent because they didn’t use the original starting holds, but forgoing the crux dyno of a boulder problem rated for the difficulty of the dyno somehow, and even downrating it, is valid. Looking for something a little less arbitrary I guess…

  6. B3

    21. Apr, 2011

    I thought I has spelled this out as clearly as possible.


  7. B3

    21. Apr, 2011

    One huge part of the enjoyment of rock climbing is figuring out the beta between defined point A (the start-where the FAist began) and point B (the finish-where the FAist finished). Saying that the start of a problem is defined by where the FAist started is not arbitrary at all. I can tell you, without any debate where every single problem in the world begins and ends. The “rules” that I am arguing in favor of actually end the debate, and that is one reason why I am in favor of them.
    In regards to Daniel doing different beta? I think that is integral to our sport. That IS what the sport of rock climbing is, in some sense.

  8. Dan

    21. Apr, 2011

    Ty Landman used the same intermediate and still called the boulder V15 as did Daniel so I don’t think the intermediate makes the problem easier. Chris’ style is doing big moves between big holds. He’s never had the best technique or the strongest fingers but is just unbelievably strong in his core and a naturally gifted climber in that he understands movement and how to get his body to do things. Daniel is similarly brutish but has much better technique. I really can see Daniel (maybe along with Ondra) taking things to the next level in the years to come. As to the grade debate, I remember there was a very long stretch of time where Sharma refused to grade his climbs (in fact he’s refusing to give a number to FRFM now). He was respected for putting up nuts hard routes and boulders that were fun to climb. He still made every headline possible, sold crazy dvds, and was super highly sought after by companies wanting him on their payroll. Grades are nice but not important and far from necessary. Climb the lines that are fun and aesthetic, respect the FAist, and forget the rest.

  9. polaropposite

    21. Apr, 2011

    “Saying that the start of a problem is defined by where the FAist started is not arbitrary at all. I can tell you, without any debate where every single problem in the world begins and ends”

    Agreed. But it becomes arbitrary when the rule that applies to the beginning and end doesn’t apply to the rest of the problem.

    You’re basically saying there’s no such thing as off-route holds, when we all know that some of the best problems are confined to following the line of strength; bouldering has always been this way, and following this “rule” has always seemed less arbitrary than what you are suggesting, especially since the rationale for your rule, after reading what you wrote, essentially boils down to “because I say so”.

  10. B3

    21. Apr, 2011

    No, I am not. If the problem is contrived (and defined as such by the FAist), then yes there are off-route holds. If the problem is not contrived, then there are not off-route holds.

    “We all know” What do we all know? what a line of strength is? I don’t know what you are talking about so apparently we don’t all know.
    “bouldering has always been this way” what way is that?
    Your post is very confusing.

    Clearly I can’t actually be another person, which is what it would take to repeat a climb. Again, it is reasonable to know where the first ascentionist started with their hands, it is unreasonable to know exactly which foot smears they used for every single move on a rock climb.
    I’ve offered up an explanation as to how to define a climb, and a repeat of that climb.
    How would you suggest we define a problem and a repeat?

  11. jon

    21. Apr, 2011

    What’s happening with the grades?

    1. A consensus on what 8B, 8B+, 8C etc actually mean is finally starting to emerge. For decades, different people in different areas have been using completely different grading systems, so when someone from a tougher area comes to a softer area there are vast numbers of “downgrades” (read grade translations). Switzerland and the US are gradually heading towards being consistent. But when people go to some of the less frequented areas – all those unrepeated 8C’s in Austria etc – the process will continue… (Although obviously, some of the less frequented areas may turn out to be tougher rather than softer than the consensus – although this usually isn’t the case in obscure areas.)

    2. In addition to this, as problems get repeated, beta often gets refined and this often makes much more difference on boulders than on routes – hence lots of downgrades of boulders after first ascents. But the first factor is by far the most important reason.

  12. DaveH

    21. Apr, 2011

    So many downgrades… I’m so sick of it.

    I can only see two possible explainations for it all:

    Either the athletes downgrading have ulterior motives or the FAists have poor ability at grading. It’s almost like downgrades are expected now, and I’m surprised when someone doesn’t do it.

  13. james

    21. Apr, 2011

    Downgrades are an inevitable part of this game for a number of reasons; some genetic, some sequence based, others dependant on the conditions encountered and yes, many downgrades are directly proportional to the size of the climber’s ego.

    As a side note, for those spouting that Daniel is on another level…another level of what? A number of other climbers (Micky Page for example) climb problems of the same difficulty, in the same sort of timescales, but without the v16 blarney to make them famous….bit harsh I know, but there are other people just as good as Woods or Robinson, which the fanchilds would do well to remember.

  14. Dylan

    21. Apr, 2011

    We’ll know there’s a problem if TSOTW ever gets downgraded. It also strikes me as possible that Daniel is using The Game as his new baseline for V15, and if, as he now says on 8a, its soft V15, then a huge rush of downgrades is probably to be expected to bring everything else into line.

    It may be important though, to make sure this trend is carefully watched by the climbers doing it. While grades were probably too inflated a few years ago, it would be equally silly to overreact to that and swing towards sandbagging everything.


    21. Apr, 2011

    is it lost on everyone that dw called ill trill *hard* 14? is it also lost that his comments lately have been primarily related to the quality and fun of the line rather than “pisssss!!!!”-type text?

    seems to strike against the unleashed unadulterated ego talk.

  16. toothbrush

    21. Apr, 2011

    Superior discipline – agreed.

    Grades: Sharma has this right. He attempted FRFM so many times that applying the physical grade was nullified by his mental block – therefor the grade would have been biased and inaccurate.

    Any FA climber provides and arbitrary grade and we should learn to take it as such and expect a downgrade. Something always seems harder when it hasn’t been done. Thats just a fact of life. Lets relish those problems that stand multiple assents with solid grading.

  17. Biffo

    22. Apr, 2011

    There are problems that are retaining the 8C grade out there, at least six or seven, so I don’t think the world is falling in. Though there sure are a lot of 8B+s. It seems like the three day timepoint is being used a lot, where if it takes 3 or less for DW, Robinson, Graham, they will not call it 8C. Is that a bad way to do it? I couldn’t tell you, leave me to my V6’s

  18. Rambo

    22. Apr, 2011

    Adam Ondra is way ahead of the pack. His ability to boulder and climb routes at such a high level. To repeat nearly all of the hardest routes at every major crag in Europe, all as a virtual weekend warrior is incredible.
    It feels like this bouldering grade conversation is very narrow-sighted. I think the small group that is caught up in this grade debate would do well to acknowledge the great climbers to come before and the other great climbers out there now. They seem to feel they are in some elite club doing what has never been done before.
    Ondra always credits the climbers who have done the work to establish areas and break barriers. Also he always recognizes the purity of the line.
    I put Chris Sharma and Fred NIcole in a class of their own, and these younger phenom’s can learn from their example
    Ondra is on the right track…. Similar to the way trad climbers and mountaineers spend many years in the footsteps of their predecesors.

  19. pellet

    22. Apr, 2011

    By the way, for what I know Daniel called Gioia 8B+ into the 8A+ stand start (which someone calls 8B), doing the latter quickly and all the single moves of the first part in a day. It seems that 8C+ will be the grade.

  20. michael

    23. Apr, 2011

    Since Ondra doesnt even have close to the genetics of sharma, a big move ondra is like a small move to sharma.

    end of discussion

  21. Sam S

    24. Apr, 2011

    Is anyone else impressed by how strong Daniel Woods is? Keep crushing Daniel it’s so inspiring!

  22. ALL

    25. Apr, 2011

    What ever happened with Tonino ’78, that supposed 8C+ Mauro Calibani put up in Italy in 2004? Minor googling reveals a couple of quick repeats and a supposed breakdown of V10 into V14. Should be repeated, probably downgraded.

    And, against my better judgment, I will enter this into the discussion: if giving something a big number is egotistical and giving something the downgrade is egotistical, we’re in a bit of a bind, aren’t we?

    Egotism here is a motivation and motivations are pretty difficult to discern a lot of the time. People glean what they can about climbers’ attitudes from videos they see and comments on 8a.nu scorecards, which might just be useful pieces of evidence. Maybe. Either way, all we can plead for from our strong men as shadowy, ashamed climbing fanboys hidden behind screen names is a little bit of honesty, please.

  23. climber

    07. May, 2011

    i dont think Chris has necessarily found all of these areas, he’s more the guy who is similar to daniel, that the locals show the area bc they want someone strong to come and climb them, and help put a new area on the map. Daniel and Chris take the opportunity ahead of them to go to a new area a friend has told them about. If this is always being brought upon them, I find it difficult to be looking for other new areas at the same time. They cannot be at two places at once.

    Also, didn’t Daniel help develop the new area at Mt Evans this summer. I think without him, Dave wouldn’t have been able to establish all of those climbs alone. I think the younger kids are in the right direction.

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