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Echo from the rocks – Söderlund, Sharma, Harnden, Fineron

Until now, October has been a very fruitful month when it comes to rock ascents. According to the saying „ladies first”, let’s start with the latest success of Swede Matilda Söderlund, who about a week ago sent her second 8c route – Prime Time to Shine 5.14b/8c located on Primo Wall in Clear Creek Canyon. The only 20-year-old made probably the first female ascent of the line set by Jonathan Siegrist. Previously, Matilda repeated another well-known 8c, one of the Frankenjura classics -  Odd Fellows 11-/8c by Markus Bock and she’s now, apart from Sarah Seeger, only the second woman who managed to send such difficulties in the famous German climbing spot. The Swede’s best OS ascents are three 8b lines of Siurana – Pati pa mi, Zona 0 and Negociee and when it comes to FL, on her list there is, among others, amazing Kalea Borroka 8b+. Getting back to Prime Time to Shine, Matilda, who is also a great competitor, describes the route as „fun and cool” and a week before the ascent she had flashed Kelly Traverse 7C (+) in Horsetooth.


Matilda Söderlund on Prime Time to Shine
(photo: Scott Clark)

And as we’ve cought on Siurana, it is worth mentioning that after extremely hot summer (fires at the French-Spanish border, temporary closing of the Catalan climbing spots) there are finally some climbing favourable weather conditions. As Daila Ojeda reports in her blog, Chris Sharma has recently opened another extreme line in Margalef – La Tierra Negra 9a/a+, located to the right of famous Era Vella 9a.. Sharma bolted the route already few years ago but only now he found time to send it. La Tierra Negra is not the only one project the American has prepared for the season. Among others, there is a direct variant to La Tierra and some new lines in Oliana, with extreme long-term project La Dura Dura at the top of the list. Take a look at the route.


Chris Sharma on La Tierra Negra (photo: Boone Speed)

And last but not least, there were also news about another ascents of very classics – Dreamcatcher 5.14d/9a and Punks in the Gym 32/8b+. The first one was repeated by Canadian Ben Harnden and it is only the third ascent of the route which after the author, Chris Sharma, was sent only by one climber – Sean McCool. Sharma bolted the route in 2005 together with Sonnie Trotter but only the American managed to send it. During the following years, many strong climbers tried the route, e.g. Ethan Pringle or Paul Robinson. Only four years later, the woods of Squamish was visited by Canadian Sean McColl, who confirmed the grade. Rumor has it that Harnden worked out different beta and used considerably less holds than previous conquerors.


Sean McColl climbing the initial slab of Dreamcatcher
(photo: Simon Parton/

Finally, we move to Australia where young New Zealander, Wiz Fineron sent a legendary route set by Wolfgang Güllich in 1985. The talk is about nothing but Punks in the Gym 32/8b+ (the first 8b+ in the world). The line is known for its outstanding texture which was described for the Rock and Ice magazine by Mayan Smith-Gobat, who’s been working on the route for some time now, as follows: “The rock is very hard, metamorphosed sandstone—so smooth it is almost like glass in places. It is the only real line running up a beautiful orange, free-standing pillar, about 70 or 80 feet long, overhung and with rounded bulbous features - kind of like baby bottoms!”. 17-year old Fineron has become the youngest climber who managed to send the route. During his trip he also made the ascent of Groobe Train 8c. Check out the route.


Mayan Smith Gobat while working on Punks in the Gym
(photo: Josh Caple/

That was a short compilation of the most interesting ascents of the October which, by the way, has not finished yet!!

Sources:, ukclimbing,,
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