Will Bosi blasts Spain with F9b+ and Font 8C first ascents
- Monday 29th March 2021
Will Bosi has spent the winter in Spain climbing numerous hard routes and boulders including the first ascent of King Capella (F9b+) and Ulls de Bruixa, a Font 8C bloc. If King Capella is confirmed at F9b+ that makes Will the first Brit, and only the sixth climber ever, to climb that grade!
Bosi left for Spain in late December following the European Championships in Moscow. Despite his best efforts, Will was unable to secure the final European quota place for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Will had committed massively to getting one of the 20 quota places to contest the Olympics but, along with many other top climbers, had been unable to find the combination to secure a qualification place at the various Olympic qualification events.
However, two years of brutal training had left Will in fantastic condition; free from the burden of competing it was a perfect time for an extended trip for him to see what was possible outside. Will explains where he was after Moscow as he set-off on his Spanish trip: “After Moscow, the purpose of the training trip was to firstly reset after a long and tough Olympic campaign and secondly to put in a base level preparation for the upcoming IFSC World Cup lead season. Spain has some of the highest concentration of hard sport climbing and I was also able to project first ascents in order to force myself to try unconventional beta to solve hard problems which are similar to what appears in World Cups.”
Will had two base objectives for the trip: “I only really had two goals for the trip which were to stay safe [from COVID-19] and train hard in the off-season so I am in good shape for competitions later on in the year. There were sections of the Moscow European Championships that I was really proud of but also areas for improvement so the trip out to Spain was aimed to reset and start to plan ahead for the future.”
Before we delve into his latest trip remember that Will’s previous trip to Spain in early 2020 had included a stint at Siurana where he’d made a very fast repeat of the renowned testpiece, La Capella. (Click here for our in-depth chat with Will about that ascent). Now, a year on and with a significant time spent in lock-down training, Will could return and look at other existing routes as well as some unclimbed projects, something which Will was keen to try as he explains: “I have always been keen to try and do first ascents but when I have gone on trips before, I always had very specific goals in mind so never had time to look at new routes. Being out in Spain surrounded by the highest density of hard sport climbing anywhere in the world, it was very hard not to be inspired to try and add to it in some way.”
The appeal of unclimbed lines for Will was simple: “One of the things that appealed to me was trying to solve problems where there was no predefined beta and the challenge, therefore, was to first see if something was possible or impossible! If I was to look at this from a performance perspective, the process of solving a route with no pre-defined beta is a core aspect of competition climbing so it seemed a great opportunity to develop that aspect of my climbing on really challenging lines.”
Will’s previous ascent of La Capella had made him the first Brit to climb F9b abroad. His recent trip however has not only consolidated his sport climbing credentials but blasted them to a new level. Two of the new routes climbed by Will on his latest trip are La Furia de Jabali (F9b) and Last Night (F9a). However, Will then absolutely smashed through into the rarefied air beyond F9b with the first ascent of King Capella at a proposed world-class standard of F9b+!
Originally bolted by David Brasco, King Capella is a significant step-up as Will explains: “King Capella has the same style of the area with a series of boulder problems stacked on top of one another however this route was another level for me. For comparison, it took me three sessions to complete La Capella, whereas it took me three sessions to unlock the first sequence on King Capella.”
The climbing in this sector is uncompromisingly fierce and intense with fingery and hugely dynamic moves. Climbing the wall left of La Capella, Will’s new route, King Capella, comprises three difficult boulder problems one after the other before the standard of the climbing finally eases and mid-grade 7th- class sport climbing leads to the belay. The first of the three boulder problems on King Capella is the hardest and weighs-in at an eye-watering Font 8B+. As Will explained previously, that section took him three days to unlock in itself! The second boulder section is still Font 8A+ and even the third and final problem is Font 7C! Completing the route understandable was a massive buzz for Will: “With powerful moves that don’t let up and having big all points off moves, King Capella was like I got to be Chris Sharma for a day, it was amazing!”
If confirmed at the grade, Will’s ascent of King Capella at F9b+ puts him into a group of six super-elite climbers who have climbed harder than F9b+ or harder; Adam Ondra, Chris Sharma, Alex Megos, Stefano Ghisolfi and Jakob Schubert. Remarkably, Will only spent a total of ten sessions on King Capella before succeeding on the first ascent.
In addition to his three first ascents Will also repeated a number of other hard routes including; First Ley (F9a+), the third ascent of Ley Indignata (F9a) and Estadio Critico (F9a).
Will explained how his ascents of these routes went…
“Furia de Jabali (F9b) [a line originally bolted and cleaned by Beto Rocasolano] is a real power endurance challenge, consisting of around 16 very hard moves before you join into the second half of Jungle Speed (F9a). The crux of the route is the last couple of moves before joining Jungle Speed, just as you are nearly out of power so I had to keep fighting hard all the way on this one!
Last Night (F9a) [a line originally bolted by Dani Andra] is quite different in style as it revolves around one very hard move which I reckoned would be the equivalent of an 8A boulder. After the boulder, the route isn’t so hard but the climbing style is very fun and athletic! To finish the route you have to mantle the top of the crag which is way harder than you want at the top of an F9a but makes topping out very rewarding!
First Ley (F9a+) was my main goal for the trip. The route is the easier version of Chris Sharma’s First Round First Minute (F9b). It climbs the whole bottom half of the route up to the rest but instead of doing the last boulder, First Ley heads out left and does an easier finish.
With the hard climbing being only the first 8 meters this route was far more my style and on day three I fell just missing the pocket at the end of the hard climbing! Unfortunately on this attempt I cut my ring finger on the only pocket in the hard section. This meant I was unable to repeat that move and two days later the snow came.
It took the next month and a half for the route to dry after the snow. However, even after all this time my finger had still not healed enough to do the move. So I had to take another two weeks off the route to get my finger properly healed, the route went down the first session I could repeat the move! It’s definitely one of the best routes I’ve climbed and I can’t wait to go back for the full version.”
Estado Critico (F9a) is definitely one of the king lines of Siurana so I’ve always been drawn to it. I did try it once 4 years ago but felt it was just way too hard for me at that time. With being out here for a long time it made sense to actually commit to trying and putting the work into this 30 metre beast!
It took me only four sessions, in the end, this time. Which really surprised me, on the second session I had already climbed through the “crux” of the route which is a boulder in the middle, but fell shortly after. Every attempt after I climbed through the crux and slowly worked up the route falling almost a move higher each time. On the send go everything just seemed to click and I was able to rest well and actually arrive at the top section feeling fresh and not pumped!
Even though it is only graded F9a I reckon it could be the hardest route I’ve done with it being so long and endurance-based! Although the send go felt ok every go I felt the route seemed crazy hard. Also with it being a long route, it comes with the mental challenge too! On the flip side clipping, the chains was one of the most rewarding climbing experiences I’ve had.”
Incredibly, Will also spent some time bouldering and was able to repeat Bhai Bon (Font 8B+) as well as adding a new Font 8C of his own. Dave Graham - now a Spanish resident - originally climbed Bhai Bon back in 2003. It had to wait for 15 years before it got its second ascent. Will’s ascent is believed to be the seventh. “Bhai Bon is an absolute brilliant line.” Will said, adding: “Although a lot of the footholds are small, it climbs in a very gymnastic style with the crux move being a huge slap between two crimps. The day I sent Bhai Bon, I was at the crag by myself and started the day off by checking out another route project at the La Capella sector before heading up to the boulders. As the crux moves suit me very well it only took 5 goes to stick the crux move but I fell on the very last move and tore my skin up. This meant I had to put a lot of tape on making the start harder and ended up taking another 5 goes to send!”
Will however had eyes for another project boulder as well – a line originally cleaned by Dave Graham. “I came back two days later to check out this amazing project just to the right of Bhai Bon. This would be a sit start to a jump start Font 8A+. The sit adds three ok moves and then three really hard moves. These moves all revolve around a crazy drop knee which holds you into a really small crimp on a very steep wall. The sequence ends by taking a big swing on the starting holds of the jump start. Like Bhai Bon it finishes by topping the crag out.
It took the whole first day to get the moves figured out enough to start linking moves together. I then came back two days later after resting and was able to get the send after about six attempts from the ground. However, it was at the absolute limit for me, almost falling on every move of the 8A+.”
Will’s feels Ulls de Bruixa, his new Font 8C bloc, is worth the grade: “It felt significantly harder than Bhai Bon and took longer to finish but I would welcome others to try it. It is also worth noting that it fits my style of climbing perfectly with the small crimps and drop knees.”
In addition to repeating Bhai Bon and adding Ulls de Bruixa, Will also repeated Bhai Po (Font 8B+), Bhai Kakata (Font 8B+/C), Bhai Ji (Font 8B/B+) and Hurrikuto (Font 8B).
Will, having complied with covid restrictions during his stay in Spain, is now back in the UK. Although currently in quarantine, Will is looking forward to competing in competitions again (subject to selection to the GB Climbing team) as well as climbing on real rock as lockdown restrictions ease here in the UK.
Climber hopes to interview Will soon and bring you more about his amazing trip to Spain and, of course, his climbing plans now that he’s back in the UK.