On March thirty, and just after three straight months of perform on the severely overhanging line in Nevada’s Pink Rock Canyon Nationwide Conservation Area on the outskirts of Las Vegas, Daniel Woods founded the most difficult boulder trouble in the U.S.—likely the hardest such route in the globe.

Rated V17, Return of the Sleepwalker, in Black Velvet Canyon, adds a six-shift V13 get started to Sleepwalker (V16), first completed by Jimmy Webb in 2018.

It “took 70 days in excess of two a long time,” Woods states. “I went mentally deep on this point.”

Daniel Woods at Return of the Sleepwalker in Nevada
Bobby Sorich

Although roped climbs abide by the Yosemite Decimal Method (YDS), which classifies routes from 5. to 5.15d and is based mostly on stamina, bouldering is rated by the hardest particular person shift or moves. VO (5.nine on the YDS scale) continues all the way up to V17, which is somewhere in the 5.sixteen vary (5.sixteen is a theoretical quality that no just one has nevertheless climbed on a rope).

Bouldering is all about pulling as hard as you can on a rock. “The title of the game is seeing how much you can drive your self,” states Woods. “I had significant bruises on my fingertips, and definitely got rather conquer up on it.”

Given that there’s no gear (aside from footwear), it’s just the climber dealing with up against the stone. Speedy primer here: Bouldering is completed without having ropes and all falls guide to the floor climbers count on stable spots by their associates to immediate their flinging bodies they use foam-crammed mats, identified as crash pads, positioned on the floor to cushion their falls.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, “climbing,” as the The Guardian documented, went “from specialized niche activity to worldwide feeling.” Even through 2020, which devastated a lot of indoor climbing gyms, the Climbing Business enterprise Journal reviews that far more climbing gyms opened than in the prior yr (2019). Given that The Location, the first bouldering-certain facility in the U.S. opened in 2002, these days 40 % of new gyms are bouldering-certain, according to 99boulders.com. Suffice to say, bouldering has attained a stable foothold.

With his ascent of Return of the Sleepwalker, Woods, 31, turned the very best boulderer in America and just one of the two very best in the globe. From (wherever else?) Boulder, CO, Woods has flashed (that means his first endeavor) V14 and climbed up to 5.15b on a rope. In advance of creating the V17 Return of the Sleepwalker, The North Experience-sponsored athlete created the first ascent of the following V16s: Creature from the Black Lagoon and Box Treatment, both in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park Hypnotized Minds around Estes Park, CO and The Method in Bishop, CA.

Woods recurring Sleepwalker (V16) in January 2019, necessitating eleven days of perform, then he got to perform on the up coming line down the boulder, a sit-get started that would include two moves up to V12. When that line was not demanding more than enough, he moved additional down the boulder and commenced perform on what would develop into Return of the Sleepwalker. In overall, the boulder trouble is sixteen moves extended.

As he put in day just after day on the opening sequence, he also began lapping Sleepwalker. Repeating the climb amplified his ability and health and fitness, and he did it 15 situations ahead of completing the Return of the Sleepwalker. On the day he did it, he walked up to Return of the Sleepwalker and did it on his first go.

“This was for sure the most mentally hard point I’ve completed in bouldering,” he states. “For people three months, I mainly labored just on that. You get started dreaming about moves. All day you just think about the motion of that line.”

Finnish boulderer Nalle Hukkataival turned the first to suggest V17 when he founded Load of Dreams in Lappnor, Finland, in 2016. No Kpote Only and The Big Island Sit both once had V17 ratings, but subsequent climbers have downrated them, reviews Climbing.com.

Wood’s Return of the Sleepwalker is just one of only two boulder difficulties with a proposed ranking of V17 in the globe.

Now again dwelling in Boulder, Woods has his sights on his up coming probable V17 challenge, which he began perform on ahead of Return of the Sleepwalker. The boulder is found in close by Eldorado Canyon Point out Park. “It’s the very same length as Return of the Sleepwalker, sixteen moves with zero breaks. You just maintain likely.”


For entry to exclusive gear movies, celeb interviews, and far more, subscribe on YouTube!