US bouldering specialist Daniel Woods has posted Creature from the Black Lagoon, an 8C+ problem in Utah’s Chaos Canyon that caused him a fortnight of physical, but mostly mental, anguish.
“From day one I could do all the moves and link a few at a time,” Woods wrote on Instagram. “I finally got to the point where I was sure it was in the bag. More days passed and I continued to fail. I would link multiple times from just 3 moves in to the top but could never add in the first three relatively easy moves.”
Woods’ psychological struggle “tripped” him out and, evidently, became a barrier to completing the climb continuously. The mental side of climbing, as in all sports, is fascinating. Woods’ muscles knew how to make the climb but his mental expectation of success repeatedly sabotaged his ambitions.
“I had false confidence in the beginning with this thing,” Woods admits, “and that is what led me into a war of attrition.”
Perseverance ultimately won the day and Woods was able to link the early moves to the top section of the climb, named Leviathan, though he was slightly vague about the exact grade of the climb.
“To me it felt like v15 to get into the stand of Leviathan, no rest, then soft 11 to the top,” Woods wrote, before noting that to “come up with a number to represent the climb is difficult. I believe this line is harder than most 15s I’ve done so why not call it 16?”
Woods concludes his Instagram post by pondering what exactly constitutes a v16 bouldering problem, evincing disbelief that many of today’s most challenging climbs are awarded the same grade as the efforts of climbers such as Fred Nicole, Bernd Zangerl and Klem loskot a decade ago.
Woods clearly feels that the sport has moved on and invites debate about the use of V16, though hesitates to claim this firmly for Creature of the Black Lagoon. 8C+ on the Font scale seems a safer categorisation for the problem, which as the embedded Instagram video shows, certainly contains some very advanced moves.