Aidan Roberts is currently one of the absolute top class in bouldering. He pulls one high-end boulder after the other and can - at least since his most recent training video - be regarded as a serious candidate for bouldering grade 9A.
The 23-year-old Brit Aidan Roberts repeats and opens up the most difficult boulders in a frequency that makes you sit up and take notice. Would you like a taste? It will open in November 2021 Leopold von pooch (8C, FA), to follow in December Truffles on Bicycles (8B+, FA). At the beginning of the year he repeats Jerry Moffat's The Ace (8B), in March he flashes Vecchio Leone (8B). Following Kingdom sit (8C), Everything the Light Touches (8C, FA), Forgotten Gem (8C), Silent Singer (8C, FA), raggamuffin (8C, FA) and most recently Isles of Wonder Sitstart (8C+, FA).
Isles of Wonder Sitstart
Last summer, Aidan Roberts stood under the block for the first time Ogwen Valley in Wales, on which Pete Robins Opened the Isles of Wonder line in 2012. The quality of the rock, the pride of the line, the inevitable physical strength required to utilize the oddly contrasting holds all draw him in. «In the past year I have often thought about doing the sit start version and have also received regular comments. But I was aware that it would be anything but a trivial task,” says the 23-year-old.
Nonetheless, he took up the challenge and returned to Wales this summer with a year of training under his belt. The full line still felt elusive and sophisticated, according to Aidan Roberts. But he's starting to make progress. At the end of July he can piece together all the moves from Isles of Wonder Sitstart (8C+). His conclusion: "The line is a wonderful, rare constellation in which the hardest and the best climbing I've ever done coincide."
Video: Worldclass - The Story of Aidan Roberts' Breakthrough
In ten years to the top of the world
Let's flash back a decade. Aidan Roberts is thirteen when he starts climbing. Since he was enthusiastic about sports from an early age and in the heart of the Lake district Climbing hills and doing gymnastics in trees, climbing felt pretty natural to him. Since he mostly climbs alone, bouldering has become his favorite discipline. Motivation was never a problem for him. "I loved the training from the start." A point that has significantly influenced his career, especially in recent years.
Two years after his climbing debut, he begins competing with the British climbing team. With success: in 2015 he was celebrated as the European Youth Bouldering Champion.
A fall in the French bouldering paradise Fontainebleau, in which Aidan Roberts suffered a serious foot injury, slowed down his career in the meantime. But the youngster will be back soon. "After the surgery, I was able to start exercising again and made significant and much-needed strength gains."
Really strong on real rock
In 2018 he made his debut at the men's Bouldering World Cup. He finishes 19th in Vail. But even in the following year, he never really manages to develop his full potential on the plastic. Different on the rock. In autumn 2019 he will open the 8C boulder in Colorado Railway. at the line in Wild Basin reveals Aidan Roberts' incredible power for the first time. Some of the world's best climbers have attempted to repeat the 8C boulder. To date, however, this is only Matt Fultz succeeded.
Video: Aidan Roberts' first ascent of Railway (8C) in Colorado
In the summer of 2019, Aidan Roberts is not only pulling some outstanding boulders in the Lake District, but opening up a number of difficult lines in the upper eighth French grade in his home country in just six weeks, including Load Powers (8A+), Lady of the Forest (8B), Hathi Jr (8B), copperline (8B+), tranquility (8B+/C), Flip off at the Opera (8B+/C), outliers (8C) and superpowers (8C/+).
Lattice Training recorded his breakthrough to the top in an impressive film. The training forge of Tom randall and Ollie Torr, which has already produced many top athletes, has also taken Aidan Roberts under her wing and thus contributed significantly to his impressive development.
Video: This is how Aidan Roberts trains for 9A boulders
9A-Boulder - A matter of time
In late autumn/winter 2021, the strong Briton will equip Burden of Dreams in Finnish Lappnor a visit. The 9A of Nalle Hukkataival from 2016 is next to Daniel Woods' Return of the Sleepwalker currently still represents the spearhead of what is possible. Numerous climbing professionals have bitten their teeth off. Given Aidan Roberts' impressive ticklist over the past few years, it was only natural that he too would want to try this test piece.
The 23-year-old does not succeed in decoding the boulder. According to Aidan Roberts, the trip felt anything but a failure for him. "The style of this boulder surprised me and revealed many weaknesses that I was previously able to bury under my strengths."
He does not yet have the strength and contact strength to make certain movements reliably. But he is excited about the opportunity to develop further. Given Güllich's quip that sufficient strength is a condition that doesn't exist, it'll be exciting to see what else Aidan Roberts can unleash with Lattice's training experts.
That might interest you
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- The British crack climber Tom Randall in an interview
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Credits: Cover picture Wedge climbing