Yes that’s right. Charles Albert doesn’t wear climbing shoes but has just topped out a boulder he proposes as being 9A or V17, which would be only the second grade at that level in the world if it is confirmed by others. Could this be the hard bouldering problem in Fontainebleau and worldwide?
Grimper – a French climbing magazine – broke the news in it’s latest issue. Google translation here. The problem is titled “No Kpote Only” after the graffiti on the wall on the old bivoauc at the Rocher Brûlé area. You can see an older attempt in November in the video below when it was a project. Note the lack of pads near the end. Charles has said in previous interviews that “I like to climb with that fear of the fall, so I only use a crashpad when it’s really necessary”.
Charles has put up multiple 8C problems, most recently also an extension to one of his 8C’s to create 8C+ La Révolutionnaire in Font. Known as barefoot Mowgli, he lives near Font and was introduced to bouldering and climbing by his parents.
The only only 9A in the world is “Burden of Dreams”, put up by Nalle Hukkataival in October 2016. Watch a great background video to the ascent of Burden below. It has still only been climbed once by Nalle so is yet to have confirmation of the difficulty. Hopefully as Fontainebleau is a bouldering mecca, we’ll get a repeat sooner rather than later, and maybe the first confirmed repeated 9A – aka the hardest bouldering problem in the world.