Italian Laura Rogora is now the second Woman to have ever climbed 9b / 5.15b with "Ali Hulk Sit Extension Total". This comes just two months after climbing her first 9a+ / 5.15a and being one of only five Woman to have climbed that grade or harder.
The descriptively named route in the Ali Baba crag at Rodellar, Spain is an extension of another extension of a route called "Ali Hulk" which was originally a 9a / 5.14d. Dani Andrada put up a couple of sit start and extension variations back in 2007 for a bump to 9a+ / 9b. We reported on Jonathan Flor doing a new "Ali Hulk Extension Total Sit Start" 9b variation and we believe this is the same route.
The route starts in a low cave which at the start is essentially an extremely hard eliminate boulder problem. It then moves up into the rest of the climb. Many who have done this climb and variations start out unroped with mats, but wearing a harness. As they come up from the cave to the main face they'll then clip the harness into a rope with a carabiner.
Laura broke the news on her instagram story and has posted a short video of her clipping the chains. Hopefully the full video of the climb will be up soon as it's an astonishing route that's pushing the boundaries of what we see as sports climbing. Based on this and her last few climbs we can imagine this being a big part of the next Reel Rock. Amazing header photo taken by @mrcmonkey.
Two days ago Laura completed the "Hulk Extension Total" 8c+ / 5.14c in this way, and only yesterday she posted a photo on instagram in the cave set up with the pads and harness - a massive hint at what was to come.
At just 19 years old Laura is pushing the boundaries of climbing on real rock and in indoor competitions. She won her ticket to the Olympics Sports Climbing event back in the IFSC Combined Qualifier in Toulouse and will be representing her country alongside teammate Ludovico Fossali. She also dominated in the IFSC World Championships 2019, taking Gold in Bouldering, Lead, and Combined in the Juniors category.
Laura had only climbed her first 9a+ / 5.15a "Pure Dreaming Plus" at the end of March - becoming the first Italian woman to have climbed the grade. With that she joined the club of just five Women who have climbed 9a+ or harder. Julia Chanourdie, Margo Hayes, and Anak Verhoeven have all climbed 9a+. Angela Eiter was the first Woman to have climbed 9b with "La Planta de Shiva" in October of 2017.