Climbing highball – a bouldering route high above the ground – requires a huge amount of courage and precision to accomplish.
But these climbers have that in spades and have already ticked off a number of highballs. Next up they will be competing at Red Bull 5 Blocks, held in Silvapark, Galtür, in Austria, where they will tackle five of these climbs.
See them complete what they consider the most amazing highballs below.
Rustam Gelmanov “highballing” in Krasnoyarsk
Who: Rustam Gelmanov
Where: Krasnoyarsk, Siberia
Why it is cool: Rustam says: "The rocks in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, are for me like a piece of art – beautiful and unique.”
Alex Megos working hard on Lucid Dreaming
Who: Alex Megos
Where: Lucid Dreaming, Buttermilks, California
Why it is cool: Alex says: "Lucid Dreaming was very special for me, not because of the height of the boulders but because of the three moves that cost me 11 full days – that was a personal thing!”
Ned Feehally climbs Careless Torque
Who: Ned Feehally
Where: Careless Torque, Peak District, UK
Why it is cool: "Careless Torque is my favourite spot in England – the line, the moves, the height, the location and the history make it the best problem I have finished,” says Ned.
Niccolò Ceria in the Rocklands
Who: Niccolò "Niky" Ceria
Where: Shosholoza, Rocklands, South Africa
Why it is cool: Niccolò says: "I think there are some boulder problems that you simply must complete. Beauty, history and, of course, the difficulty. For me, Shosholoza in the Rocklands in Africa has all that."
Sachi Amma on top of “Center Direct”
Who: Sachi Amma
Where: Center Direct, Buttermilks, California
Why it is cool: "Center Direct V14 is quite intimidating because of its height, and I've never climbed such a mighty highball. The tension was enormous – quite unlike leading, where I feel most comfortable,” says Sachi.
Bernd Zangerl on 29 Dots
Who: Bernd Zangerl
Where: 29 Dots, Val Noasca, Italy
Why it is cool: Bernd says: "I made the decision to climb this highball after much thought – I grabbed two crashpads, took a deep breath, and a short time later I had managed the first ascent of 29 Dots. The toughest chunk of my career, which I am very proud of."
The first ascent of Kingda Ka
Who: Giuliano Cameroni
Where: Kingda Ka, Gotthardpass, Switzerland
Why it is cool: Giuliano says: “Important for me is 'Kingda Ka' 8A+ at the Gotthard Pass – the small holds have their quirks."