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With Send of ‘Alphane,’ Aidan Roberts Nabs First-Ever V17 Repeat

aidan roberts alphaneBritish climber Aidan Roberts sent V17 boulder route "Alphane" this week; (photo/Samm Pratt)
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The world’s third V17 boulder problem now has a second graduate, with the young Brit calling his send an ‘amazing experience.’

At 24, Aidan Roberts just became the fourth climber in the world to successfully send a V17 boulder problem.

In a stoke-filled Instagram post, Roberts described a joyful process for ticking off “Alphane,” established by Shawn Raboutou in Fionnay, Switzerland, in August.

Only three V17 problems exist in the world, and each of them remained an unrepeated first ascent — until now. With his send of “Alphane,” Roberts has become the first climber to repeat the hardest bouldering grade in the land. He called the experience “a pleasure.”

“This one was a pretty amazing experience to live,” Roberts wrote. “As with almost all of climbing, that one attempt where all the factors fall into place, that moment of flow where moves feel effortlessly, when time feels irrelevant — it makes up but a negligible fraction of our experience. And yet this attempt often holds all of the power over our stories of success.”

Though Roberts didn’t explicitly discuss the route’s grade, his post begins with a simple but significant title: “Alphane 9a.”


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Una publicación compartida por Aidan Roberts (@aidan.roberts98)

Roberts’ Swift Ascent to the Top

Those following Roberts’ career won’t be too surprised that he broke the highest barrier in bouldering.

In just the last 2 years, he scooped up an impressive collection of mega-hard sends from V14 to V16. More impressive, many of those elite-level climbs were first ascents. Examples include “Leopold von Pooch” (V15), “Silent Singer” (V15), and “Isles of Wonder sit start” (V16).

In 2021, Roberts made the pilgrimage to Finland to try Nalle Hukkataival’s “Burden of Dreams,” the world’s first — and still unrepeated — V17. (Daniel Woods also claimed a V17 boulder last year with “Return of the Sleepwalker” in Red Rock, Nev.)

Like every other climber that has tried Hukkataival’s route, Roberts went home without a send.

“The style of ‘Burden of Dreams’ surprised me and revealed many weaknesses that I was previously able to bury under my strengths,” Roberts told La Crux.

Working with “Alphane” sounded like a very different experience for Roberts. On his Instagram page, Roberts said he has “nothing but positive memories surrounding this climb.”

In the above video for Lattice Training, he describes the magical moment — familiar to many top climbers — when everything comes together for a next-level send.

“Part of me almost expected it would be like a fight to the living end on the boulder, you know?” Roberts says.

“But I think the nature of something quite hard, you have to climb it so well … Nothing felt like it was that hard. Then I got to the break-rest and didn’t rest — just kept going … Wow, that just happened. So, still a bit of disbelief right now.”

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