shawn raboutou v17
Shawn Raboutou on "F*ck the System," V16, in Fionnay, Switzerland; (photo/screen capture courtesy EpicTV)

World’s Third V17? Shawn Raboutou Thinks So With ‘Alphane’

The V17 club may have its third all-time member: the United States’ Shawn Raboutou.

Three boulder problems ever climbed on the face of the earth crack the V17/9A threshold. Before today, that number was only two.

Around 2 p.m. Eastern time, Shawn Raboutou reported the first ascent of “Alphane,” V17, in Fionnay, Switzerland. The rig joins the ranks aside Nalle Hukkataival’s “Burden of Dreams” and Daniel Woods’ “Return of the Sleepwalker” in bouldering’s highest echelon.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Shawn Raboutou (@shawnraboutou)

Rumors about the climb began to swirl in June after the 24-year-old Raboutou started reposting about an old first ascent in Fionnay on Instagram. “F*ck the System” checked in at V16 and extended an old Dave Graham V13 line.

Why was Raboutou posting about it now, a year behind the news he made himself? Now, it appears that the climbing world has its answer.

There’s nothing to know about “Alphane” yet, other than that Raboutou climbed it and deemed it worthy of the world’s highest V-grade. Jimmy Webb and the Mellow Climbing crew are sure to drop a video edit of the boss rig soon.

It took almost 6 years for boulderers to add two climbs at the V17 grade. The world’s first V17, “Burden of Dreams,” established in 2016, covers just eight moves.

“Return of the Sleepwalker,” finished in 2021, is longer and more complicated and drove Woods to the mental and emotional brink.

Meanwhile, some have suggested the grade on new blocs they’ve opened, only to see subsequent climbers strike it down. Whatever toll “Alphane” exacted on Raboutou, we hope to find out soon.

shawn raboutou
Uncut: Watch Shawn Raboutou Climb Crazy New V16 Roof
The 'Story of 3 Worlds'? For Shawn Raboutou, there's just one world: the one where he crushes climbs. Read more…

Sam Anderson
By

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.