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V16? Will Bosi Thinks So With First Ascent of ‘Honey Badger’

will bosi honey badgerWill Bosi on 'Honey Badger,' 8C+/V16; (photo/Sam Pratt, Band of Birds)
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The only climber we’ve ever seen leave Adam Ondra speechless just climbed his ‘hardest ever’ boulder problem. The big, intimidating rig did not go down without a fight.

If you thought Will Bosi’s primary characteristic was his (vast) physical strength, think again. The days when people thought bouldering was an affair between EDM-obsessed teenagers and very small rocks has been over for a while, but Bosi’s mastery of the cerebral, sometimes harrowing, discipline is now growing fast.

“Honey Badger” checks in as the first V16 (8C+) in the Peak District. Bosi sent the rig on August 7. The wildly steep, highly sustained climb links desperate crimps and downward-facing pinches through and out of an impressive cave in Badger Cove.

The climb yawns out from the very back of the cave, taking long moves first. Bosi said it gets right down to business; the first few moves in the nearly horizontal roof clock in around V14-V15 (8c).

In the YouTube send edit, the young Scotsman acknowledges that the climbing’s hard — but he also evaluates the ghastly holds as “OK.”

will bosi honey badger
An “OK” hold, according to Will Bosi; (photo/screen capture courtesy Bosi)

“The climbing is super powerful, and although the holds are relatively okay-sized at this point, the moves are really difficult due to how steep it is,” he says in the clip.

What’s less obvious is the technical aspect of the boulder problem Bosi goes on to describe. You can be as strong as he is (which is filthily, abominably strong), but you still can’t thug your way through an engagement like “Honey Badger.”

Its technically prohibitive character led Bosi to work on it for weeks, dialing deep drop knees, timing-dependent bumps, and finicky finger stacks in pockets.

On the day of the send, it all came together — until a piece of the boulder problem itself came apart.


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A post shared by William Bosi (@will_bosi)

“I managed to fight through the pockets, [and] I just stuck the next move, and just stuck the move after that,” he recalls in the video. “And basically, for the next five moves in a row, I thought I was falling off and just somehow stayed on.”

Stay tuned for the heady, 20-or-so-foot top out. The limestone gets ever more brittle as Bosi approaches the lip, and he whispers to himself while breathing heavily — and climbing noticeably more stiffly than usual.

Whatever Will Bosi’s got in mind next, you’ll want to keep track of it. Watching him on rock, you get the feeling he’s nowhere near his personal ceiling.

“It felt harder than everything else I’ve done,” he says after the send. Watch out, V17.

Who's the Rope Gun? Watch Ondra Belay Bosi on an Unrepeated Climb

Do I feel a bromance coming on? Two of the world’s strongest climbers can’t seem to get enough of each other. Read more…

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