posted by dpm on 11/12/2012
Dai Koyamada has been in Switzerland again for the prime season. After two days of effort he claimed the 2nd ascent of Martin Keller's new problem in Chironico called Der Mit Dem Fels Tanzt and confirmed Martin's proposed grade of V15. We did a thorough write up with Martin regarding his problem, and the epic battle he underwent to send it last spring, which you can read here.
Dai Koyamada on Der Mit Dem Fels Tanzt (V15). Photo: Dai's blog
Dai's new link, Insanity of Grandeur (V15). Photo: Dai's blog
After Der Mit Dem Fels Tanzt, Dai set to work on another project on the same boulder. From the same start as Der Mit Dem Fels Tanzt, Dai linked up and left into Delusions of Grandeur, an established V13. He dubbed the full line Insanity of Grandeur and proposes V15 for his first ascent. Dai has an extensive Swiss ticklist that includes most of the country's hardest including Dreamtime (V14), The Story of Two Worlds Low (V15/16), Dark Matter (V14/15), From Dirt Grows the Flowers (V15), In Search of Time Lost (V15), Daedalus (V14), Big Paw (V15) and just about every other famous hard problem in the country. But it's possible that Dai Koyamada's most famous first ascent is the Wheel of Life in Australia's Hollow Mountain Cave.
The Wheel of Life was originally proposed at V16 by Dai when he finally linked what is surely the longest "hard" boulder problem in the world. Well, the problem just got a bit longer courtesy of Australian James Kassay. Just over a year ago, James completed the original Wheel of Life after nearly a decade of on and off work. But he immediately wasn't satisfied, writing on his blog: "Is that it for me in the cave??? No way! I may have completed the Wheel of Life but for me that was never the line… The Wheel of Life bails out right at the end of the cave and takes the shorter path. My line of choice will take the direct finish up the highest point of the cave… Will it add another grade? No… It won’t. But it is a harder finish and a more impressive line to take! I hope to get the FA of this in the not too distant future…”
James did get the FA just a few days ago and his new direct line links the problems Extreme Cool, Sleepy Hollow, Cave Man and Dead Can't Dance. As he said before, it doesn't add a grade of difficulty...but does make it harder. Since no one can really agree on a grade for the Wheel of Life anyway, it's fitting to just say that it's the hardest problem in a cave full of hard problems. Well done James. Watch James climb Sleepy Rave (V15) in the Hollow Mountain Cave by clicking the image below.