“I personally felt that ‘Honey Badger’ (V16) was more of a challenge for me.”
Will Bosi, 23, from Edinburgh, has claimed the third ascent of Alphane in Ticino, Switzerland. Repeated just a few weeks ago by Aidan Roberts, the boulder just might be the sixth in the world to carry the V17 grade. But Bosi was reluctant to affirm the difficulty.
“In terms of a grade, I personally felt that Honey Badger (V16) was more of a challenge for me and proposing a grade for that at the time was daunting, as it was my first V16,” he says. “At the cutting edge of climbing, grading feels so much more difficult as the margins are that much finer and personal strengths and preferences really come into play. Is it V17? Honestly, I do not know, and as I gain more experience of climbing around this grade range I may have a better view.”
Alphane was established by Shawn Raboutou earlier this year. Working it alongside Raboutou were Daniel Woods and Jimmy Webb. Although only Raboutou managed to finish the line, all three felt V17 was likely accurate. Woods told Climbing, “We kind of helped Shawn be like, ‘Hey, this thing is actually really hard. It’s the next level. And if you do call it V17, I think that’s correct.’”
Other proposed—although unrepeated—V17 boulders are Nalle Hukkataival’s Burden of Dreams in Lappnor, Finland, Woods’ Return of the Sleepwalker at Red Rocks, and Raboutou’s unofficial Megatron, which he has yet to publicly confirm. Charles Albert’s No Kpote Only and Simon Lorenzi’s Soudain Seul have since been downgraded to V16 (or even V15), though the latter remains in debate.
In total, Bosi worked Alphane 10 sessions this year and two last. He had good company—Raboutou was there last year and, this year, he worked the line with Roberts. Despite the unseasonably hot and humid weather, Bosi says the communal energy kept his motivation afloat. “The crew out here managed to keep the psyche really high and the problem came together quickly,” he says. “The moves on this line are so good and after a lot of time on the wall, I was really happy to claim the third ascent!”
Alphane tops Bosi’s impressive 2022 ticklist: in August he FAed Honey Badger, in the UK’s Peak District. In 2022 alone, he’s put down 10 V15 boulders. Bosi only began focusing on the outdoors last year in October, following the World Championships in Moscow, where he placed 11th. He’s previously put years in on the international circuit, placing as high as fourth in two Lead World Cups in 2019. Oh, and last year he ticked King Capella (5.15b), at Siurana, Spain.
Bosi is looking forward to more training and trips, possibly to Arco and, next year, the U.S. He says Alphane is a fantastic line, and he “looks forward to seeing more experienced climbers comment on where the grade sits.”