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Home News Newsflashes Obscurus Sanctus, 8b/+? >>> First Ascent!

Obscurus Sanctus, 8b/+? >>> First Ascent!

Sometimes it all come together: Perfect setting, amazing moves, great features and an awesome line. This is what might be Southern California’s new hardest test piece.

This time, I’ll really keep it short since I explain most is what’s relevant about this problem in the VIDEO.

[Room with a view: Looking down towards Banning from the top of the "Tour Boulder"]

Sooner or later I will post an update about my general activities at Black Mountain, but this one is dedicated exclusively to one of the best problems I have ever done: Obscurus Sanctus!

[Obscurus Sanctus - certainly one of the proudest lines I ever put up!]

Black Mountain is Located near Idyllwild in Southern California. Summer is not exactly the perfect season for bouldering in SoCal, but Black” is located at 7000 feet elevation, so sometimes night sessions are possible even during the hotter months. It was sometimes hard for me to come out during the week because my job at NASA usually requires a fair amount of concentration and I can’t afford to be very tired. However, I would sometimes come home from night sessioning around 3 or 4 a.m.

[Time to get to work. Waiting for cooler night time temps was part of the game.]

[3, 2, 1, lift off! The first of a series of compression/knee drop moves. Pic: Allen Tran]

It is still a mystery to me how people could have missed such perfect line. Maybe nobody believed in the crazy knee drops you have to do, or maybe there was just too much other climbing nearby. Obscurus Sanctus is without doubt among the very best climbs I have ever done. Simply a world class boulder problem!

[Obscurus Sanctus follows the 2 faint parallel cracks from the bottom to about climber's height and then goes left.]

There is one thing I don’t talk about in the VIDEO: the grade. Is it 8b+? Or is it only 8b? Honestly, it’s hard to say. Relative to all the other problems on the “Tour Boulder” (which go up to 8a+) it would have to be 8b+, because it is much harder than everything else. Physically, it doesn’t feel quite this hard, but the grading needs to be consistent within the area, right? In the end, I was just happy I was able to do it, despite the terrible conditions. Whatever the grade may be…

[One will find surprisingly good holds but also hard and technical footwork in Obscurus Sanctus. Pic: Allen Tran]

In my list of first ascents here in California this is by far the most memorable send. Maybe even the most memorable bouldering problem in general.

[The 3rd out of 5 sequential knee drops.]

[Can't get enough of this view. The marine layer is slowly creeping in...]

[...while the temps drop just below 20°C and I sit down to wait for the sending breeze.]


Umfrage: your vision!