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Daniel Woods Makes First Ascent of The Game (V16)

The North Face global climbing team athlete ascends what may the hardest boulder problem in the world

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SAN LEANDRO, California — February 16, 2010 — The North Face, the world’s premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear, today announced global team athlete Daniel Woods did the first ascent of a longstanding elusive boulder problem on Wednesday, February 10, 2010, in Boulder Canyon, Colorado. Calling it The Game, and grading it a whopping V16, the first of such grades for the U.S., makes it possibly the world’s hardest boulder problem.

For the past two years, Woods has been working on this boulder problem on and off between travels, which has been tried for more than a decade by some of the world’s top climbers including Dave Graham, Tony Lamiche and Paul Robinson, as well as hard-bodied Colorado locals.

“Everybody has been trying this boulder problem and no one could send it,” said fellow The North Face global team climber Cedar Wright, and witness to the first ascent. “Then, Daniel comes along and just crushes it! Watching Daniel climb is about as close as I’ve come to witnessing the defiance of gravity.”

Woods, who feels The Game merits a V16 rating because he believes it is another level compared to other climbs he has done. Before tackling the problem, Woods returned from a trip to Hueco Tanks, Texas, where he repeated Terremer (V15), considered one of the hardest boulder problems in the world. Woods felt The Game was a step above Terremer, and slapped it with a V16.

“V16 is only a number. The more important thing is the progression it meant to myself in my climbing,” said Woods. “It’s cool to feel like I have established a climb that is pushing the limits for the sport of bouldering. Time will tell how hard it [The Game] actually is, but for now I feel like it is a new level boulder problem.”

The Game, which starts in the far back of a cave, is a nearly horizontal roof with extremely glassy, slopey holds. It features huge arm-span moves and involves eight hard movements out of an obvious roof. On the freezing cold day, with snow and ice surrounding the shaded boulder, Woods warmed-up on the middle moves, ripping a key crimp off the roof, resulting in a powerful fall. Now that the crimp had broken, Woods reformulated the sequence, involving a bigger move to a better hold, but a harder swing out. He made the first ascent that same day.

“The holds take the same path and the climbing is more physical, so in the end it turned out to be perfect. I feel The Game became an even better climb after the hold broke,” said Woods. “This definitely was a mental and physical war for me. Now I want to find something harder.”

Three days later, Woods won the American Bouldering Series National Championships in Alexandria, Virginia.

For more than 40 years The North Face has teamed up with the world’s finest mountaineers, alpinists, climbers, skiers, snowboarders and endurance adventurers who have defined the limits of what is humanly possible. The North Face Athlete team works closely with Research, Design & Development, creating innovative designs that push new technologies and inspire cutting-edge products.

For more information on The North Face climber Daniel Woods, and The North Face athlete team, check out

Want to get involved and start climbing? Check PlanetExplore for events and climbing activities close to home.

Interested in the grading of boulder problems? Check our Rockfax at

About The North Face®

The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in San Leandro, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company’s products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.