17-meter highball first climbed: Sean Bailey climbs Devilution (8C+)

Sean Bailey makes the first ascent of Devilution (8C+) on the infamous Grandpa Peabody Boulder in the Buttermilks. With the deeper start of Jason Kehl's Highball Evilution (8A+), the 27-year-old American is solving a long-term project in the well-known bouldering area near Bishop.

Hardly any other area in the world is as exemplary of highball bouldering as this buttermilks. Jason Kehl created a real test piece in the area in 2002 with his impressive first ascent of Evilution (8A+) at 17 meters high Grandpa Peabody Boulder. Right there has Sean bailey the yardstick with Deviation (8C+) has now been set even higher.

The American climbing professional added two tough moves to Kehl's line. Unlike Kehl on his first ascent in 2002, Bailey followed Evilution Direct in the lower section up to the lip. As its name suggests, this leads in a direct line through the 45 degree overhang.

Rectangle_Knatsch in Magic Wood

If you're wondering how two additional moves can turn an 8A+ boulder into an 8C+ boulder, you'll find an answer in the Testpiece Climbing Podcast. There, Sean Bailey explained that the first hard crusade required a lot of physical tension, as both feet came off the wall.

«If you do the second move in isolation, it's not as hard. But catching the Gaston Crimp from below well enough to be able to pull further is the crux. And that makes the second move the key point of the entire boulder.”

Of course, with a total height of 17 meters, sooner or later the psychological aspect also comes into play. The fact that Sean Bailey seems to be coping quite well with this is confirmed by other impressive ascents such as Lucid Dreaming (8C), Specter (8B) and Mandala Sit (8B+), which he recently achieved.

Video: Jason Kehl on the first ascent of Evilution

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Credits: Cover picture John Kasaian

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