Daniel Woods Climbs Black 90 Project at V16

Daniel Woods makes the first ascent of Black 90, a.k.a. “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” at Upper Chaos Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado—his third V16.

By Hayden Carpenter | September 29th, 2016

Daniel Woods bagged the first ascent of Black 90, a.k.a. “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” at Upper Chaos Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado yesterday. He suggested V16 for difficulty—his third boulder problem of the grade.

“This thing turned into a mindfuck battling conditions, altitude, and ups and downs with fitness,” Woods wrote on Instagram. “From day one I could do all the moves and link a few at a time. As days went on links increased. I finally got to the point where I was sure it was in the bag. More days passed and I continued to fail.”

Woods, 27, from nearby Boulder had climbed the boulder problem multiple times from three moves in, but couldn’t nail the send from the start. It became a mental battle for him, with pressure to send before snow locked up the canyon for another season. He worked the boulder problem for 15 days.

“I beat myself up because I know it’s there and overcoming mental disbelief is the most satisfying feeling for me in climbing,” he wrote on Instagram. “I had false confidence in the beginning with this thing, and that is what led me into a war of attrition. Luckily, [I] can just look back at all those failed attempts over the course of 15 days and smile.”

A photo posted by Daniel Woods (@dawoods89) on


“As for how hard this thing is? That is a question that will obviously be thrown around, accepted or bashed,” Woods wrote. “I believe this line is harder than most [V]15s I’ve done so why not call it [V]16. If train is ran on it and consensus calls it 15, then that is all good.”

Woods has climbed 22 V15s in his 22 years of climbing. Of those, 12 were first ascents, including In Search of Time Lost, The Game, Paint It Black and White Noise. In October 2010, he established Hypnotized Minds (V16) in Rocky Mountain National Park and in January 2015, he established The Process (V16) on the Grandpa Peabody boulder in Bishop, California. This March, he sent Chris Sharma’s Papichulo in Oliana, Spain, his fourth 5.15a. He is one of the few climbers to have sent both 5.15 and V15.

If the grade sticks, Black 90 will be his third V16, next to Hypnotized Minds and The Process.

“[Dave Graham]and I have talked a lot about the progression of grades and try to understand what would make something [V]16,” Woods wrote. “We are left dumbfounded to realize that the same level in bouldering has maintained from Fred Nicole, Bernd Zangerl, and Klem Loskot a decade ago until now.

“We can either acknowledge what is a level up from the standard of [V]15 (based off of consensus over the years) or continue climbing V15 for another decade.”


Watch Daniel Woods work the project:


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Daniel Woods V15 FA Spray of Light, Rocklands

Daniel Woods Sends Papichulo (5.15a) in Oliana, Spain

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