Psicobloc Sends for Kruder Siblings, Jernej and Julija, in Mallorca
Julija made what’s likely the hardest ever female DWS ascent, and Jernej added a couple of new difficult and dynamic lines to the coastline.
Seven consecutive times, Julija Kruder, 20, climbed 13 meters above the water, and seven times she fell into the rumbling waves below. But the eighth time she hung on: After shaking out on jugs at 10 meters, she crimped her way through the six-move crux and punched it a final three meters to the top of the cliff to send Weatherman (8a+/5.13c), a deep water solo classic in Mallorca, Spain.
Though she is not certain, Julija believes it to be the hardest DWS ever done by a woman. “I googled a lot of strong female climbers that DWS, but I couldn’t find any girls climbing that hard,” Julija, who is from Slovenia, told Rock and Ice in a phone call. She had just come from a several week trip to Mallorca with her brother, Jernej Kruder, the 2018 IFSC Bouldering World Cup season champ.
Julija’s quick siege of Weatherman is all the more impressive because of how new she is to the discipline. She had deep water soloed only twice previously, both times in competition. At her first comp, in Corona, Spain, in June 2018, she won gold, and at the second, in Bilbao, Spain, just last month, she won bronze.
“I was really scared the first time I tried it,” she said. “But after a few tries I lost all my fear and just loved it.”
Mallorca was a whole new ball game. “You hear the waves hitting the shore. The first few tries were really scary. Comps feel safer because you have all the rescuers and medicine there, but in Mallorca you don’t.” But, just like the comps, once she adjusted to the newness of it she was hooked: “Soon I got the feeling for it and it just felt so good.”
Julija didn’t have any lofty expectations for Mallorca, but came out of the gate with a bang. On her first day she onsighted a 7c [5.12d]. A few days later she tested the waters with Weatherman. First climbed by Chris Sharma, it is an ultra-classic for those with the abilities and bravery necessary to climb it. It tops out at 18 meters.
After sending Weatherman, she decided to try another area classic: Klem Loskot’s Two Smoking Barrels. The Mountain Project page calls it “the route that put deep water soloing (and Mallorca) on the map.” While also 8a+, Barrels features a big dyno 12 meters up. Julija tried the route for a few days, and though she didn’t finish it, felt she was “really close.”
“I think I’ll go back someday for sure,” she said.
Julija’s affinity for deep water soloing is something that runs in the Kruder family. Her brother, Jernej, has made multiple trips to Mallorca to work on his own projects. He made the second ascent of Chris Sharma’s Es Pontas—likely the hardest deep water solo in the world—in 2016.
On this sibling trip, Jernej turned his attention to Alasha, another major project Sharma established a decade after Es Pontas. The crux comes 60 feet up. Unfortunately, conditions weren’t in Jernej’s favor. “It was wet, so I couldn’t climb it,” he told Rock and Ice. (Julija simply passed the phone to Jernej who was sitting next to her in the car on their ride from the airport after landing in Slovenia.)
Instead, Kruder focused his energies on finding his own, new ways up the sea cliffs.
First he did a new variation to Weatherman. The climb, which he named Salty Beverage, adds a new direct exit to the original and bumps the grade up to 8b (5.13d) or 8b+ (5.14a).
His hardest climb of the trip though was his first ascent of Animal Magnetism, which he graded 8b+. “It was this long-standing project,” Jernej said. “You can see Klem Loskot working on it in one of the Dosage movies.”
Animal Magnetism has two huge dynos in it, something which Jernej said “really suits my style.” He worked the moves on a rope after rapping in before going for the ropeless redpoint. “I think it’s one of the hardest on the east side of the island,” he said.
Jernej intends to return at some point to give Alasha a proper try. So both Jernej and Julija have unfinished business in Mallorca; perhaps we’ll see another Kruder sibling DWS trip sooner rather than later.
Watch Jernej Kruder on the second ascent of Chris Sharma’s Es Pontas
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