Nalle Hukkataival chalked his hands about a dozen times—like he always does when he’s nervous. He sat down and grabbed the starting rail on the steep orange and gray boulder, then made a gaston out right, locked-off, and fell into a pinch above with his left hand.
For the last month, Hukkataival had dedicated himself to this Grampians project. The day before hadn’t gone well for Hukkataival and with only one more day left in Australia, “All expectations were finally out the window and it was down to one last-ditch effort,” he wrote on Instagram.
“The sun was dipping down behind the horizon, painting the rock red. This would be my last try.”
He climbed in “total autopilot,” he wrote, and, “A series of screams of surprise and relief lead to the sight of my right hand grabbing onto the finishing hold!
“Right there, standing on top of that boulder, watching the bright orange sunset could be the most memorable climbing experience of my life!”
Hukkataival’s new boulder problem, which he named The Stepping Stone, is “somewhere around V15,” he wrote. “Who even knows with the upper numbers anymore. Surely one of the very best lines I’ve ever opened.”
Wasting no time, Hukkataival is heading home to Finland today to get back on his three-year Lappnor project.
“Looking forward, I couldn't have asked for a better trainer for the Lappnor project!” wrote Hukkataival. “Let's see if this was the extra kick I needed to finally get the Lappnor project done! Amazing times in Australia!! SWOOOPPP!!!”
Watch Nalle Hukkatival Projecting The Stepping Stone (V15):