The Wizard sends again – Dave Graham FAs 8C+ in Bavona

dave graham on celestine
Share This Post

Table of Contents

Starting with zero expectations and tons of patience, Dave “The Wizard” Graham achieved the first ascent of Celestite (8C+) in Valle Bovona, Switzerland. At 41 years old, Graham is still up and rocking, having finished this majestic climb after only three sessions.  Although he was familiar with the project, he brought a twist regarding the approach, looking at the boulder from different perspectives. Ultimately, the new school kneebar technique, which he worked on improving over the last few years seemed to be the answer to unlocking this problem.

Found next to Jimmy Webb’s La Rustica (8C), Celestite is a problem that requires strong technique featuring upside-down kneebars and precise hand matches while having the delicacy of a surgeon.

This route can be split into two major sections, an 8A+ kneebar section, which then progresses to an 8B+ section that includes a powerful roof pull to a very high slab, making this one of the hardest boulders he’s climbed.

Dave’s latest feat of strength has been filmed and released in a new Mellow video which, in only eleven days, scored over 50k views and can be seen lower down.

Starting climbing in the flatlands of Maine at the age of 16, Dave made a quick ascent into the hard climb scene. Just one year after starting rock climbing he had already done his first 8b+ (5.14a) route, The Present at the Gorilla Hills in Utah. Other of his early notable ascents were First ascents of China Beach (8c), The Fly (9a) and the flash climb of the C’etait Demain (8A) boulder problem, all of these in 2000, only three years after he started rock climbing.

The Wizard is known for his smooth taste in establishing hard climbing routes as well as beautiful boulder problems. Maybe his most famous problem, Alphane (9A) was established in the early 2000’s and FAd only in 2022 by Shawn Raboutou.

Graham has developed a love for the boulders of Switzerland especially those found in the Magic Forest area. These are the places where he put up mega-classics From Dirt Grows Flowers (8C) and, The Story of Two Worlds (8C). 

Celestine is not Dave’s first ride on the 8C+ train. His first boulder problem of this grade was Daniel Woods’s The Creature from the Black Lagoon in 2016, followed by Hypnotized Minds in 2019.  Last year he sent two more test pieces, Fuck the System (8C+) and Euclase (8C+), which also was a first ascent.

Featured image: @dave_graham_

Featured image: @dave_graham_

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More To Explore

Mockup - Book - tall

Get Smarter About Climbing

Join our 5 minute weekly newsletter and get our Introduction to Climbing ebook for FREE

Mockup - Book - horizontal

Get Smarter About Climbing

Join our 5 minute weekly newsletter and get our Introduction to Climbing ebook for FREE