The Nest: (V15) Boulder Problem Q&A with Jon Glassberg

Jon Glassberg / 8-27-2021


To non-climbing folks, what is The Nest V15?

The Nest is a V15 boulder problem deep in Red Rock National Conservation Area just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. This boulder problem is located in a wash up in Pine Creek Canyon and has been polished by millions of years of water runoff miraculously forming the holds that make this climb just barely possible. Established in 2013 this climb represented the pinnacle of the sport just 8 years ago as one of the hardest boulders in the US. The line consists of 15 very difficult moves that cross from left to right on a giant boulder culminating on a topout above a tree that also serves as a landing for the bouldering pads to be stacked in for protection. The Nest climbs like a route mixed with a boulder problem without ropes on smooth sandstone grips that are just barely possible to hold onto.

Jon at the Nest

How did you prepare and had you tried to climb it previously?

I tried the climb for a day in the Winter of 2020 and I came away from that effort with a good sense of what I would need to do to accomplish this goal, or at least have a good shot at sending it. I spent three months back in boulder training specifically for this ascent with dedicated time in the gym and an intense focus on nutrition, physical therapy, and of course many long nights and early mornings pushing my body through power workouts. A huge factor that contributed to the success on this climb was the global pandemic and the "free time" I had to dedicate to workouts and training specifically for this goal.

Beyond the obvious “getting to the top” what was the leading motivation to come back day after day for the time you were trying The Nest, and how long were you prepared to try for?

My main motivation for this objective was to see if I was capable of climbing V15. This grade didnt even exist in climbing until around 2002 and I had always imagined that, maybe, if I found a V15 that suited me, I would be able to work hard enough to have a shot and I wanted to feel that motivation, I wanted to know what would happen if I gave a climb that hard everything I had. After feeling prepared with my training I set out for Red Rock for a month long trip to lay siege to the objective. I would work on the boulder day-on-day-off so that my skin and body could rest between days. I was fully prepared to put in my month of effort and come back another season and keep throwing myself at the line knowing that I would learn from each session and be able to put that knowledge into another round of training. I think that accepting that I wasn't just going to go crush the project and it might take years helped me relax into the process and just give it my all.

At 8:44 in the film you stick a hold and this was clearly a turning point. Truly Living as we would say. Did you know this was it or had you been in this spot before?

The moment I stuck that last hold on my last day of effort on The Nest, I was confused, surprised, and kind of in disbelief. A goal of mine that I had dreamed about since I first recognized that it might be possible culminated in grabbing that last hold and taking the route to the top. Proving to myself that this was possible for me and realizing that moment in a single latch of a crux hold felt surreal. I topped out the boulder and sat at the summit for a while just soaking it all in, feeling grateful for all the people that supported me on this project and for the circumstances that led to my success being possible.

What’s next and can you put it in context for non-climbers?

What's next for me as a climber is more of the same. I want to find difficult climbing objectives that feel impossible to me and push myself to try to overcome the challenge. I think anyone can relate to that and feel the reward of how hard work can pay off with a big goal and realizing a dream. I am looking forward to finding that feeling again on a new objective that will push me mentally and physically in new ways and the growth that I will feel as a climber but also as a regular person navigating life.

Jon Ambassador Photo


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