posted by dpm on 08/23/2012
Seattle-based climber Audrey Sniezek has climbed her first 5.14a, Dr. Evil at Little Si. A little more than a year ago, Audrey was clipping the chains on Porn Star (5.13d) at Little Si, her first of that grade. At that time, she was suffering from a shoulder injury that had her under the knife by Thanksgiving. It wasn't until June that she felt recovered from the surgery and ready to get back at it. Just three months later, she sent her hardest route. Audrey noted on her 8a.nu scorecard that this was her most cryptic climb to unlock and a fitting celebration of her 20th year in the climbing game. This was the route's first female ascent.
Audrey cruising the easier upper stretch of Dr. Evil (5.14a). Photo: Bryan Moncada/Audrey's Facebook athlete page
Dr. Evil starts on the popular crag classic Chronic (5.13b) but steps right at the third bolt directly into a sustained and technical 5.13- section on very small crimps. At the 6th bolt a powerful backhand move gains a roof and a poor shake on underclings before the crux. The crux above the roof consists of big moves on the Little Si(depulls) and gastons that the area is known for . Keeping it together through the sustained climbing after the technical crux is the redpoint crux and rounds out the classic character of this excellent route.
Just a day or two before she sent, I watched Audrey hike through the lower part of the climb and ace the crux only to fall off in the sustained section leading to the rest. It was apparent that she would only need another day to send the rig. The send couldn't have come at a better time either; in just a few days Audrey is on her way to the Red River Gorge for the fall season and is climbing better than ever.