Chinese Arithmetic

posted by dpm on 04/25/2009

Daniel Woods made an impromptu visit to the southern college town of Knoxville, TN last week. Although he was not able to score tickets to a coveted University of Tennessee Volunteer football game, he did manage to sample some southern sandstone.

Lily Boulders, a small cluster of boulders located in the Obed River Gorge, about an hour from Knoxville, is home to a handful of James Litz's problems that have gone unrepeated for many years.

One such problem, Chinese Arithmetic, a V13/14, has thwarted all suitors, which only helped perpetuate the Litz legend.

Jon Glassberg, an incredible talented climber hailing from Boone, had this to say about Chinese Arithmetic after a recent trip to Lilly:

"Let me first start out by saying that James Litz is a monster and by monster I mean he can hold onto holds I cant, with ease. The problems he established on the cliff line boulders of Lilly are very impressive and very hard. The legend of Chinese Arithmetic is true and that problem is far and away the hardest problem I have seen in a long time, possibly ever. The problem is conservatively graded 8B (V13) but seems significantly harder, let me paint the picture for you: The problem starts off under a giant roof and under that roof there is a small slot that you can slide your body into about 2.5 feet off the ground and about 5 feet deep. The problem starts at the back of that coffin and makes 2 or 3 very improbable moves to the start of the large overhang. Just keeping your body off the ground is hard enough much less making moves on bad holds at a complete horizontal, but that isn't even the business. From there, one big moves gets you to a descent 1/4 pad edge for your left hand and essentially nothing for your right and you have to make 3 or so moves on 1/8 pad edges on a 40 degree roof to a jug at around 9 feet." -excerpt from Jon's Blog

Daniel on Testify  Dan Lubbers Photography

Daniel Woods decided to try his hand at Chinese Arithmetic and see if this line held up to their mythical status. He made his visit to Lilly Boulders around 2am while the boulders were cloaked in darkness and blessed with the cooler temps. Four attempts later, Daniel solved the equation, making the second ascent of legendary Litz problem. On the same visit, Woods completed another Litz testpiece, Testify, V12, in a couple of tries. Stay tuned for an exclusive video of Daniel sending Chinese Arithmetic on DPM's HDTV.