posted by dpm on 01/07/2013
Daniel Woods has claimed the 3rd ascent of Witness the Fitness in Arkansas' Ozark mountains. The problem was made famous by the awesome footage of Chris Sharma on the first ascent in the movie Dosage Vol. 3. He crawled out the long, low roof like a fly, grabbing onto little mushroom-shaped nubbins that hung from the ceiling like little squished stalactites. Halfway out, he grabbed a tiny undercling over his head, then cut loose and dove into another undercling, his body swinging and twisting. Sharma's trademark scream filled the cave and sprang from our TV sets. It looked so rad that crashpad sales probably skyrocketed.
The next year, Fred Nicole spent the month of October in Arkansas. For much of that time, Witness the Fitness remained wet. He chose to climb on it only on the driest days to prevent breaking the very soft sandstone holds. Despite his cautious efforts, he broke a hold (not the crux) and had to rework a new sequence. Then he broke another hold. Fred's trip ended with no send and he flew back to Switzerland. Unable to get the problem out of his head, just one month later, in December 2006, he flew back and claimed the 2nd ascent.
Since that time, the problem gained a mythical aura. Rumors of more broken holds made it sound potentially unclimbable. In addition, the problem lies somewhat off by itself requiring a focused trip to the cave to check it out. Before Daniel Woods, Paul Robinson, and Jimmy Webb left for their Arkansas mission, they had already determined the primary objective. On the first day, they figured out the crux which required completely different beta than the undercling dyno Chris used. On the third day, Daniel linked the whole line for the third ascent. He suggested "solid V15" for the problem. Rest assured, there is footage of Daniel's ascent and we'll post it up when it's available.
All three climbers also sent a new V13 of a similar style in a cave close by. Daniel got the first ascent and named it Child's Play. Daniel also managed the 2nd ascent of another Chris Sharma problem, the Full Package (V13/14) which was also featured in Dosage 3. Before leaving, Paul Robinson snagged a repeat of Wood Grain Grippin' (V14) which has also gotten harder due to broken holds.
Paul Robinson on Wood Grain Grippin' (V14). Photo: Paul's Facebook
Update: Daniel Woods just posted a thorough write-up on Witness the Fitness on his Facebook athlete page. There was already speculation floating around that the trio trespassed on private property to access WTF and Child's Play which is not true. They received permission from the landowner before trying these problems. Daniel states: "Witness the Fitness is also on private property. We were able to get permission from the land owner to try it. That being said, respect his property and ask before trying." Read Daniel's write-up on Facebook by clicking here or on the image below.