posted by dpm on 09/19/2011
I know, you’re probably tired of hearing about Rifle, Colorado. But with many of America’s top climbers enjoying the prime conditions, notable ascents are going down almost daily. This time it’s Jen Vennon who has just pulled off possibly the most impressive ascent of the season.
This past Saturday, I awoke to the sound of a torrential downpour. My thermometer said 48 degrees. Like many climbers I headed for town. Weaving slowly down the muddy road through the canyon, I noticed a few hardcore climbers huddled under overhangs, drinking coffee in down jackets. “Good luck,” I thought. One of those climbers was local hardwoman Jen Vennon who was not deterred by the harsh conditions. Later that night, via Facebook, I heard that she had sent her project, Stockboy’s Revenge (5.14b/c).
Stockboy’s Revenge is located in the Bauhaus, a massive amphitheater of tiered ceilings and overhanging corners. First bolted and sent in 2005 by Andy Raether, the line was touted as the hardest in Rifle and given the grade of 5.14c. Since then the route has been repeated by a list of people that reads like a ‘who’s who’ of hard American sport climbing: Dave Graham, Jon Carwell, Joe Kinder, Justen Sjong, Danny Robertson, Daniel Woods, Sam Elias, and others. As with nearly every Rifle rock climb, it takes a while for the grade to settle in. One tricky new-found kneebar can turn a crux move into a rest and Stockboy’s has been no exception with many repeaters suggesting 5.14b. One thing everyone can agree on though is that Stockboy’s is hard and firmly planted in the 5.14 realm.
Jen is no stranger to hard Rifle climbing having repeated The 7 PM Show (5.14a) last year and 5.13d’s like Living in Fear, Simply Read and Huge. This ascent was her hardest to date and, to the best of my knowledge, the hardest female ascent in Rifle history. Follow Jen on her blog where she’ll certainly post her own thoughts on the route in the coming days.