posted by dpm on 09/22/2011
This past Tuesday, Joe clipped the chains on his project Bad Girls Club (5.14+) in Rifle, Colorado’s Wicked Cave. This was the third ascent of the climb overall, all of which occurred in just the past month. The first ascent was by Matty Hong and the second by Jonathan Siegrist. But I think all involved will agree that Joe’s story of attachment to the route is the most intriguing.
Last year, Joe and Dave Graham spied the line from the neighboring route The Crew. It seemed to be a barely there line through the chossy looking center section of the cave. Joe went through the proper channels to get a bolting permit and after tons of work cleaning and equipping, began to work on the line. Joe’s vision should be applauded as many people thought the route would be a shattering choss bucket. Instead, it cleaned up into a classic American testpiece. After sussing the moves at the end of last season the snow fall came and Rifle season came to an end. Joe missed the summer season at Rifle this year as work commitments (if you can call them that) had him flying around the world from Europe to South Africa.
The lower portion of the route is very sustained leading to a marginal rest at half-height. All photos: DPM video images
Despite his love for the route, Joe graciously left it as an open project and Matty Hong snagged the first ascent while he was bouldering in South Africa. Upon returning to the states, he immediately returned to the route and got back to work. On his final day of effort, Joe rolled into the canyon with his longtime friend Dave Graham and they worked the route together. His first burn ended with a frustrating fall with the anchors only a few feet above his head. On his second burn, he reached the anchor clipping hold, fumbled the clip with wide eyes, and finally sunk the rope in a climactic finale. Dave had a great burn as well, one hanging the route on his second try this year.
The redpoint crux comes just shy of the anchors.
I had the opportunity to interview Joe about the route and the process and fortunately I was hanging from a rope filming when he clipped the chains, ending a yearlong love affair with ‘his baby.’ Those that have met Joe will tell you that more than anyone; he is emotionally attached to his projects. They become part of his life and he will constantly remind you of this fact by screaming at the crag randomly, “I love this shit!”
It was a real pleasure to watch Joe send this route, one of his hardest to date, and certainly one that he is very proud of. Stay tuned for the interview and video of the ascent on DPM.
Joe at the anchor shouting, "Maxed out! Get me outta heeeeere!"