posted by dpm on 10/18/2010
Colorado's Rifle Mountain Park saw more hard first ascents this past season than it has since the boom years of development. The system in place requiring prospective first ascentionists to obtain a permit before bolting seems to be running smoothly and bolts were rapid-fired into the cliff at a feverish pace.
Capping the season thus far is Joe Kinder's ascent of Waka Flocka Flame (5.14c) a link up of two different new 5.14's on the Project Wall. The route starts on Waka Flocka (5.14b) and moves right via a V7 boulder problem to finish on Living the Dream (5.14a/b) which is the new extension to Living in Fear (5.13d).
After 15 days of effort Joe was able to link through the boulder problem only to fall at the upper crux. He estimated that the route would be 5.14d and the hardest thing he had ever climbed but just as frustration began to set in...
"It was then I zeroed in once again for some more beta and found the dreadful kneebar. DAMNIT! I popped my knee into this little zone of an overlap and positioned my body correctly and voila …. I was resting. The next day I sent."
Despite the fact that the kneebar lowered the grade to 5.14c this may prove to be the hardest route in the canyon.
I addition to this hard new route, Kinder also bolted and sent a 5.14a to the left of Waka Flocka called Caddy Whompus. Steve Hong established Planet X (5.14b) in the Wicked Cave and Sam Elias put up Rorschach Test (5.14b).
Topping it off for the ladies this season was local Jen Vennon's ascent of The 7 PM TV Show. This was the third female ascent of the route after Mia Axon and Emily Harrington.