posted by dpm on 08/07/2012
With the support of his dad, Jonathan Siegrist has claimed the 2nd ascent of The Honeymoon is Over (5.13c) on the Diamond of Long's Peak, Colorado. The route was originally an aid line but was freed by Tommy Caldwell in 2001. Topping out at an elevation of over 14,000 feet, with multiple 5.13 pitches , the Honeymoon requires expert level stamina.
Siegrist in front of the Diamond face of 14,000 foot Long's Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. All photos: Jstarinorbit.com
Siegrist's early efforts at working the route were hampered by runoff that created some wet pitches. In his first blog post about the route he wrote, "I've spent many long days up on Longs, 8 (I think) to be more precise. Some were just acclimation days, others hauling loads and a few rapping in from the top of the Diamond to mini-traction, clean and suss the Honeymoon. I've really fallen in love with the route, and since I first began my journey with the climb I've been thinking about it and planning ahead non-stop."
It's worth reading Jonathan's full, detailed account of the final push to send the route. You'd think that for a 5.14d climber like Jonathan, a few pitches of 5.13- in a row would be nothing more than a warm-up. But the altitude plays a huge role and Siegrist had to dig deep for the send.
"I could definitely feel fatigue setting in, having climbed 7 pitches above 13,000 feet and three 5.13 pitches above 13,500. 'It's a whole different game up here, I kept saying to myself as I trained and sussed the Honeymoon in the previous weeks. Recovery is dramatically inhibited, and every action seemingly takes 10x more energy, but regardless, at this point I was sitting right where I wanted to."
Jonathan writes about fumbling on the final 5.13 pitch and taking a massive whipper. "My Dad lowered me to the belay, and I tried to gather myself. I felt like I could puke, and then fall asleep in my harness. At this point we were nearing 14,000 feet and I was not certain as to whether or not I would have the energy to repeat this entire pitch. I rested and rested. Shoved some food down my throat despite our lack of water and my complete lack of hunger. Deep breaths, I pulled the rope and tied in. I set off. Recovering at every possible stop, I was breathing heavily from the beginning. Edging my way through the first crux I rested where I could afterwards. I paced myself as well as I could, moving through sections and smearing my feet trying to convince myself that this was the first pitch of the day. As I neared the top I clipped that bolt I skipped before, and nailed the last hard move. I was very excited. Just one pitch of mid .12 was between me and the very top of the Diamond."
Jonathan's story of success is a great read made better by his comments about enjoying the route with his dad. "My Dad really busted his ass on Sunday (and the previous weeks for that matter) to help me accomplish this goal, and it really meant a lot to me to see him jug over the lip of the Diamond, smile wide and proclaim, 'I love this shit!' He's been an integral part of my climbing life and many of my biggest victories. I'm really happy that he was there to share one of my best days -- Thanks Dad."
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Team Siegrist on top of the Diamond.