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Leslie Timms Claims First Ascent at Lion's Head

posted by dpm on 09/13/2013

Leslie Timms, along with Dave Ziewlenewski, have completed the first ascent of an incredible-looking new route at Lion's Head, Canada. The first ascent of their 45-meter climb has been two months in the making. Timm's writes on her blog: "For years I have walked by this massive king line at Lion's Head and wondered why it hadn't gone yet. I'd asked around about it and learned that it was once aided years and years ago by John Kandoorp, and it apparently took him days to get to the top. This left me very intrigued.

The first 30m is a jaw dropping overhanging crack, the definite meat and potatoes of the route. The entire line is over 45m, and the final third needed bolts. We decided to add anchors to the top of the pure crack line."

The new route climbs the crack system that jogs up and right near the top. Photo: Leslie's Blog

Timms snagged the first ascent of the traditionally protected crack portion in mid-August naming it Stratus Fear (5.12d). She and Dave returned shortly after and, after a great deal of decision making, equipped the remaining 15-meter extension to the top of the cliff. Regarding one of her first lead attempts, Timms writes, "I cruised Stratus Fear and fought through the upper headwall, sticking the final crux move. I extended the crux draw too long and was unable to reach down and clip it. Finally I got it in, but it was a fatal error as I pumped out on the grandma move just below the final roof. I was completely heartbroken, I never thought I could fall there."

But with valuable lessons learned, and fickle weather threatening to end the season, Timms returned yesterday to send the full line. She writes, "When I started up the route I somehow knew that it would be my last trip on the this wild climb. I soaked in the rests and the views, I embraced each move, I enjoyed the ride. When I pulled the final lip, I got to live that moment that I dreamed about all summer... I screamed from the top of my lungs into the amphitheater below me, my cheers bounced off the walls below, echoing into the distance."

She named her new route Above the Clouds (5.13a) and regards it as "one of the last untouched 'Queen lines' of Lion's Head" as well as "the best climb of (her) life."

Leslie Timms is the owner of "On the Rocks," a climbing guiding service based out of the Beaver Valley in Ontario, Canada. She's climbed throughout the world redpointing sport routes as hard as 5.13+, onsighting 5.13a, and climbing 5.13a traditional routes. Read the full story and see more photos of Above the Clouds on her blog.  

Leslie Timms on Genocide (5.12a) at the New River Gorge in 2011. Photo: Mike Williams/DPM