Ramon Julian: The Crew (5.14c) onsight

posted by dpm on 10/13/2011

Rifle, Colorado has seen its fair share of strong visiting climbers.  It holds one of the highest concentrations of hard sport routes in the nation and just about every serious sport climber in the country will visit at some point.  Up until a few days ago, the hardest onsight completed was probably Francois Legrand’s 2001 onsight of Present Tense (5.13d) or Dave Graham’s onsight of Gropius (5.13d) in 2008.  It’s a notoriously tricky area that makes onsighting more difficult than most areas.  Routes often require multiple attempts to figure out all the kneebars and scums that help take just a little weight off the arms. 

Ramon onsighting Living in Fear (5.13d)  Photo: Toni Roy/ Ramon's blog

But it seems that if you’re a World Cup competition climber then taking weight off the arms isn’t necessary.  Ramon’s performance at the recent World Cup lead competition in Boulder, Colorado was disappointing.  He’s very short, coming in at just 5’ 2”, and a big move near the start of the route had him at the end of his rope before he even got a chance to get pumped.  After the comp he decided to hit up Rifle for two days of training before his return to Spain.

According to his blog, on the first day he was able to onsight Der Stihl (5.13c), the Bride of Frankenstein (5.13d), and Slice of Life (5.13d).  His second day was even more remarkable with the first ever onsight of Living in Fear (5.13d), an onsight of Tomb Raider, and of course his incredible onsight of The Crew (5.14c).  

Photo: Toni Roy/ Ramon's blog

Not only did this ascent completely surpass the hardest onsight in Rifle, it also set a precedent for the hardest onsight ever completed on American soil.  From a global perspective this ascent puts Ramon in an elite group of only three climbers to ever have onsighted the grade: Patxi Usobiaga with the world’s first in 2007, Adam Ondra with seven to date, and now Ramon.  To put this feat in American perspective, there have been fewer than ten 5.14 onsights in the country, ever!  I racked my brain in an attempt to compile a comprehensive list of 5.14 onsights in America and here’s what I have so far.  It’s quite likely I missed a few so please help me out in the comment field if you can think of any more.


Chris Sharma:

Transworld Depravity (5.14a), Red River Gorge

Omaha Beach (5.14a), Red River Gorge 

Proper Soul (5.14a), New River Gorge

T-Rex (5.14b), Maple Canyon

Divine Fury (5.14b), Maple Canyon


Sasha Digiulian:

Omaha Beach (5.14a), Red River Gorge


Magnus Midtboe

Omaha Beach (5.14a), Red River Gorge   


Jonathan Siegrist

Doomsday (5.14a) Ten Sleep Canyon


Garth Miller

Cannibals Direct (5.14a) American Fork  (note: this 1998 ascent has always been shrouded in dispute.  True?)


Ramon Julian

The Crew (5.14c) Rifle