Ryan Palo: Sure Shot (5.14b) first ascent

posted by dpm on 10/25/2011


In 2009, visiting Frenchman Pierre Bollinger visited Smith Rock, Oregon and claimed the first ascent of an old project in the Aggro Gulley he called, Shoot ‘em Up (5.14b).  Last spring, Smith Rock turbo-local, Ryan Palo claimed the second ascent of the line.  What some may not have realized is that the original bolted project is completely independent and goes straight up the wall, though it does share one big hold, and rest, with the neighboring Aggro Monkey (5.13b).  Shoot ‘em Up climbs the lower crux of the project then finishes on the easier exit of Aggro Monkey.  This season, Palo set out to finish the full original line which adds in a final section that is “much more sustained, tackling several more 5.13 sections with little opportunity for a shake.”  The full line is definitely more difficult than the original, though Ryan felt it didn’t quite warrant the 5.14c grade calling it Sure Shot (hard 5.14b).  With this ascent, Palo has established the second hardest route in Smith Rock’s Aggro Gulley, a wall with a selection of notoriously difficult technical test-pieces.  The hardest route on the wall, Scott Milton’s Shock and Awe (5.14c), has yet to see a repeat after nearly a decade since its establishment.

Ryan Palo on the first ascent of Sure Shot (5.14b).  Photo: Tara Reynvaan

Palo was also able to snag a rare ascent of the old-school graded Jam Master J (5.13d) also in the Aggro Gulley, a line that has seen very few repeats since it was established by British legend Jerry Moffat in 1988.  Jam Master J is a direct V9/10 start to the insecure Oxygen (5.13b).

The opening boulder problem of Jam Master J (5.13d).  Photo: Justin Brown

Over the past few years, Palo has ticked away many of Smith Rock’s hardest routes and worries that there may be little left to do at his home crag.  He comments on his blog, “I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished, but I worry I’m turning into that guy at the crag who has nothing to do and no vision. The last thing I want is to be that guy who does nothing but link-ups of routes he’s already done. There’s still a bit left for me a Smith. So hopefully those days are still years away. Till then I think I’ll spend some money on bolts.”  Ryan plans to attack the monkey with full fury in the spring and we’ll likely be bringing you news of a proud ascent of the iconic Just Do It (5.14c).

Finishing up Jam Master J on the classic Oxygen.  Photo: Justin Brown

Read a DPM interview with Ryan about his cross country rampage and ascent of To Bolt or not To Be (5.14a) here.

Click here for some nice footage of Pierre Bollinger on the first ascent of Shoot ‘em Up (5.14b).