posted by dpm on 10/09/2012
It's October and, as usual, there is no way I could post one story for each noteworthy ascent without them creeping off the back end of the homepage. Here's the rundown from just the past few days:
In Colorado, Dave Graham pulled off the third ascent of Daniel Woods' new problem White Noise (V14 or 15) at Wild Basin in Rocky Mountain National Park. Matty Hong scooped up the 2nd ascent just one week ago and moved on to his next project. Yesterday, Hong sent another relatively new Woods problem called Mind to Motion (V14) at the Nicky's boulders. Footage of Daniel Woods on the problem can be seen here.
Matty on Mind to Motion (V14). Photo: Matty's Facebook
Fresh off an impressive first female ascent of Mecca (5.14a) at Raven Tor, UK climber Mina Leslie-Wujastyk showed up for some bouldering in Colorado. She just sent her hardest problem to date with Tetris at Wild Basin, RMNP. Originally given V13 by first ascentionist Dave Graham, the problem is now settling in the hard V12 range. Watch video of Mina sending 5.14a in the UK here or click the image below for footage of her sending Tetris.
Outside of Colorado (yes, bouldering happens there too), Austrian Flo Schmalzl and Paul Robinson both sent Anam Cara (V14) in Silvretta. The same day he sent Anam Cara, Paul almost flashed a V13 called Skiroute Project but had to settle for a quick send a few tries later. V13 and V14 in a day is still not too bad!
In Switzerland, Martin Keller is still doing battle with his arch nemesis The Highlander project in Sustenpass. Though he didn't lay that one to rest he came away with a nice consolation prize: the first ascent of Kein Schneehäschen (V13/14). Martin explains the name of the problem on his blog: "to give a bit of a "contrast" to the name of the problem to the right which is called "pitbull" i gave my new problem the name "kein schneehäschen" what means something like "this ain't a babysnowrabbit" Nice one Martin! Read more about that at Martin's blog.
Martin Keller on Kein Schneehäschen (V13/14). Photo: Angela Wagner/Martin's blog
In the world of sport climbing, a few 5.14d's have gone down including Gerome Pouvreau's first ascent of Moksha at Pic St. Loup in France. The 50 meter line opens with hard bouldering that slowly transitions to 25 meters of 5.13d climbing. Gerome is currently on his way to the Red River Gorge so watch out for more news of that. Read more about Moksha in French at this blog.
Gerome Pouvreau on Moksha (5.14d). Photo: Gerome's blog
Planetmountain reports that earlier this summer, Polish climber Alexandra Taistra sent Cosi Fan Tutte (5.14c) in Rodellar, Spain. Alexandra describes the route: " Holds have broken, not only off the crux itself (which has become much more difficult) but also along the whole route. Cosi offers 55 metres of tough climbing with an obvious crux after L1 (a beautiful 8a+/5.13c in its own right), some more difficult climbing further up, and then the demanding, psychological finish from where many experienced climbers have fallen off."
Canada's two hardest routes saw repeats as well. Shortly after Joe Kinder's 3rd ascent of Bunda du Fora (5.14d) at Acephale, Josh Muller followed up with a 4th ascent. In Squamish, the beautiful Dreamcatcher (5.14d) saw a 3rd ascent by Ben Harden. This follows ascents by Chris Sharma and Sean McColl. Watch Sean climb Dreamcatcher here.
At the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, Colorado climber Chelsea Rude onsighted Pushin' up Daisies (5.13c) as well as four other 5.13's. Jon Cardwell snagged an onsight of Last of the Bohican's (5.13d), Pushin' up Daisies (5.13c) and 8 other first try ascents of 5.13's. He wonders on his 8a scorecard, "Why haven't I climbed here before?!"
Perhaps most exciting to armchair climbing enthusiasts is word that Jonathan Siegrist will be joining Tommy Caldwell on the Dawn Wall project in Yosemite, California this fall season. This is Tommy's third serious season attempting the El Cap route, though he's been at it much longer than that. Last fall, he and Kevin Jorgeson kept us captivated via Facebook updates from the wall and we can hopefully look forward to more of the same this year. The Dawn Wall has gained a reputation as the most difficult big wall free climb ever attempted and Tommy's relentless efforts at sending it have become legendary.
Siegrist writes on his blog, "About a month ago, Tommy Caldwell, emailed me to congratulate my success repeating his 'The Honeymoon is Over', and asked if I'd be willing to put my plans for the Red aside and join the effort on the Dawn Wall in Yosemite this October. Despite my reservations, seemingly unpreparedness, excitement to return out East, etc, etc, etc, I knew this was the opportunity of a lifetime. Just to be asked to join him was an extreme honor, and I knew that I couldn't say no."
Tommy and Jonathan will be heading up to start work while Tommy's partner last year, Kevin Jorgeson, is on a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. As soon as he's off the river, Kevin will be heading to the valley to join the team for the final push...if they haven't sent it yet already! Best of luck to the team. Let's see it go down this year!
Finally, and most noteworthy of all, Mike Williams (writing here in the 3rd person) sent his personal life-goal project at Smith Rock, Oregon: To Bolt or Not to Be (5.14a). America's first 5.14a was established by Frenchman J.B. Tribout in 1986 and since then has stood as America's face-climbing test-piece. This was approximately the 26th ascent of the route though Williams set a record for falling higher on the route than anyone ever has. Williams notes, "I totally blew it staring at the chains in the gramma section but I'm psyched. No one has ever fallen that high before. You can't fall any higher so I'll forever be remembered as the greatest punter to ever climb that rig." He sent the route a week later but probably didn't deserve to.
Even the photographer has sent this thing. Must be soft. Photo: Ryan Palo. Read an interview with Ryan Palo about To Bolt or Not to Be here.