posted by dpm on 01/08/2013
In just the span of a few days, three of America's hardest boulder problems have seen ascents. Following Daniel Woods' ascent of Witness the Fitness (V15), comes Jon Cardwell's ascent of The Game (V15) in Boulder Canyon, Colorado. The first ascent of The Game went to Daniel Woods in 2010. A year later, Carlo Traversi snagged the 2nd ascent. This is the 3rd ascent of the problem.
Outside of Las Vegas, in Red Rock, Nevada, Dave Graham has claimed the 2nd ascent of Paul Robinson's Meadowlark Lemon (V15). Originally done by Paul in 2011 from a stand start at V13, Paul returned last year and added the sit start for the full line. The sit adds another V13 section for a double-stacked V13 to V13 power problem up a blunt arête. On Facebook, Dave described the problem:
"Took er down today!!! Yesss!!!!Super syked!!! Meadowlark Lemon 8C was established by Paul Robinson, and it's an incredible addition to our world of hard boulders! The rig is super proud; aesthetic, tall, and blank looking, I'm always really impressed when I stand underneath it. After 6 days of battling with the strange valley conditions, learning the body positions, and gaining the snap necessary to execute the finicky toe hook lurp move, I managed to do it second try today. We are working on a video at www.island.io, the Vegas Adventures should be a hoot!!! Bearcam Media photo!!"
Speaking of "our world of hard boulders," these three recent ascents leave me wondering just what is the hardest boulder problem in America? At "solid V15," Witness the Fitness is a contender. Originally proposed at V16, The Game could be as well though there is some speculation that the problem has changed, possibly due to aggressive cleaning of the holds. Consensus has brought The Game down to V15. When Paul established Meadowlark Lemon he commented that it was the 2nd hardest problem he'd done after Lucid Dreaming in Bishop, California's Buttermilks. Still unrepeated, Lucid Dreaming was downgraded to V15 by Paul himself after more thought on his original V16 proposal.
There are multiple V15 proposals in America now, many of which are located in Colorado like: White Noise, Paint it Black, The Ice Knife, Warrior Up, and Hypnotized Minds. In Hueco Tanks, Desperanza is settling in at low end V15 but Terremer (the low start to Terre de Sienne) could be a contender as well. This is obviously an incomplete list, but from an armchair perspective it seems that the unrepeated Lucid Dreaming might take top honors. Then again, rumor has it that Daniel Wood's Hypnotized Minds is the real deal, which I believe is also unrepeated. Only time will tell.