5.14-Plus Explosion in U.S. and Europe
The past few days have seen a frenzy of hard sport climbing worldwide, including several 5.14d or harder ascents in the United States.
- Chris Sharma has given a name and suggested a grade for the 250-foot new route he completed last week at Clark Mountain: Jumbo Love (5.15b). This is the first route given 5.15b in North America, and one of only a few in the world. Josh Lowell at Big Up Productions has updated his blog with a good analysis of the climb and grade, along with a couple of new photos.
- Meanwhile in Europe, Daniel Andrada has completed his second route graded 9b (5.15b) in the low-roofed Alibaba Cave at Rodellar, Spain: Delincuente natural. The new link-up climbs a 10-meter ceiling (5.14c/d) followed by a poor kneebar rest and then a finish via Hulk (5.14c). Andrada believes the new line is harder than his previous 5.15b in the cave; last fall Andrada bouldered Ali Hulk with a sit start, then clipped into a rope for another 25 feet of climbing to create a 5.15b link.
- Sharma completed a one-day, second-try repeat of Joe Kinder’s Golden Direct (5.14d) at the Cathedral in southern Utah. Kinder originally graded the climb 5.14c but upgraded it after recent experience with top-end 5.14 routes.
- Dave Graham has repeated Tommy Caldwell’s 5.14d route Kryptonite at the Fortress, near Rifle, Colorado, making the fourth ascent. Graham commented that the route was “lower end 9a (5.14d), but definitely harder than [any] other 8c+ I know in the nation.”
- At the end of August, Graham also made the first ascent of Girl Talk (5.14c) at Rifle, suggesting it might be the hardest route at Colorado’s premier high-end limestone area. The climb was quickly repeated by Graham’s climbing partners in Rifle, Joe Kinder and Daniel Woods.
- Back in Europe, 15-year-old Adam Ondra has made the second ascent of Alexander Huber’s Weisse Rose (5.14d) at Schleier Wasserfall in Austria. Huber pioneered the route, one of the first of the grade in the world, in 1994.
- Finally, to traditional climbing: Matt Segal has completed the fourth ascent of Cobra Crack (5.14) at Squamish, British Columbia. Segal’s ascent camped a remarkable summer in which the possible hardest crack climb in the world, first climbed by Sonnie Trotter in 2006, was repeated by Nicolas Favresse, Ethan Pringle, and now Segal.
Dates of Ascents: September 2008
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