Claassen, DiGiulian Send New 5.14s in South Africa
Americans Paige Claassen and Sasha DiGiulian, traveling separately to South Africa during the country's winter sending season, have each completed 5.14 new routes on African sandstone. Both routes were bolted by local climber Andrew Pedley and shared with the U.S. women as open projects.
Claassen's new route, Digital Warfare (33/5.14-), is at a striking crag called WOW Prow in Free State that has fewer than 10 routes but a larger than life presence. The climb follows shallow pockets up a 15-degree, 80-foot wall. The redpoint marked Claassen's fifth 5.14 ascent and first new route.
Claassen and photographer Jon Glassberg are on the first stop of their 12-month Marmot Lead Now Tour, where they hope to inspire local people to lead adventurous lives, and also raise money for nonprofits serving women and children. The South African leg is aiming to raise $10,000 to support a local Room to Read literacy program.
Meanwhile, at South Africa's well-known Waterval Boven sport crags, Sasha DiGiulian redpointed another Pedley open project, origianlly called Overlord, to create a route she called Rolihlahla, after Nelson Mandela's middle name. The route traverses a beautiful, nearly blank wall via crimps along a seam. DiGiulian originally believed the route might be hard 5.14b or even low 5.14c, but now suggests low 5.14b. South African Arjan De Kock made the second ascent of the line later last week and called the new route solid 33 (5.14a/b), possbly the hardest climb at the area.
Dates of ascents: July 2013