Desperate New Crack Climb in Colorado
8/27/13 - Jason Haas has redpointed a possible 5.14 overhanging hand and finger crack in the South Platte area of Colorado, after a year and a half of work on the project. Question Your Progression arcs through an overhanging 80-foot scoop of granite on the south shoulder of Tick Dome, near the remote Big Rock Candy Mountain.
Haas, who runs Fixed Pin Publishing and is working on the second volume of a new guidebook to the Platte, said Question Your Progression is "the most aesthetic (and difficult) route I'll ever establish. I couldn't picture a better single-pitch route in my imagination."
The route begins with fingers and tight hands in a corner, and then slashes to the right as the wall "starts to roll over like a crashing wave." The crux is 25 feet of sustained finger locks on a 40-degree overhanging wall. Haas placed all of his pro on the lead for the redpoint; there is no fixed gear. The route is also guarded by a long drive down a rough dirt road and an hour-long approach.
How hard is it? "That seems to be the first question everyone has," Haas said. "Funny how it's not 'How good is it? Is it worth doing?' In my opinion, it's a significant step up from The Five Year Plan (13c) in the Flatirons, Home on the Range (13b/c) in Vedauwoo, Skinny Love (13c) in the Platte, and honestly I felt it was harder than Stingray (5.13d) in Joshua Tree. If I'm saying it's harder than Stingray, I guess I'm putting my neck out there and calling it 5.14. Really, I'd love to take a page from Sharma's book and just not rate it, but I guess that's not going to fly since I'm writing the guidebook to the area."
Haas said he "burned through" about 30 belayers during his many attempts on the route. "I almost sent it a year ago, but broke the fingers in my right hand when I caught this kid's head when he took a 30-foot head-first ground fall at the base of the route," he added. "Coming back from that was hard, as I lost a lot of fitness and my fingers couldn't deal with the pain of the locks very well."
In 2010, Haas established another possible 5.14 in the South Platte, climbing a roof route called Compremetido on Dome Rock. That route was repeated by Rob Pizem a few weeks later. But it's not all desperate new lines: During his guidebook research, Haas has repeated many obscure routes in the Platte and put up others, including an 11-pitch 5.9 on Big Rock Candy Mountain, established with Greg Miller in July.
Date of ascent: August 24, 2013
Source: Jason Haas