French Woman Climbs Southern Smoke (5.14c)

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11/13/12 - The French climber Melissa Le Nevé has climbed Southern Smoke (5.14c) at the Red River Gorge. A week before, Le Nevé, 23, finished Fifty Words for Pump, another 5.14c to the left of Southern Smoke.

Located at the Bob Marley Crag in the Pendergrass Murray Recreational Preserve, Southern Smoke has seen numerous repeats since its first ascent by Joey Kinder in November 2008. However, this is only the route's third female ascent, after Sashia DiGiulian and Ashima Shiraishi. Fifty Words was an open project until 2008's Petzl RocTrip, when Michael Fuselier managed the first ascent (see the video below). And these appear to be Le Nevé's only 5.14c ascents—two of very few female 5.14c ascents on American (or international) soil.

Read more about Le Nevé's ascents on her blog.

Climbing with Le Nevé is Italian Jacopo Larcher, who has also made some impressive RRG ascents. Larcher, also 23, has finished Southern Smoke Direct, the 5.14d that Adam Ondra flashed in late October. Other ascents by Larcher include the "usual" hard routes at the Red: Pure Imagination (5.14c), Southern Smoke, and Fifty Words for Pump. He also onsighted Omaha Beach and climbed God's Own Stone second try (both are 5.14a).

Le Nevé and Larcher have been climbing at the Red since October 27 and only have a few more days in the gorge.

Dates of ascents: October-November 2012

Sources: 8a.nu, melissaleneve.blogspot.com, jacopo-larcher.com