Spaceshot Goes Free

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Brothers Mike and Mark Anderson free climbed the classic Zion aid route Spaceshot at 5.13a, following several variations to the standard eight-pitch climb. The crux came at the fourth pitch, the first of the route’s aid pitches, where Tim Kemple, Justin Sjong and Adam Stack had earlier placed eight bolts hoping to face climb right of the aid line, before they ran out of time in poor weather. While climbing in Yosemite, Mike Anderson ran into Sjong, who urged him to give the route a try.After working on the fourth pitch on June 15, the brothers opted for an adventuresome one-day approach to the free climb, taking five bolts for variations higher on the route if they managed the crux free. Indeed, Mike managed the fourth pitch on his first try the next day, and Mark followed it clean. Two pitches of 5.12 and one pitch of 5.11 followed, mostly following Spaceshot’s splitter leaning cracks, with ever-increasing exposure above an enormous void. At the final bolt ladder, now in full summer sun, Mark free climbed to a small ledge three bolts from the top but whipped several times from the final moves. Mike aided to the top and then explored a line of holds to the left. Deciding this variation would go, he hand-drilled three bolts and returned to the ledge to belay his brother, who flashed the variation at 5.12a. In all, the route has one 5.13 pitch and four 5.12 pitches, including the two-part final pitch.“We are psyched about our in-a-day style,” Mike wrote in an email. “By setting off up the route without previewing the upper pitches, the outcome of the climb was completely in doubt until the last move.”