M13 Claimed in Canada
Ben Firth has given an M13 rating to his new climb The Game in Canada, the first mixed route in the world of that grade. The Game traverses a huge roof at the Cineplex crag, left of the M12 testpiece Musashi, which Will Gadd and Firth established in late 2001. “Its girth is that of Musashi, but what makes [The Game] more difficult is the large pulls, one being roughly eight and a half feet,” Firth said. “That, combined with the pump required for all difficult mixed routes, made The Game quite a bit harder for me than any other sport mixed line, including Musashi.” Firth repeated Musashi shortly after Gadd’s first ascent.
Firth feels that he is climbing as well as he ever has. Sampling the routes in Ouray, Colorado, for a week in mid-January, he fell only once, when a hold broke low on the Ice Festival competition route. He flashed every other route he tried, including the M10+ Fist Full of Steel. Earlier this year, Firth linked the two overhanging ice pitches of Rights of Passage on Mt. Kitchener, each of which was given WI8 by the first-ascent party.
It wasn’t easy to finish The Game, though. “Ben couldn’t find anyone to go play belay slave on send day, so after offering all his friends $50—the Cineplex is a two-hour drive from Canmore—and not finding any takers, he recruited a couple guys that are just starting to ice climb,” said Scott Semple. “He gave them a quick tutorial on how to use a GriGri, got pulled off at the lip by the locked-GriGri-and-no-slack symptom, and sent the route on his fifth try of the day.”