New 5.14a Trad Route in Adirondacks

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9/30/11 - New England native Peter Kamitses has established one of the country's hardest traditional climbs: Oppositional Defiance Disorder (5.14a) in the Adirondacks, New York. This marks the Adirondacks' second 5.14 route, with the other being Kamitses' Ill Fire, put up three years ago.

"Steepest, baddest, hardest, raddest trad pitch I've ever tried," Kamitses said. "Big runouts, but solid gear. Stoked." He worked the route on toprope many times last year, but was unable to attempt it on lead because it began to seep in October and was wet for the rest of the season. ("I stuffed towels in the few key crux holds that were seeping and torched them dry, then changed the towels right before trying to lead it so they wouldn't saturate and start dripping," he said in an email.) This year, he needed only four days of lead attempts and "big whips" to redpoint the line.

ODD sits at Silver Lake's Tsunami Wall and has been attempted by other climbers like Jean-Pierre "Peewee" Ouellet. The 100-foot route follows double cracks on a 30-degree overhanging wall. "The crux involves a compression boulder problem slapping up 30-degree overhanging twin cracks between slopey side pulls, where you just have to punch it and can't stop to place gear," Kamitses said.

Kamitses placed all gear as he climbed, and removed the pro after his attempts. "I lowered off a bight in a photographer's static rope to clean my cams afgter each failed attempt," he said. "Pain in the ass, but I wanted to redpoint it in good style."

The route starts by "climbing up slab [10'] and pullling into the crack system at a roof with a few chimney moves. Go up the techy crack [30'], then move right into the other crack to "loaf" jug. Place a couple of cams and punch it [15'] slapping up both cracks thru the crux until you get a good side pull jug and a big rest. Layback and jam up to small roof–overlap, pull the roof, then exit straight up."

Kamitses says inspiration for the route stems from a friend who teaches mentally challenged middle school students. "They frequently have this 'oppositional defiance disorder,' he said. "I realized it was a great name for this route: the opposition between the cracks in the crux and the mental stubbornness to not give up and go through the process of drying it out, and forcing myself to really go for it."

The 35-year-old climber established Rumney, New Hampshire's The China Glide (5.14d) in 2008 and has repeated some of the northeast's best testpieces, including Livin' Astroglide and Livin' Astro (5.14c, Rumney), and many other 5.14b's and 5.14a's. Kamitses currently has another 'Dacks project in mind: "I won't tell you where it is, but it will be the hardest one yet and R/X rated," he said. "I've finally gotten it with one hang [on toprope]. Doing it clean on lead is going to be a whole different high-stakes card game."

Date of ascent: September 2011

Source: Peter Kamitses, Jim Lawyer, 8a.nu