Sharma Route Dreamcatcher (5.14d) Sees Third Ascent
10/18/12 - Canadian climber Ben Harnden has made the third ascent of Chris Sharma's Dreamcatcher (5.14d) in Squamish, B.C.
Sharma and Sonnie Trotter bolted the line in 2005, and that September, Sharma redpointed the route for the first ascent, putting the grade at 5.14c or 14d (see Sharma's first ascent video below). Dreamcatcher didn't see another ascent until four years later, when Sean McColl finished the route and confirmed the grade at 5.14d.
Dreamcatcher climbs an overhanging, diagonal pin scar seam on the backside of the Cacodemon Boulder below The Chief. The line has several distinct boulder problems, including a precarious slab to a dyno, multiple heel-hook shuffling, and finishing crux with bad pinches. Ben Spannuth, who was trying the line with Harnden, says, "Dreamcatcher truly demands a technically well-rounded climber, more so than any other line I've seen." Mike Foley was also attempting the route, and managed to climb halfway through the final boulder problem a few times before falling.
Harnden's beta was completely different from either Sharma or McColl's beta, according to Spannuth. "Ben's method for Dreamcatcher in particular is incredibly inspiring. He's ridiculously strong and pulls off a few non-holds that Chris and Sean completely skipped," he says.
Harnden has been climbing in Squamish since 2002, but waited until this season to start trying Dreamcatcher. He has been devoted to the line since June of this year, spending all of his spare time training and refining beta. Despite a shoulder injury that limited Harnden to a handful of attempts per week, he was able to make fairly quick work of this North American testpiece.
Date of ascent: October 5, 2012
Sources: Ben Harnden, Ben Spannuth