Do you remember your first unexpected trad whipper? Maybe you were solid as cement, relaxing on bomber jugs when that damn foot blew. Or perhaps you were pumped but confident, grabbing crimp after crimp before you greased off, airborne.
For Anna Hazelnutt, who began trad climbing earlier this year, her first unexpected trad fall happened on the notoriously heady Once Upon a Time in the Southwest (E9 6c/ 5.13 R).
Yep, you read that right.
“U.K. E9 means a trad route that is relatively hard, and really, really, scary,” Hazel Findlay said following her ascent of the route in 2011.
Hazelnutt travelled to the U.K. this summer to visit her friend and trad maestro, Tom Randall. Randall was psyched to project Once Upon a Time and they worked the route on top rope together. Eventually, Hazelnutt says she understood the gear placements enough—and felt strong enough on the moves—that she could begin giving lead attempts.