Vail Gets 2 New Testpieces

By Dougald MacDonald ,

Rich bouldering the start of Fruit Boot Riot.

Coloradan Rich Purnell has added two extremely difficult mixed lines to the Secret Cicle area of Vail, which now holds “the highest concentration of hard routes in Vail and the USA.” Purnell climbed Fruit Boot Riot and $10 Bill, both of which he described as “so powerfully technical, with dime-sized holds, it’s almost impossible to relate their grades with other juggy routes.” Purnell rated the two climbs “Mfinity.” He then linked a 20-foot drytooling boulder problem across a roof to the start of Fruit Boot (named, by the way, for the new ultralight mixed boots with integrated crampon points, which typically have longer heel spurs than frontpoints). Purnell has been Vail’s leading activist for several years, establishing three M9 or harder routes at the Belfry area, along with Somnambulist (M10) and Lucky (M11) in the Fang Amphitheater. At the Secret Cicle area, a low-ceilinged cave with serious danger of groundfall from the routes, Purnell established the area’s first modern mixed route, Inferno (M10), in 2001 and put up Disco (M10) last winter. Disco just got its second ascent from Pete Takeda, who wrote on, “Purnell completed this route—with his trademark power sequences—in the pre-fruit boot era. Though new footwear probably lowers the grade, Disco is still M10.” Chris Alstrin of Colorado Springs, meanwhile, made quick second ascents of Fruit Boot Riot and $10 Bill.

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