Jeremy Collins and Pat Goodman teamed up with James Q Martin and José Miranda to complete an 11-pitch new route in Venezuela that they had started one year earlier. In Gold Blood (5.12c R A0) climbs a very steep line up Acopan Tepui in the Gran Sabana of southeastern Venezuelan.
After a difficult time just reaching the area because of a revolt by the local indigenous people against illegal mining, the climbers spent five days pushing their route to the top of the wall, attempting to find a naturally protected free climbing line. Unlike the runout and difficult lower wall they explored in February 2012, the upper route had ample pro and tremendous climbing, including the 5.11a “Most Beautiful Pitch in the Universe” (pitch 6), following jugs through a roof.
With the new route in the bag, they returned to the lower wall to try to free the two crux pitches. A “pulsing” next of wasps guarded the crux of the second pitch, yet Goodman managed to bypass the beasts, only to fall higher up when a hold broke, tweaking his shoulder. This pitch, estimated at 5.13a, with three V6/7 cruxes and runout sections of 5.12+ climbing, awaits a successful redpoint.
Collins then attempted the 5.12c fourth pitch with sparse but solid protection, but ran out of gas just before the anchor. Out of time, the team rappelled and left with a new route but without the completely free ascent. “I was bummed, but ready to go home to my wife and kids,” Collins said. “Someone else can send it.”
The team thanks a big group of supporters of their two years of effort on this route: the American Alpine Club, the Jonny Copp Foundation, Sterling Ropes, Goal Zero, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, La Sportiva, Keen Footwear, DeLorme, Clif Bar, and Evolv.
Date of ascent: February 2013