3/23/12 - On March 21, Indian Creek, Utah, saw the first ascent of what's likely its hardest route yet. Hayden Kennedy grabbed the redpoint of the "Kansas City Special" project at the 4X4 crag, calling it 5.14- and dubbing it Carbondale Short Bus.
Kennedy first tried the route a few years ago, then came back this year to attempt it with Will Stanhope. He spent two days last week working out the moves and gear on toprope, and then sent the route second try on his third day. Regarding the 5.14- grade, Kennedy believes that his tall, lanky build is an advantage: "I think that the route is only 5.13+ for me, but for shorter folks, it's 5.14- for sure."
Kennedy describes Carbondale Short Bus as a "pretty wild route" that's protected only by Black Diamond C3s. The first 20 feet involve laybacking up a "strange feature that's a bit scary and not very secure," he says. A kneebar and several more laybacking moves lead to a reachy section that Kennedy says is much easier for him because of his height: "I grab this undercling and can reach to a really painful finger lock, but it's length, not strength, for me—I am lucky." Then comes the V9/10 crux: "The boulder problem is very delicate and is more about good footwork and body position than anything," Kennedy explains. "I really had to calm my nerves to climb the crux moves because if your body is jittery at all, you are out of there." The end of the crux is the stopper move—a left-hand slap to a very slopey sidepull. A high right foot and matched hands take you up a flaring layback crack. "The gear is hard and scary to place because it's blind, and the cams are small," Kennedy says. At the top of the layback section, Kennedy dynoed to the arete, where he says his feet and body go horizontal. A heel hook and mantel to the anchors complete the ascent.
"The long splitters at the Creek are amazing, but these 'new school' routes are truly wild and offer a very different Indian Creek experience," Kennedy says. "It's stacked with tons of these routes waiting to be climbed, and some of them are at the most traveled cliffs."
Nick Martino installed anchors on Carbondale Short Bus in 2007 and spent much of that spring going for the FA. He ended up one-hanging the climb multiple times but wasn't able to link the moves. "It's one of those routes where the one-hang can still be miles away from sending," he said.
Martino, who's currently studying in Jordan, said, "Hearing that Hayden sent that thing gives me some serious Indian Creek nostalgia. I really wish I could have seen him stick that sloper. As Hayden would say, 'RESPECT!'" Conversely, Kennedy says, "I'd like to give Nick Martino a big thanks for having the vision for this climb and unlocking the moves!"
Also on Wednesday, Will Stanhope made the first ascent of what he's calling Down in Albion, on the Battle of the Bulge Buttress. Down in Albion starts about 15 feet right of Ruby's Cafe (5.13-), then finishes on Ruby's Cafe after a ca. 15-foot crux traverse. He gave it a 5.13c grade, with a possible R rating—blowing the crux traverse means taking a nasy pendulum into a flake.
Below is an excerpt from Sender Films of Martino working Carbondale Short Bus.
Date of ascents: March 21, 2012
Source: Hayden Kennedy, Nick Martino