Jonathan Siegrist Establishes 5.15 Full Metal Brisket in the New River Gorge (With Video)

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Jonathan Siegrist climbing the crux boulder problem that follows a long section of 5.14.

American climber Jonathan Siegrist has redpointed a longstanding project in the New River Gorge, West Virginia: Full Metal Brisket (5.15a). It climbs a steep line up hardened West Virginia sandstone with notoriously bad holds. After redpointing the route earlier this week, Siegrist proposed the grade of 5.15a, making it one of very few 5.15s in the United States.

“I heard about this wild project in the Coliseum on my first trip to West Virginia seven years ago,” Siegrist wrote on Instagram. “The rumor was that the moves had maybe all been done but linking them would be crazy.”

On a trip to the New this Autumn, Siegrist focused his efforts on Full Metal Brisket, working out the beta and acclimating to the climbing. The style of the climbing—bad holds, awkward movement, and precise sequences—is atypical of the New, where difficult routes are often characterized by big, dynamic moves.

“It took a number of sessions and nearly exploding my knee to sort out the hyper cryptic crux,” Siegrist wrote. “Then it took me a handful of days of incremental progress to start having promising tries, and lastly it took me several days after that of falling on the last move (hardest move) to finally send the bastard yesterday.”

With a grade of 5.15a, Full Metal Brisket is on a short list of the hardest sport climbs in the United States—Siegrist completed the first ascents of three in the past year. In March of 2019, Siegrist put up All You Can Eat (5.15a) in Clear Light Cave, NV; in February 2020, he made the first ascent of One Hundred Proof (5.15a), also in Clear Light Cave; and now he has completed Full Metal Brisket. Siegrist also made the third ascent of Chris Sharma’s Jumbo Love (5.15b) in Clark Mountain, CA, the only confirmed 5.15b in the US. The American all-star has now climbed more than 40 routes between 5.14d and 5.15a.

“What an absolute gift it is to find projects like this one, barely nail it with conditions, and have a super supportive group around you the whole time,” Siegrist wrote. “I feel incredibly grateful! Full Metal Brisket 15a is open for business.”

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