Jonathan Siegrist: Q&A about New World Order (5.14c)

Jonathan Siegrist on the FA of New World Order (5.14c). Photo by Andy Mann

6/28/11 - Jonathan Siegrist recently finished a project at Little Si, Washington, that he's proposing to be 5.14c. The route, New World Order, begins on and climbs the majority of Whore of Babylon (5.14b), an Erik Kubiak testpiece, then breaks left to join Lost Horizons (5.14a). Climbing caught up with Siegrist to talk about the ascent, which is likely Washington's hardest line.

Jonathan, you've been on the road for a little while. What made you go to Washington?I first climbed at Little Si two years ago on a road trip with Andy Mann. I was really impressed with the quality of routes there and also the length of the cliff. When my buddy Bret Johnston reminded me last fall that there was still one remaining project there that Erik Kubiak had tried for a few seasons a while back, I planned a trip to Seattle immediately.

So what's the new route like?New World Order climbs to the very top of the cliff, covering nearly 50 meters of stone. The climbing style is very resistant—there is a lot of 5.12+ and harder climbing on this route, with one great rest, and one decent one. The hardest moves are in the V10 boulder problem crux of Whore, but the redpoint crux comes in the airy and continuous crux at around 120 feet, finishing with a long punch to a flat jug. It's a thrilling finish for sure. From here, 40 more feet of technical 5.12- climbing guards the chains, and you've crested a huge bulge so you're out of sight of your belayer, making 15 foot run-outs and pulling over half the weight of your cord to clip... brilliant!

5.14c—that sits at the high end of American sport climbing. As of now, New World Order is the hardest route in the state of Washington. Psyched! Originally, I thought it could maybe be 5.14d, but after finishing the route in a handful of tries, I suggested 5.14c. It suits my style almost perfectly, and I'd say that if it weren't for the extension/link-up nature of the route, it would be on my top five list of hard routes I've ever been on. It's amazing!

Besides this project, you recently finished Just Do It (5.14c) at Smith Rock, which you'd worked on before. How was that?Just Do It was an important step in my process as a climber in that it was one of the last hard repeats in America that really interested me (although I still have a short list). I think it's important in climbing, like in many pursuits, to pay your respects to the classics before creating something of your own—and now that I've had the opportunity to do many of America's most classic hard routes, I'm ambitious to focus on new route/cliff development.

You must be feeling pretty strong. I definitely feel happy with the way I'm climbing, but it's hard to say when I've felt my absolute best... strength, skills, and ability is a process for me that has been steadily evolving over the past few years. I'm mostly happy that I'm making progress in my eyes, and continuing to have a great time all the while.

So any ideas of where you might want to put up new routes? I learned about quite a bit of potential up in the Seattle area; I will definitely make a return trip next year. Right now, I'm trying to gather as much information about sport climbing potential around the U.S., as new routing is becoming my main focus.

What's next?Heading up to Lander for the International Climbers Festival (psyched!) and then I'll be making my way up to Canada for the Arcteryx Squamish Mountain Festival, and hopefully get a couple of weeks of climbing in up there before heading to Salt Lake for the Summer OR show.

Stay tuned for a video by Andy Mann of Jstar on his new route.

Date of ascent: June 14, 2011

Source: Jonathan Siegrist