Boulder, Colo. February 12, 2008 – La Sportiva has a long history and intimate connection with climbers around the world. This year, La Sportiva’s North American climbing team will include nine new members from all disciplines – from alpine climbers to soloists.
“This is, without a doubt, the strongest climbing team we have ever assembled in North America,” said Jonathan Lantz, president of La Sportiva, N.A. “Each member of the La Sportiva team has accomplished huge successes in the mountains, on the rock and in competitions. We fully expect that 2008 will be even better for all of them.”
In 1987 Peter Croft stood at the base of Washington Column in Yosemite Valley, Calif. What he did next went down in history as one of the greatest single-day achievements in rock climbing. He chalked-up and soloed Astroman, a 10-pitch, notoriously difficult and steep 5.11c route. When he was done, he took off for the North Face of The Rostrum and soloed The Regular North Face Route, an 8-pitch 5.11c with a reputation for spitting off even the most experienced climbers. This was the first time these two routes were soloed in a single day.
Peter Croft remained the only climber to accomplish this feat until new La Sportiva team member, Alex Honnold, repeated it last year. Honnold took all the harder variations on Astroman, including the 5.11c “boulder problem” and the 5.11b pitch above the Harding Slot. Honnold was awarded the Golden Piton Rookie of the Year Award for his efforts.
La Sportiva also welcomes Micah Dash, who together with La Sportiva athlete Jonny Copp won the Mugs Stump Award this year for their proposed attempt of an unclimbed granite peak in Tibet named Dojitsenga. The mountain is situated between Rawu and Lhagu in the Kangri Garpo range of South Eastern Tibet. The team will attempt to climb the 5800-meter rock peak without aid, Alpine style.
Lauren Lee brings a long resume of strong competitive climbing and surprisingly fast red-points of boulder problems and sport climbs. She finished first at the 2001 American Bouldering Series and the Subaru Gorge Games. The following year she finished second at the Bouldering World Cup and won Phoenix Dyno competition. Last year Lee claimed the fastest female ascent of Rifle’s Dumpster BBQ, a 5.13c.
Looking to the future of sport climbing, La Sportiva added two new members to its team from thenextgeneration, Paige Claassen and Jon Cardwell. At 15 years old, Claassen finished second in last year’s U.S. National Championships after flashing the finals route and going on to a very close tiebreaker. Claassen went to worlds last year, finishing 14th in the bouldering competition and 34th on the rope to give her an overall world ranking of 39th in the women's adult category. At 17 years old, Jon Cardwell has already climbed 5.14 sport routes. Cardwell secured himself a spot on the U.S. Junior National Team in 2006 and went on to place 4th at the World Championships in his age group.
With Athletes who excel in every major discipline of climbing joining the team to complement an already strong roster, Team La Sportiva is poised to have its strongest year ever. Several existing La Sportiva athletes have already gained recognition this year.
In January, La Sportiva athletes Rolando Garibotti and Colin Haley completed the infamous Torre Traverse in a single push, alpine-style outing. The route links four major peaks in Patagonia: Aguja Standhardt, Punta Herron, Torre Egger, and Cerro Torre. The route was first envisioned in the late 80’s, and despite several attempts by world-class alpine climbers, has never seen an ascent until Garibotti and Haley.
In addition, three La Sportiva athletes will be awarded the Muggs Stump Award for climbs they are planning to attempt later in the year. Micah Dash and Jonny Copp will attempt of an unclimbed granite peak in Tibet named Dojitsenga and Steve House will attempt a new route on the west face of Makalu, the worlds 5th highest peak.
ABOUT LA SPORTIVACelebrating their 80th anniversary, La Sportiva brings a strong alpine mountaineering and climbing heritage to their line of performance mountain footwear. This core experience enables La Sportiva to offer the most versatile technical climbing, mountaineering, Mountain Running® and hiking shoes on the market. For more information on La Sportiva visit www.sportiva.com.