Joe Kinder crimps to glory on Livin’ Astroglide (5.14+).
It was like trying to sell three Kirbys in a week,” says Joe Kinder of the effort required for his new route at Rumney, New Hampshire, his hardest to redpoint date, Livin’ Astroglide. “Kirbys” would be vacuum cleaners. After earning an art degree, Kinder, hypnotized by the possibility of making big coin fast, began selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. Unfortunately, the gig didn’t pan out, as the Kirby is the Rolls Royce of vacuum cleaners, Kinder says, with a price tag to match. “I sold like two in three weeks, to people I knew.” Kinder spied the new line, on the China Beach swell, quit the Kirby business, and went to work. The project climbed most of Livin’ Astro (5.14c), a Dave Graham testpiece, then avoided that route’s “easy boulder problem” finish by cutting left through the middle of the wall. Three tries per day for 10 days still left Kinder falling from the finish, a V10 crux involving a wild foot dyno to gain an iron cross and crossover sequence on tiny crimps. A forced break for the summer tradeshow in Salt Lake City gave Kinder some perspective on the line’s difficulty, when he sent Salt Lake limestone testpieces such as Dead Souls (5.13d) and Presta Digitator (5.14a) in a handful of tries each. “Going out West made me feel strong again,” says Kinder. His psyche renewed, Kinder redpointed Livin’ Astroglide in late August, after four more days of work. As for the grade, Kinder says only, “It’s harder than Livin’ Astro. Way harder.” If it is a full grade harder, that would put it at 5.14d (9a) and on par with the previous hardest at Rumney, Dave Graham’s The Fly, which is only 20 feet long. Astroglide is 70 feet. Also at Rumney, Eliza Specher, quickly becoming the Northeast’s strongest female sport climber, made the most of the summer months, sending King Cobra (5.13c) and Darkstar (5.13d), both with minimal work. Expect more from Specher, as the season has just begun.