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While visiting family in New England over the holidays, trad master Mason Earle stopped in at the new Salt Pump gym and walked away $1,000 richer. Earle earned the prize (sadly there was no oversize TV-style check) by onsighting the “hard-hard crack” at the new gym in Scarborough, Maine.
Salt Pump offered the prize as soon as it opened in late July, with backing from La Sportiva, Metolius, Doug Madara, and Mark Richey. The gently overhanging thin-hands and off-fingers crack, with a bulge in the middle, is protected by bolts alongside but would take purple and green Camalots for pro. Several locals had gotten close to the onsight before Earle claimed the bounty on December 22. After warming up on a couple of the easier crack climbs in the gym, Earle sent the hard-hard crack with a climbing shoe on his left foot and taped-up toes (no shoe) on the right.
“The Salt Pump cracks were super fun,” Earle said. “The hard one was probably 12+/13-. I taped my right foot, although it was probably more painful than helpful!”
Earle used the same taping technique to send one of North America’s hardest crack climbs last March: the so-called Bartlett Wash Project, which he redpointed after two and a half years of efforts and called 5.14a/b.