Switching seasons ain't easy
Travelers and locals alike squeezed a few more awesome days into the Cathedral of southern Utah's season. Camping was a bit brutal at night with winds that can be pretty cold and relentless. Lani Adamson got a few final burns in on her project Pucker 13c on the Wailing Wall. This route has seen almost as many female ascents as males, and was upgraded from 13b to 13c by Dave Graham. Lauren Lee got the first ascent, and Ellen Powick followed with the second ascent. These girls don't mess around. Pucker has a notorious runout, taking mandatory 20 footers in the crux. Lani has had a great year climbing, sending her first handful of 5.13's. Originally a boulderer (she has bouldered V10), she has recently made the switch to sport climbing. Always positive, this chick is a good vibe all of the time.
Local hero Todd Perkins is also close to his new route Golden for a Moment 14b. Todd has bolted hundreds of routes in the St.George area, and has graciously allowed the young strong pack to get first ascents on some of his projects (to the chagrin of some locals who think Todd is too nice). A few years back when Andy Raether was hanging around the area, Todd was one hanging Golden, and falling high in the crux. After Andy asked Todd if he could get on the project, Todd obliged. Unfortunately Todd had to have hip resurfacing, and was forced put climbing and Golden on the back burner during his recovery. Andy made the route and the area famous in a few climbing articles and pictorials. But since then, Chris Sharma got the first ascent of the route; in August, second try, 105 degrees! It is an incredibly impressive line that comes straight out of the Cathedral cave onto an amazing headwall. And this past spring Joe Kinder climbed another line going straight into Golden that is even more difficult.
As the rain and cold air moves in, climbing is shifting once again to the VRG or local sunny crags. I started back on some unfinished business of mine, the classic High Flames Drifter, an outstanding and rather frightening 12c. And the Las Vegans have been showing up strutting their power and prowess. I just wish it weren't so loud there!