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When someone gets on a rip — as the California climber Ethan Pringle has in the last few months — it’s almost impossible to keep up with him. However, the bouldering tick list Pringle has racked up since April, particularly in Utah and Colorado, is singularly impressive. On a perfect spring day (April 9) in Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC), Utah, Pringle flashed Bully (V12) and the highball Triple Threat Arête (V10), and made the first repeat of the hairball Sam’s Arete (aka Birds Nest; said to be somewhere between “V8 and V12” and with a stopper dyno at the top, according to the photographer Ryan Wedemeyer, who shot the sequence of Pringle flashing Bully, seen here). Then, Boom!, two days later Pringle bagged the second ascent of the desperate Ben Moon Eclipse (V13) and climbed Prime Rib (V11) and the “crazy highgball” Red Letter Day (V10), all three in LCC. (Isaac Caldiero made the third ascent of Eclipse, soon after Pringle.) All this came hard on the heels of a one-hour repeat of the core-tensionnightmare Circadian Rhythm (V13) in Colorado’s Poudre Canyon, on March 27.
“Ethan showed why he’s a respected climber when I saw him working the direct version of Black Lung [the V13 at Joe’s Valley, which Pringle climbed by a slightly easier variant on March 31], but I’ve seen plenty of climbers not bag that one,” says Wedemeyer, who caught up with Pringle again a few days later in LCC, at the Shingles Boulder, home to Bully, a stout (read: powerful and crimpy) Jeff Webb extension to Shingles previously flashed only once, by Klem Loskot. The day Pringle flashed Bully, Steven Jeffery had Beta’ed him down and (as visible in the photo) a full bouldering posse, including the LCC V-double-digit pioneer and auteur behind Supertweek (5.14b) and Ice Cream (5.14c), Boone Speed, had assembled to boulder.
“Ethan is a very serious young man,” says Wedemeyer, who first met Pringle when Pringle was a 15-year-old prodigy tearing it up in Rifle. “He’s experienced as a climber, and intelligent. That seriousness combined with the commitment that Ethan has put toward his climbing, in the form of the amount of time he’s put into it, are what’s turned him into such a powerhouse.”
Dates of Ascent: March 31 – April 11, 2007
Sources: Ethan Pringle, Ryan Wedemeyer, www.8a.nu