12/12/12 - As fall brought in colder weather, J.P. "Peewee" Ouellet recently made an impressive circuit through southeastern Utah, developing some new and hard crack lines.
Ouellet, known for tackling some of country’s most challenging splitters, initially set off for the Moab area to free climb a roof crack project in Canyonlands National Park—near Necronomicon, a 5.13d/14a first ascent—but was hindered by poor rock quality. Undeterred, Ouellet went on to flash The Vadge, a 5.13- a roof crack put up by Rob Pizem, and onsighted the probable first ascent of Fisting the Crack, which he called 5.13-. "It starts as a fist crack for a while and then gets to the weirdest size... not quite fist and not quite a cupped hand. It's pretty insecure to climb this size on a vertical crack, so in a roof it was a little bit of a battle for me," he said on his blog.
Ouellet then moved on to Longs Canyon, taking a few days to complete his project Mexican Snow Fairy, a 45-meter thin fingers crack, originally an aid line. He graded it 5.13+, which makes for one of the most difficult crack lines in the area.
“What I like about hard cracks is that they are very unique and usually super proud lines,” Ouellet said in an email. “I had found the Mexican Snow Fairy last year and it was in the back of my mind. But it looked so thin I wasn't sure it would go.” But after trying the line once every couple of days—it was too thin and painful to try more often—he nabbed the first free ascent.
Date of ascents: October-December
Source: J.P. Ouellet