6/1/14 – Paige Claassen has redpointed Just Do It (5.14c) at Smith Rock, Oregon, making the first female ascent of one of America’s most historic sport climbs. First climbed in 1992 by Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Tribout, it was by far the hardest rock pitch in North America at the time. The 18-bolt route ascends the striking, gently overhanging north face of the Monkey Face tower.
In an email, Claassen, said, “I came to Smith at the beginning of May with my sights set on Just Do It. It’s one of the most gorgeous lines I’ve ever seen, and I knew it would be a big step for me. I didn’t expect to complete it this season, I just wanted to check it out and see if it felt feasible.”
Claassen said she put in about 10 to 12 days of work on the route over the last three weeks, making “pretty consistent” progress each day. She said she mastered the technical lower section fairly quickly and soon could do all the moves on the steeper red rock above. “It was just a matter of having enough power to link them together,” she said. “Despite this being the longest sport route I’ve ever done (40 meters), it doesn’t require much endurance. The entire line is stacked with jug rests, but the boulder problems in between are quite hard. The definitive crux is a three-bolt section near the top of the red band. It’s steeper up there than you’d expect, perhaps 25 degrees or so, and you’re just cranking out long moves on poor crimps and a few shallow pockets.
“It’s really all about body position,” she continued. “There wasn’t a single move that shut me down, I would just get powered down. Basically, I just had to try really, really hard. Definitely the hardest I’ve fought for a route in my life, and the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Claassen, 23, has redpointed several 5.14b routes, including China Climb (Yangshuo, China), Art Attack (Italy), and Grand Ole Opry (5.14b/c, Colorado).
Date of ascent: May 31, 2014
Source: Paige Claassen