A seriously blown finger tendon will shut down most climbers for weeks, if not months. Not Steve House. Little less than a month after severely injuring his left index finger on one of Churning in the Wake’s (5.13a) drilled pockets (as exclusively reported on climbing.com), House, in an incredible display of courage and desire, managed to redpoint the testy line on the evening of April 29, waiting until temps were optimal and for all of the locals to finish chucking toprope laps on it.
In another climbing.com cell phone exclusive, House, who, after spending nearly six months hyper-projecting the 80-foot route sent it on his last day in Oregon before heading to Alaska, called Climbing and left the following message:
“Hey, guys, Steve here. Breaking news from Smith Rock: I did Churning. I had to do a new sequence because of the injured finger, but I did it. Now I don’t have to do that thing ever again.”
How mind-blowing is House’s redpoint? For perspective, the climbing on Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face, which has garnered House and Vince Anderson worldwide accolades, has no rock climbing harder than, say, 5.10b-ish (and shouldn’t be considered solid for the grade until confirmed by repeat ascents, as it is rumored they missed a key undercling crossthrough move at 21,651 feet that could drop the rock difficulties to 5.10a/b), while Churning is considered the benchmark 5.13a at Smith Rock, the birthplace of American sport climbing.
Details at this time are still sketchy (some pundits have cast doubt on House’s redpoint claim due to his lack of summit photos), and it is unclear if his finger is still injured so badly he can’t pick up his own luggage, as was earlier reported. We here at Climbing, however, emphatically salute Mr. House for his fortitude in overcoming such a traumatic finger injury and achieving his lifelong desire to climb 5.13a, albeit a manufactured one.