Woods: New 5.14d in Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado


Daniel Woods on his new route Mission Impossible (5.14d). Photo by Greg Mionske

Daniel Woods on his new route Mission Impossible (5.14d). Photo by Greg Mionske

5/9/12 - Daniel Woods has completed a new route in Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado, that he's estimating to weigh in at 5.14d.The route has been known as the "Mission Impossible" project at the Wall of the '90s since Jay Samuelson bolted it in 2011—Woods will keep the name Mission Impossible. It sits to the left of the well-known testpiece Interstellar Overdrive (5.13d), first climbed by Tommy Caldwell. If confirmed at upper-end 5.14, this will be one of Colorado's hardest routes. Jonathan Siegrist also attempted the route in April but wasn't able to finish it before leaving the country.

Woods first attempted Mission Impossible in early April, and spent six or seven days working the route before his ascent on May 8. This technical line starts on vertical terrain, then shifts to a slightly overhanging angle—what Woods calls his "anti-style." A V4 mantel leads into a V6/7 crimpy, slabby section and a rest, followed by the first crux: a 15-move V12, with very slopey holds and non-existent smears for feet. Another rest leads to a 5.12b section before the second crux, which involves a 10-move V11. "The end of this crux was the nail biter for me," Woods says. Lock-offs on tiny crimps—including a high-step, heel-hook, almost-foot-match—and a mantel with another long lock-off to a small edge define the final moves before the anchor. The route was very condition-dependent, says Woods, so much that even a few degrees of warmth added a lot more difficulty. "I had a mini-epic falling off when matching the last crimp before the chains," he says. He then got sick and was stuck in bed for a few days, while temps rose outside. Fortunately for him, inclement weather moved in and lowered the temperatures to the mid-40s this week. Woods took advantage and was able to finish the route, with numbed fingers from the cold.

"I had watched 'Wizard's Apprentice' the night before and saw Adam Ondra battle it out in heinous conditions," Woods says, "so this gave me inspiration to go into warrior mode and finish it off."

Woods believes this is the hardest sport climb he's ever finished—even harder than Jaws II (5.15a) in Rumney, New Hampshire, which he climbed in October 2010. "It felt harder physically and mentally... Maybe it could be 5.15a, but repeaters can decide. I had to learn a lot on this route," he says.

His plans for the summer include the Bouldering World cup in Vail, Colorado, and traveling to Malaysia and South Africa. Regarding the buzz that he wants to try Chris Sharma's huge route Jumbo Love (5.15b), he says he's psyched to get on the route this fall. Until then, he's just "happy to be able to climb amazing rock formations and express my physical and creative side through them. A huge thanks goes out to my sponsors, The North Face, Sanuk, La Sportiva, Petzl, Organic, All Sport Recovery, and Naked Pizza, for allowing me to continue living this dream."

Date of ascent: May 8, 2012

Source: Daniel Woods