Exclusive Interview: Traversi Nabs Sixth Ascent of Jade

Exclusive Interview: Traversi Nabs Sixth Ascent of Jade

5/28/10 - On May 27 in Rocky Mountain National Park, Carlo Traversi completed the sixth ascent of Jade, a notoriously crimpy problem established in 2007 by Daniel Woods. (See the video at Dead Point Mag.) Graded V15 after its FA, Traversi suggested a downgrade to V14 due to his admitted weakness on crimps, despite the harder grade confirmation by previous ascents.

Traversi, who began climbing eight years ago next month, will be among the competitors in next week’s World Cup in Vail.

Why did you decide to climb Jade? I’ve climbed a lot in RMNP in the past three or four years that I’ve lived here, and that’s the hardest thing up there. Also, with the speculation about the grading, it’s always nice to test yourself on things that are considered so difficult. And it’s a beautiful wall.

How many tries did it take? It was my fifth day attempting it. I tried it three years ago around the time Daniel did the first ascent. I maybe got on it once or twiece and couldn’t do it. I waited until last year, and that’s when I did the crux move. This year, I got it my second day on it.

How'd you train for it? I’ve been doing really wide lat pull-downs, because the crux move is really extended for me, and I wanted to be able to pull down a lot more than my body weight. I haven’t climbed on any crimps, really. I haven’t done any training finger-strength wise.

What was the hardest move for you? The crux move is what ties the whole boulder together. I never fell on any other move on it. It’s a whole combination of movements within one move. It’s one very complex move.

You've been trying it for a while; what was your motivation? I was just psyched to test myself on something other people considered very difficult.

Any other big projects you’re working on? I’m psyched to do this thing called Big Worm at Mt. Evans, as well as Ode to the Modern Man out there. I almost did Don’t Get Too Greedy on the same wall as Jade yesterday. Big Worm is the only thing I’m really psyched about in the States.

You mentioned that crimps aren’t your thing, and that’s how Jade climbs. Any other reason you’d downgrade it to a V14? I hadn’t climbed V14 yet, and it seemed like the logical next step for me as far as difficulty. It made sense to call it the next step up. I guess maybe if I’d climbed something in my own style, I could skip two grades potentially, but not necessarily with something that doesn’t fit my style.

Do you think you’re going to get any flack for suggesting the downgrade? I think it goes both ways. I knew before doing it that I was going to call it V14 because of my experiences on it. I’d already kind of predicted what the responses were going to be. Most of the stuff I’ve gotten has been pretty positive. There’s no real point in arguing about it because grading’s pretty personal.

What are your plans for the World Cup in Vail? I’d like to make finals. In the past, I’ve trained a lot for the World Cup, and I tend to overtrain for comps. This year, I only train when I’m psyched. As long as I go into the comp with a really high level of motivation, I think I’ll do well whether or not I’m in the best shape.