One person’s classic is another person’s trash heap. The beauty of the Internet is that everyone gets to voice their opinion. Publicly.
Amarillo Sunset (5.11b), Red River Gorge
Every single move is a dyno. Granted I’m 5’1”, but if I wanted to huck my carcass around on ridiculous climbs with unrealistic moves I would get a membership at some hipster bouldering gym. Regardless, I hangdogged the entire route out of spite, and the 30 people waiting at the base while I did so made me feel rushed. It only took me three hours. Had to retire my rope after taking so many whippers and strained my A2 pulley the sixth time I blew out of the two-finger pocket going for the last clip. This is a bullshit climb. Would not recommend.
Midnight Lightning (V8), Yosemite
If I wanted to climb on graffitied rock while a crowd of homeless people watched, I would traverse an underpass in downtown Chicago.
The Casual Route (5.10a), The Diamond on Longs Peak
For starters, there is nothing CASUAL about a seven-mile approach. We left the parking lot at 9 am and didn’t even make it to the BASE of the Diamond until 1 o’clock. My partner had been told that the beta was to “scramble” the North Chimney to the start of the technical climbing. That “scramble” was more like a death-defying, fully gripped, at-our-limit free solo. Miraculously, we survived it, and finally roped up for the so called “Casual Route” at 3 pm. To be clear, I CRUSH 5.9 in the gym, and even dabble in some 5.10s. I thought it would be a breeze, but no one ever talks about how uncasual 5.9 trad climbing is at 13,500 feet above sea level. I had to choke back vomit at the top of the second pitch from altitude-induced nausea, coupled with the physical and emotional devastation of trying to figure out how to crack climb on lead. Seriously, where are the holds? Just then, a booming thunderstorm crashed down. Rain, hail, lightning. Neither of us were sure how to rappel with our Grigris, so we were stranded until a full-scale high-angle rescue team showed up. Let me make myself abundantly clear, there is nothing “casual” about this route.
Epinephrine (5.9), Red Rock
I could’ve used a shot of epinephrine straight to the jugular to wake me up on this piece of Red Rock triviality. A 13-pitch 5.9? Child’s play. The supposed “classic” pitches on this pile are all well-protected chimneys. For chimney climbing to be even mildly engaging it needs to be completely unprotectable. None of this buttoning up hand-sized cams for 1,600 feet. To make matters even worse, every belay is bolted, meaning if you’re not “feeling it” you can just “go down.” Where is the commitment? Back in my day, if you wanted to be done climbing you either needed to get to the top or die of starvation on the wall. This route is the death of the hardman.
The Naked Edge (5.11b), Eldorado Canyon
The climbing itself was delightful. Truly an exquisite route. The finger crack. The knifeblade arête. The chimney. The slightly overhung, wildly exposed hand crack. Just delightful. What was not delightful was the crowd. When we pulled into Eldo on a Saturday around noon, there wasn’t a single parking spot in the entire park. We had to circle around for TWO HOURS before anything opened up. After our approach we quickly realized that we needed to climb two pitches of some other second-rate route just to get to the base of The Naked Edge. They sure don’t advertise that little detail anywhere. When we finally roped up for the first pitch of the Edge, there were 11 other parties on route… we had to wait in line for at least an hour for each pitch while we cooked in the summer sun. A party of three was bailing and rappelled over me as I was leading the runout slab pitch. Then some free soloist asked my partner to “Sit tight for just a sec,” in the Bombay Chimney while he leapfrogged us. Great route. Horrible ambiance. —Karen
The Monkey Traverse (V4), Flagstaff Mountain
Bouldering is all about doing one or two moves at your absolute limit. Bouldering should NEVER be about how long you can hang on. The Monkey Traverse is a disgrace to all real boulder problems that demand raw power, unadulterated by technique, or God-forbid, stamina. If I wanted to work on my endurance I would take up jogging. —BorisSokolowski
The Nose (5.9 C2), El Capitan
Word is that this climb goes down in two hours, so I thought the Nose, rated 5.9, would be chillin’. If people are climbing it in two hours, I could take my time and do it in three or four and be back to the cafe by lunch. Turns out there is a second number of the grade on the Nose: C2… whatever that means. Apparently that’s in reference to “aid climbing.” Excuse me, but I was completely unaware that anyone anywhere does any aid climbing anymore. Fucking archaic. Needless to say, I didn’t bring my aluminum ladder and ball-peen hammer, or whatever those construction workers use to climb. Also it took nine hours to get up the first two pitches so we went down.
Chain Reaction (5.12c), Smith Rock
I onsighted this route while barefoot. Seemed hard for 5.12c. Still a good route.