Weekend Whipper: Skipping Clips on the FA of a High-altitude 5.14c
James Pearson couldn't be bothered to clip the bolt at his waist, and he logged some serious air miles while climbing above 13,000 feet.
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This week’s whipper is a throwback to 2012, during an expedition to Borneo’s Mt. Kinabalu (13,435 feet) with James Pearson, Yuji Hirayama, Daniel Woods, and Caroline Ciavaldini. The trip was a huge success, with new routes up to 5.15a on the steep granite spires, including Pearson’s first ascent of Excalibur (5.14c), which he called “Perhaps my most beautiful sport-climbing FA” at the time.
After a feet-cutting dyno, Excalibur transitions into burly compression-slapping up an overhanging column. Pearson couldn’t be bothered to clip the bolt at his waist, and he logged some serious air miles while climbing above 13,000 feet.
This may have been the first and only ascent of Excalibur; in 2015 part of the feature collapsed during an earthquake and killed several guides and tourists in its vicinity.
For more information about the rock climbing on Mt. Kinabalu, check out Reel Rock’s The Sensei film.
Happy Friday, and be safe out there this weekend.
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