Leading Since

$'"■ El - Honnold got his start climbing (and reading Climbing) when

CD EE AlOT O^fi he was just 11 years old, at a gym in California. He's since ntt'OULUlO I J r ^ become renowned for his preternatural ability to keep his

Ol IK/ID CD POni/ I n\fC S C00' on su per-committing solos, such as that of Moonlight OLIIVlDtn, DUUVx LUy tn, Buttress (5.12d, 9 pitches), in Zion, and the Regular North-plQ^Q m ft | Qjp west Face of Half Dome {VI 5,12a, 23 pitches), in Yosemite.

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Ï HOT FLASHES

Daniel Woods The Game
Daniel Woods holding the crux swing on The Game, likely the first V16 in the United States, Boulder Canyon, Colorado.

END GAME

Daniel Woods on his FA of America's first V16

DANIEL WOODS, 20, recently cemented his position as one of the world's strongest bout-derers, completing a V-hard hat trick comprising Terremer (V15) and Desperanza (V15, FA; an extended start to Fred Nicole's Esperanza), both in Hueco Tanks, Texas, and The Came (V16, FA), in Boulder Canyon, Colorado. The Came, the first proposed V16 on American soil, tackles a 25-foot-long, 15-foot-tall prow blasting out over Boulder Creek. The prow sits just off the winding canyon road, so it's little surprise that climbers have attempted the line for years, most notably Dave Graham, who worked it in earnest In 2002 and who first alerted Woods to the line's quality. Woods spent more than two weeks working the problem over the course of two years, finally sending on February 10. —Justin Roth

How many moves is The Game?

[Miming moves] Nine moves to the finishing jug. It has a perfect starting jug and perfect ending jug, with an easy topout.

You put up Jade (VIS) and Terremer. How does The Game compare?

When I put up Jade, at the time it was one of my hardest problems. Definitely Terremer is

V15...it's one of the hardest climbs in Hueco Tanks. And that's how I gauged The Game: I'd just done Terremer, and it went relatively fast. After I completed The Game, I was like, 'this is definitely harder than Terremer.' Is The Game a one-move wonder, like Jadci Definitely not. Every move on The Game is basically the same difficulty, which means it feels harder as you approach the end. Midway through the climb there's a swing-out where you take a right-hand crimp and a left-hand sloping rail-it's on about a 60-degree overhang-and the crux is holding the swing-out. I'd say it's V14 up to and including the swing-out, and then V10 after that, with every move being consistently hard. How did you prepare for The Game? On a flight back [from a trip spent mostly sport climbing in Europe], I thought about projects in Colorado. I thought of The Game-I'd tried it a bit over the years, but could never conceive of doing It.

When I started working it this year, every day l would complete another move. Then ail the moves were down and I had to connect them. I went into the gym to get my fitness super high, and watched what t was eating to get my strength-to-weight ratio high. I also went to Hueco to build strength and get a confidence boost. When you work something for a while, you can get used to thinking maybe it's not possible. That was the key, going back to Hueco and sending Terremer and repeating some of the hard problems I'd done. While working The Game, you broke a hold—were you worried it wouldn't go? Oh yeah, for sure. Each time I went out, I'd organize a couple people to come out and film. I wanted to make sure each try would count because I had other professionals out there doing their jobs. I was warming up, pulled on, and broke the hold. In the end, it took me an hour and a half to find the renewed sequence and do the crux move. I'm really psyched on how It goes now.

It's funny that perhaps America's hardest boulder problem is in Boulder Canyon... Yeah, the style of rock there,..it isn't really steep. And if you find something that's steep, it's hard to find positive holds. On The Game, though, there are finger locks and crimps, and it requires compression, kind of the full package...But Boulder Canyon, in my mind, is a miserable place to climb.

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Chris Sharma Full Package

Adam Ondra on Chris Sharma's (previously) unrepeated Colpe de Bstado (5.15b), Siurana, Spain.

QUICK HITS

Top of the climbing world

■ On March 22, the Basque climber iker Pou nabbed the second ascent of Victimas Perez (5.14d) in Margalef, Spain.

■ On March 17, Joe Kinder, 29, sent Flight of the Conchords located in a 300-foot cave near his home of Hurricane, Utah, after 16 days of cleaning and climbing, suggesting the grade 8c+ (5.14c).

■ In mid March, Austrian Barbara Zangerl, 21, sent her fourth 8b+ (V14), Giuckshormon in the Otztal Alps, Austria. Zangerl is currently the only female to have bouldered this grade.

■Adam Ondra [see photo, above] completed the second ascent of Golpe de Estado (5.15b) in Siurana, Spain, on March 13. Chris Sharma bolted and redpointed the 130-foot line, a direct version of Estado Critico (5.14d), in late 2008,

■ New Zealand climber Mayan Gobat Smith ticked the third ascent of Blood Meridian (5.14a) in Milford Sound, New Zealand,

■ In March, Washington ice climbers Dave Gottlieb and Joe Puryear made the first ascent of Takargo, a 22,215-foot peak in the remote Rolwaling Valley in Nepal.

■ in late February, the Spaniard Daila Ojeda completed her project Fish Eye (5.14b), in Ollana, Spain,

■Alex Puccio made the first female ascent of Tequila Sunrise (V12) during a trip to Hueco Tanks, Texas, in February. She also ticked Diaphanous Sea (V12) and Free Willy (V10).

• In mid February, Alex Honnold repeated Kevin Jorgeson's 45-foot Ambrosia on the enormous Grandpa Peabody boulder. Honnold also found an easier (V10?) sequence through the initial crux, according to Wills Young's bishopbouldering.blogspot.com report.

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Off Route!

Via Ferrata Otztal

"Approach shoes are welcome on this mile-long via ferrata," says the photog Scott Upshur, calling the traverse "a hidden gem in the San Juan range of southwest Colorado."

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"Approach shoes are welcome on this mile-long via ferrata," says the photog Scott Upshur, calling the traverse "a hidden gem in the San Juan range of southwest Colorado."

Overheard

-Big-wall ace Tommy Caldwell, after decking from 40 feet and emerging miraculously unscathed.

Kit makes sense a climber would be a great lover; it's all about the hips..."

—A girl to her boyfriend during her first day climbing on real rock.

til need to buy a good pair of climbing shoes, since I'm going to be climbing V6s..."

~A guy at New York's Brooklyn Boulders, after buying $140 shoes but before having climbed outside.

The Crux

KING AIR

A belayer's day on the Bachar-Yerian

2009: It's an early November morning in Curry Village, Yosemlte. I'm pumping espresso from a percolator and worrying about the day. Alan Came, 49, of the Verdon, France, has his sights on Medlicott Dome's infamous Bachar-Yerian: stout 5.11c, with 13 bolts-including belays-in 600 feet (one 5.6 approach pitch, three pitches of dicey face, and then two 5.8/5.9 pitches along a crack). The B/Y's known for its brittle knobs and epic screamers. Alan will pick me up any minute. This will be our second time climbing together and my second time climbing on the B/Y. The first was in 2001.

! ran into Alan two days before at the Camp 4 boulders. Looking somehow familiar, he sat pretzeled, in loose tights and filled with nervous energy, below a boulder he was trying. Alan has a standout, permanently hyper-psyched face. I said hi.

He quickly pointed out we'd met in the Valley a decade prior. Alan then asked for a belay on the Phoenix, a punishing hngers-to-hands crack and Yosemite's first 5.13.1 joined him the following morning. He hopped on the route, whipped once, and then battled through for a proud second-go send. Next, he floated the steep finger crack Cosmic Debris (5.13b).

Two days later I'm here, nervously sipping coffee, knowing exactly what I'm getting into with the B/Y, a route Supertopo calls "the most psychological test piece in the US." This is the late John Bachar's trademark 1981 climb: it averages three bolts per long pitch and has especially nasty fall potential onto slabby terrain. Alan's an extraordinary climber, but if he falls, he'll hurt himself-or smash into me and potentially knock me out.

The high Sierra air Is thin and cool. We chat during the hike in. "We're following in Bachar's footsteps," Alan says. "No," I respond, "it's more like we're going where Bachar went. I don't think anyone could follow in those footsteps."

After the quick, 60-foot, 5.6 fingers approach pitch, Alan starts up the 5.9 X climbing low on the second pitch, ascending a golden, glacier-polished slab with scant pro. I look right, over to the line of sharp, protruding knobs -archetypical B/Y holds-and tell him he's off route. Alan reverses to head up the real line, but complains horribly of the dirt and lichen-the B/Y ascends a giant, black water streak. I can feel the tension growing as he continues onward, towards a horizontal break marking the start of the first crux, 5.11+, protected with two bolts. After repeatedly attempting the sequence and backing off,

Alan finally jumps off onto the second bolt to relieve his overflowing anxiety, a 15-foot lob onto twin ropes.

With added confidence, he climbs up to pass the second and final bolt, moving into a 30-foot runout. Alan creeps Into the no-fall zone, dropping a slipknot over a feldspar knob.

"You got it!" I holler, though 1 feel like yelling, "Let's come back another day!" Then a foot knob breaks, and Alan's airborne till the slung knob catches. Had it not, he would have nailed the slab below. Relatively unfazed after this sketch 20-footer, Alan gives another go and progresses 20 additional feet to the anchors. I follow, death-gripping - everything feels wrong: my partner's falling on knobs, and no one's around for miles this late in the season.

On P3 Alan again goes left where he should go right He'd rather climb harder terrain on the smaller, gold holds than follow the knobs, A half-hour goes by and Alan's only 25 feet above the belay, with two slung knobs plus a single bolt clipped directly off the anchor. I check his trajectory, determining how I can dodge his falling body but still provide the catch. Irreversibly pumped, he looks down at me and lets go.

It happens fast. One tie-off rips, and then the next. Alan shoots past me. I dodge right, locking off the ropes instinctually. I look down- way down, like 20-plus feet-to Alan. He's slightly inverted but stopped above the slab. Alan crawls back up to the anchor, breathless and complaining of sore ribs. We rap. I feel only relief.

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Alan Carne, knob navigatin' on the harrowing Bachar-Yerian.

f'm sore from catching a combined 70 feet of falls. Afan looks like he survived a car crash. He moves slowly, due to shocked muscles and a displaced rib. I've learned a valuable lesson. Although I love climbing with talented athletes, everyone has their weakness, Alan's-tike probably most of ours-is runout John Bachar knob climbing, — Chris Van Leuven

Six Serious Falls on the B/Y

1.1982: Wolfgang Giillich and Thierry Renault attempt the second ascent. Giil-lich falls 30 feet onto a slung knob (using 5mm cord) on P2, nearly cratering into the slab below.

2. 982: P3, Thierry Renault rakes three consecutive falls—30, 40, 50 feet—attempting to reach the second and third bolts. On his lasc and biggest fall, Renault pulls Giillich up at the anchor so hard Giillich "thrashes" his knuckles badly and is unable to lead P3, The team retreats.

3. 1984; Ed Barry and Kurt Smith. P3, Barry starts downclimbing below the third bolt, located above a 40-foot runout. When a knob breaks, he falls 45 feet before bouncing off Smith's left shoulder and plummeting another 40 feet. During the fall, a slung knob breaks off but remains attached to the sling—the knob nails Barry* Barry is relatively unhurt, while Smith's shoulder nags him for years. They continue, completing the third asccnt (Steve Schneider and Scott Frye made the second ascent, in 1982).

4. 1984; Jerry Moffatt and John Bachar. P4, Moffatt whips 45 feet when a foothold snaps. He quickly finishes the pitch in fading light. Bachar heads up the final cracks in darkness, realizing he's off route and unable to build an anchor—he sits down and simply braces himself as Moffatt follows, none the wiser, making rhe fifth ascent,

5. 1989: Lance Bateman and David Bell. Bell takes a 60-footer off P3 while attempting to downclimb below the third bolt. As he passes the belay, the rope zips over Bell's neck, causing a 15-inch-long burn. A scar remains today,

6. 2001: The author pitches 30-plus feet on P2 while retreating below the third bolt, downclimbed until God ripped me from the wall!" he says. His partner, Tim Kemple, talks him into continuing. The author leads P3 and finds himself committed to the finishing-slab crux; unable to reverse, he sticks the mantle, only to find the finishing holds have snapped off—he squeaks by on adrenaline.

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