First Ascents

Monday, December 31, 2007

I love climbing first ascents. The first new route I put up was a grungy 5.5 rock climb at Old Rag in Virginia. Though nothing to write home about, that experience sparked a love for new route development. New routing at Old Rag was a lot of work, but very rewarding. Long hikes in with heavy packs, bushwhacking, poison ivy, and lichen everywhere. My prized contribution of the routes I established there was a steep slab -- maybe 85+ degrees -- and climbed to a pinnacle on top of a buttress on the flanks of the mountain. I had to clean a swath of lichen and then really work to get the send. When completed, the route was dubbed Sunburn 5.11d.

Later on a
t the New River Gorge in WV I participated in a new route explosion where, in the end, almost 150 new routes were established and a new guidebook was written. That was great fun putting in new lines with great friends at an area many of my climbing heros helped to establish.

Today, living in New Hampshire, I still covet first ascents, but route development has slowed somewhat for me. So, this past weekend I bolted a new mixed route in New Hampshire with my good friend Jim. The route is steep and quite sustained, and is situated in a gorgeous location (but I won't yet say where!). The holds are small and delicate, and the pump-factor is high. More info and photos coming soon...