This Week in Climbing

Well, well. If it isn’t the July 4th weekend? Looks like summer is officially here, which means my spring project just became my fall project. No need to bother with actual rock climbing this time of year. So … What to do instead?

I like to get my Jersey-Shore look going, so I spike up my hair with a dab of liquid chalk, and spray-tan as much as possible. The orange hue instantly makes me look like I climb harder—at least that’s what I tell myself.

But if grooming that Jersey-Shore look isn’t your cup of muscle-milk tea, the next best thing might be to geek out with some online climbing spray.

Here’s what’s been happening in the climbing world:


Vail: America’s One World Cup

America gets one World Cup competition a year, which can only mean it’s the biggest and best of all the World Cup competitions and therefore the only one worth paying attention to. For some reason, it takes place in Vail during the mediocre multi-sport circus called the Go Pro Games.

We all assumed that Adam Ondra would dominate the men’s field, and Alex Puccio—who has been bombarding us with one Instagram after another of her hardcore training that appeared to be turning her into a female version of the Hulk—would crush the women like bugs.

Instead, Ondra took third, causing him to throw several temper tantrums back in iso, and Puccio didn’t even get to compete because, sadly, she tore her knee in iso. Serious bummer vibes in iso!   Although this is a huge bummer for the Pooch, the good news is that we can expect to see even more Instagrams of her recovery process, which is probably just as inspiring as watching her win a World Cup … Sort of.        


The surprise victories by the young, up-and-coming Megan Mascarenas, and the strong second-place finish by the barely-out-of-high-school Nathaniel Coleman, brought America all the glory it deserves.

But our favorite part of the World Cup? This video:


Third Day On, Best Day On

After his third-place finish, and shortly before his flight back to Europe, Adam Ondra popped into Rocky Mountain National Park to make an unprecedented flash of Jade (V14).

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 2.39.51 PM

Discovered by Dave Graham in 2001 and first climbed by Daniel Woods in 2007, the problem was initially graded V15. Adam’s flash is almost certainly the hardest to date.

In this video, Graham and several others watched in awe as Adam absolutely owned some of the hardest moves that have ever been done, making those crimps his bitches and locking off like a robot.

The completely ridiculous display of strength prompted a slack-jawed Graham to ask, “Did you think it was hard?”

Adam replied, “Sure.” Awesome.

In five years, no one will remember who won the Vail games, but everyone will remember who made the first flash of Jade. This is why real rock climbing rocks.

Adam Ondra Flashes Jade 8B+ from Sean Morgan on Vimeo.


The Heart of Sandbag

Early summer is always a productive time in the Valley, and the recent free ascent of the Heart Route on El Cap—sort of a direct start to Golden Gate—is a great example. Crack-crushers Mason Earle and Brad Gobright completed this 34-pitch 5.13b on June 17, after seven consecutive days on the wall.

Heart Route 1


Earle graded the crux, sixth pitch 5.13b despite having a V10 sideways dyno  on it.

Hey … wait. Didn’t the Dawn Wall have a V11 sideways dyno that Tommy and Kevin called 5.14d? Something doesn’t quite add up, there. Either Mason is a serious sandbagger or the Dawn Wall is softer than an ice-cream sandwich on Glacier Point in July.

Congrats to Mason and Brad because, all jokes aside, this is a legitimately badass achievement: proud new line, with hard climbing, that climbs through one of El Cap’s most recognizable features.

Brad and Mason, sweet victory at last. Photo: Ben Ditto.
Brad and Mason, sweet victory at last. Photo: Ben Ditto.


Tween Spray

Ashima Shiraishi and Kai Lightner, 14 and 15 years old, respectively, just wrapped up a visit to the Flatanger Cave in Norway, aka, Ondra’s Lair.

Although they appear to have had their sights set on taking down one of the 9a-or-harder routes in the cave, the two youth climbers had to settle for what is everyone else’s distant dream and do some second-try ascents of some 5.14b’s instead.

@kailightner sending Muy Verdes 8c/5.14b Great effort Kai!

A photo posted by Brett Lowell (@brettlowell) on


@ashimashiraishi sending Nordic Flower 8c/5.14b second try! the kids are finding their flow, so impressive. A photo posted by Brett Lowell (@brettlowell) on


Chris Sharma climbs a Redwood tree in Eureka, CA, USA on 18 May, 2015.
Photo: Keith Ladzinski / Red Bull Content Pool


Jumbo Wood

Fresh off the early spring send of El Bon Combat, a potential 5.15b/c, Chris Sharma has moved on to top-roping big trees in the Redwood forest.

It’s easy to see how someone could get bored of bagging amazing first ascents on perfect Spanish limestone year after year, so this certainly seems like a natural progression.

Jared Leto, some actor, is now climbing

“Did you hear that Sasha DiGiulian is in Rifle today with Jared Leto?” someone said the other week.

“That’s cool,” I said. “But who the fuck is Jared Leto?”

@jaredleto sent the climb! @vailmtn #GoPro @mountaingamesvail @gopro #proudcoach   A photo posted by Sasha DiGiulian (@sashadigiulian) on

Apparently he’s an actor, and a famous one at that. The thing that probably makes him a big deal to us is that he has been spending his last week climbing with the likes of Sasha, Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnold and Renan Ozturk. Those are the real stars!

We’re looking forward, if skeptically, to seeing Leto’s upcoming film that we assume will have some kind of climbing in it. Despite being trained by some of the very best, we’re also pretty sure that this will be yet another hatchet-job bastardization of climbing by Hollywood.  



We get it! You’re in Céüse and we’re not! Stop rubbing it in our fat faces!

Matty Hong dispatched Le Cadre Nouvelle Version, also climbed by Jonathan Siegrest a month prior. The line resides in the Biographie sector of Céüse.

J-Star described the line as, “A little bit of everything,” adding that a “classic power move kept me coming back,” foiling his redpoint attempts despite continuously sticking it off the dog.


Others are in Céüse, too. We know because they post about it. Every. Freakin’. Day.

Not that we’re jelly …


Lama. Beamer. Baller.

When David Lama isn’t buzzing around Cerro Torre in helicopters, he’s rolling up to da’ glacier in a fresh, new Beamer. Here, he stars in BMW’s latest campaign, #BMWstories and/or #MeinWegDorthin, whatever that means.

Leo Houlding was (is?) sponsored by Audi, so this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a luxury car company stoking out a climber. The obvious next step is for General Motors to set up to the plate and sponsor an American climber.

For example, we think James Lucas, AKA the “Last Dirtbag,” whose Saturn died last year, should get a brand-new Buick. No Sprinter for Peaches just yet.

Signs of the Apocalypse …

Nike is jumping into the climbing-shoe market with this prototype shoe.


To get a pair, expect to camp outside of your local REI a few nights before their release and pay a lot of extra money because, they’re “limited.” Don’t take them out of the box, save them for a few years. Then re-sell them on ebay.

Finally, Google has made it so that you don’t even need to leave your computer to climb the Nose. On second thought, that might be a good thing. Maybe it’ll be less crowded this year …

Probably not, though. Probably not.



Disclaimer: This Week in Climbing may not appear every. Also, not every story actually happened “this week.”  

Additional “reporting” by Andrew Bisharat.

  • Jon Yahr

    a buick for peaches! a bathtub for fritz!

    keep up the writing booch!