Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Top 5 Climbing Routes I've Led

A look back on some of my favorite climbing routes that I've led. For all my book blogging friends here is a handy list of climbing terminology. (It's missing a few terms but I'll look for a better list soon).
  1. Bathtub Mary
    As my first 5.11a send, this climb will always be special. I’m not sure I could think of a more perfect climb. It has everything, perfect pockets, to a slabby crux, then gently overhanging crimps, a giant sit-down rest inside a hueco and then overhanging jugs to the chains. If you don’t love this route you don’t love climbing.
  2. Mona Lisa Overdrive
    I don’t think this is considered a “classic” but I felt in love with it the first time I climbed it. It starts with a boulder problem on small pocket holds with a very distinct sequence, then goes into a hueco rest (I love sit down rests). You can stem out of the hueco, then it’s juggy climbing all the way to the top. It doesn’t hurt that it’s in the middle of the sun soaked golden wall known as Solar Collector.
  3. Heresy (still a project for me)The only non-Red River Gorge route on the list. It’s the hardest grade I’ve led, with a slabby sloper crux that’s well protected that you can fling yourself up it. Then it goes into a horizontal roof with holds so large you can wedge your leg inside of them.
  4. Bongo (trad)
    I don’t lead much trad, but this 5.6 was just fun. It was my first trad onsight, with lots of jugs, some crack climbing and a hollow drum-like “bongo” that gives the route it’s name.
  5. Yellow Brick Road
    I love slab climbing. I also hate slab leading because it’s terrifying. When you climb vertical or overhanging routes, falling is fun. You fall into open air without any consequences. Slab is different. When you fall, because it’s less than vertical, your chances of slamming into the wall is much higher. Yellow Brick Road is a route that I walked by and thought “I need to climb that.”  I even voluntarily hung the draws, then bolt to bolted the nerve wracking line. It included the most nerve-wrecking clip of my life. The first time on this route, I cheated my way through the crux. Next time I went back, hung the draws and did the climb beautifully. 

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