/ NEWS: Caldwell climbs 9a trad pitch on El Cap

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UKC News - on 18 Dec 2013
Mescalito/Dawn Wall project topo, 2 kbTommy Caldwell has managed what could be the hardest pitch of the Mescalito/Dawn wall project on El Cap, Yosemite.
The pitch in question is #15, the second traverse pitch, and according to Tommy it weighs in around 14d/9a. This means it's the hardest single pitch in the valley, and also by all...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68593
Mark Collins - on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to UKC News:

This news is only about an hour old, and its almost disappeared off your front page. Sounds like it should be getting more prominence, ah stuff it! Got nowt to do with UKC, happening on t'other side of the World. Who says we're not an island nation, respect!
puppythedog on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to Mark Collins:

Are you thinking of having a go when you're over there? :-)
To be honest I didn't realise he hadn't done all of the pitches individually, just that he hadn't been able to do them in a hit.
Mark Collins - on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to puppythedog:

Yeah, probably go and kick the tyres of it, call it an eliminate, and go hunt out a tasty VS :-)
Offwidth - on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to puppythedog:

I think he has done all the moves not all the pitches. The project is truely mad in scale and difficulty so good on him for banging away with real prospects of completion.
puppythedog on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

I'm in awe of what Tommy Caldwell does and this is no different. It's easy to forget, in the world that has had a 9a onsight (or two) and with 9b+ as an excepted current upper limit, that 9a is a serious achievement for anyone. (I think Gresh climbed 8c recently and I'm totally impressed with that)
9a half way up that project is astonishing, astonishing!
The Pylon King on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to UKC News:

Isn't 9a a sport grade?
puppythedog on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

My understanding is that it is applied to none bolt protected routes too and that it is just the grade but that routes are largely bolt protected in many other parts of the world. We use it as a sport grade or course and I doubt Tommy's pitches are devoid of bolts, just not where gear is useful.
abarro81 - on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to UKC News:
Awesome.
Michael Gordon - on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> The project is truely mad in scale and difficulty so good on him for banging away with real prospects of completion.

or as the article says, at least real prospects of freeing each pitch? To climb it all free, in a one-er, well...
JLS on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

>"To climb it all free, in a one-er, well..."

I suspect that in forty years time, after the invention of Stick-o-matic shoes and gloves, the grand kids will be wondering why Tommy had such a hard time on this route.
In reply to The Pylon King:
> Isn't 9a a sport grade?

Nope.
But you knew that didn't you.
Post edited at 23:28
Smith42 on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Give Ondra two years for a one day ascent. (and that's cos he is concentrating on comps next year!)
Ramon Marin - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

Trad climbs in europe get sport grades
Offwidth - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to Smith42:

This is massive, super sustained, quite bold, specialist trad. Ondra, star that he is, simply doesnt have a hope of acheiving that if Tommy who is arguably the world's best on this terrain is taking so long.
Mr Lopez - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Yeah, it's not like Ondra was climbing 8c alpine muti-pitches with 20m runouts back when he was 15. Oh, wait a second...
johncoxmysteriously - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to Mr Lopez:

Yes, I suspect betting against Ondra achieving anything at all in climbing if he puts his mind to it is probably not a very sensible economic proposition.

Shame we'll never find out, really (well, probably, anyway).

jcm
adam 24 - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to UKC News:

Incredible effort! What a massive undertaking to just reach the pitch, let alone start working the moves and links...

KJ's topo mentions lots of pitches are protected by copperheads, are these the same things as DMM IMPs?
1poundSOCKS - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to adam 24: Not the same, you only place a copperhead once, bash it in and the soft head deforms (I think, no expert). I don't think they have much strength compared to regular trad gear.
John2 - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Caldwell certainly seems to have made a quick recovery from the horrific incident when the haul bag fell.
Offwidth - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to Mr Lopez:

I'm not denying he might be able to do it but I do think given the other wads that have been involved that if he did it wouldn't happen in anything like the timescale you describe. I guess I thought your hero worship was just a bit too gushing and as such inadvertantly belittled the efforts made so far.
The Pylon King on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to Ramon Marin:
> Trad climbs in europe get sport grades

weird.

That sounds like a right old dysfunctional system.
Post edited at 17:24
Mr Lopez - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Dude... You on drugs?
Ian Parsons - on 20 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

Hi Mark. It's an obvious question, but - humour me - what's a "sport grade"? Could you give us an example? (Yes - I realise you only tossed that in as bait, so I've bitten!)
Michael Gordon - on 20 Dec 2013
In reply to Ian Parsons:

A grade given to sport routes presumably?
The Pylon King on 20 Dec 2013
In reply to Ian Parsons:

F6a+
1poundSOCKS - on 20 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King: That's a very UK centric view, most bolted climbs in the UK have a French grade, and that's probably why people see it as a sport grade. In the US and Europe they just have grades. The boundaries between sport and trad climbing seem to be bit more blurred also, especially in Europe. Even on trad climbs, if there's no natural pro, they tend to place a bolt.

The Pylon King on 20 Dec 2013
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:


How very strange!

How on earth can you grade a trad route with just a single number?

Sounds like the rest of the world should catch up with the UK and use our trad grading system.
1poundSOCKS - on 20 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King: Amazing!!! It's a number and a letter anyway. :)

Ian Parsons - on 20 Dec 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> A grade given to sport routes presumably?

That certainly sounds logical; but it also sounds exclusive, and in that context I can't actually think of one - ie a type of grade that, universally, is only applied to sport routes.
Ian Parsons - on 20 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

> F6a+

Ah - I see; you mean like this:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=152504?

Not sure about the references to cams, though!
Michael Gordon - on 20 Dec 2013
In reply to Ian Parsons:

probably more sporting without the cams!
Michael Gordon - on 20 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

> How very strange!

> How on earth can you grade a trad route with just a single number?

> Sounds like the rest of the world should catch up with the UK and use our trad grading system.

I quite agree
andrewmcleod - on 20 Dec 2013
In reply to UKC News:
There is the 'danger' grade also given (sometimes) for US trad climbs?

If most trad climbs in a country are well-protected (e.g. long cracks by cams), then presumably French grades would fine, and you just make a note in the description (or the 'danger' grade of how runout/exposed the route is.

If the tendency is to bolt anything that cannot be well-protected, or to put a bolt in run-out hard sections, then again since everything is well-protected French grades are fine.

It may be our insistence on doing climbs with only one piece of gear 40% of the way up, with the crux at the top, is a peculiarly British thing? I don't know.
Post edited at 21:47
Robert Durran - on 20 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

> How on earth can you grade a trad route with just a single number?

A UK adjectival grade (equivalent to a number).
Offwidth - on 21 Dec 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Anyhow grades and pre-adolescent musings on what a favorite top trump card climber might be able to do aside. Tommy is getting on with it and is seriously impressing his high performing peers, lets hope he succeeds and soon climbs the hardest trad route in the world.
The Pylon King on 21 Dec 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

> Anyhow grades and pre-adolescent musings on what a favorite top trump card climber might be able to do aside. Tommy is getting on with it and is seriously impressing his high performing peers, lets hope he succeeds and soon climbs the hardest trad route in the world.

Yes, with a proper grade.
seankenny - on 21 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

> Yes, with a proper grade.

Clearly, American climbing is crying out for you to get over there and single-handedly change their grading system.
Mr Lopez - on 21 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
>
> [...]
>
> Yes, with a proper grade.

Scottish VS

Ian Parsons - on 21 Dec 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> probably more sporting without the cams!

Indeed; with (quite possibly) no fixed gear and a smooth-sided parallel crack you might either have to be skilled at placing passive gear in that type of situation or run it out for a full pitch. Definitive F6a+, in fact!
ads.ukclimbing.com
The Pylon King on 21 Dec 2013
In reply to Mr Lopez:

Yes exactly!! :)
In reply to seankenny:

> Clearly, American climbing is crying out for you to get over there and single-handedly change their grading system.

And the Norwegians/Swedes/Finns. But then what do they know about trad climbing either?
seankenny - on 21 Dec 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Nothing, they should stick to social democracy, smelly old jumpers and grisly murder stories. Scandies, eh?!
The Pylon King on 21 Dec 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> And the Norwegians/Swedes/Finns. But then what do they know about trad climbing either?

dont they just bolt everything?
Robert Durran - on 21 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

> dont they just bolt everything?

Not yet...... I assume the "no bolts" notice in about 10 languages is still at the bottom of Stetind. The Norwegians seem to still have a refreshingly strong anti-bolt ethic.

Robert Durran - on 21 Dec 2013
In reply to seankenny:

> Clearly, American climbing is crying out for you to get over there and single-handedly change their grading system.

I suggested such a change to the then president of the AAC (Jim Donini) when I bumped into him at Indian Creek; that a presidential executive order to switch to the UK system would be in order. Seems I failed in my persuasion....
Morgan Woods - on 21 Dec 2013
In reply to Smith42:

> Give Ondra two years for a one day ascent. (and that's cos he is concentrating on comps next year!)

Can we get over this reducto ad Ondra ie mention any climbing achievement and say that it is just waiting to be improved upon by him?
Ian Parsons - on 21 Dec 2013
In reply to Morgan Woods:

> Can we get over this reducto ad Ondra ie mention any climbing achievement and say that it is just waiting to be improved upon by him?

It's "reductio". But otherwise I tend to agree. Although we might both, of course, be wrong. Which would be quite exciting!
In reply to The Pylon King:

> dont they just bolt everything?

Nope. But you knew that didn't you.
In reply to Robert Durran:
> The Norwegians seem to still have a refreshingly strong anti-bolt ethic.

Well, except for where they don't; Baugen rap route, descent of the Svolvaer Goat, off the Moysten block on Stetind, all the raps of Eidetind etc. and that's leaving aside all the actual sport routes.
Post edited at 23:55
The Pylon King on 22 Dec 2013
In reply to TobyA:

No i didnt actually.
AlanLittle - on 22 Dec 2013
In reply to Morgan Woods:

> Can we get over this reducto ad Ondra ie mention any climbing achievement and say that it is just waiting to be improved upon by him?

I would have thought speculating about the world's best sport climber's chances on the world's hardest trad climb(*) was very much preferable to pointless wibbling about grading systems.

* probably

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