Pringle Succeeds on Cobra Crack: 3rd ascent

"Great Success Gypsy! The Cobra Crack is complete! Yes, the world continues to turn. President Bush is still the leader of the “free world”, 37 year old Kelly Slater has just about clenched his 9th world title, and the roads are constantly changing here in Squamish, but yesterday the earth stopped spinning for a moment so that I could climb the Cobra Crack "

Writes the USA climber Ethan Pringle after completing the third ascent of Canada's Cobra Crack (

Cobra Crack first climbed free by Sonnie Trotter two years ago is a perfect finger crack, 30 metres long and situated on the overhanging headwall of the Cirque of the Uncrackables, Squamish Chief. Trotter gave it solid 5.14, around French 8c, and this was confirmed by the Belgium climber Nicolas Favresse who made the second ascent in July this year. (UKC news report)

Trotter describes Cobra Crack as having,

".......huge dynamic throws between one- and two-finger locks; pain is ever-present, and the mental crux is overlooking the pain move after move. The redpoint crux comes over the lip on a slippery side pull; the feet are next to nothing, and it takes momentum and a huge throw to latch the final edge, at which point you're about 15 to 20 feet about your last piece of gear—it's really exciting.”

Ethan Pringle is having a fabulous year climbing. He recently repeated another Canadian testpiece, Sonnie Trotter's The Path 5.14 R (UKC news report) and is making good progress on Chris Sharma's Dream Catcher (5.14d/9a) also at Squamish, which he has been working in tandem with Cobra Crack.

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17 Aug, 2008
well done to him!!!
17 Aug, 2008
Mick, sorry if I am exhibiting enormous ignorance here, but has Ethan established many of his own routes? I generally hear about him on other people's (especially Sharma's - e.g. Es Pontas, Realization, the monster project at Clark Mountain etc.), but appreciate that this may be a skewed perspective.
18 Aug, 2008
A bit of pedantry: your use of the word headwall is rather misleading (was it cut and paste from a Dumbarton news item?). The Cirque of the Uncrackables is a crag structured in a way that would be recognisable to Brits as an 'edge' ... the routes are single-pitch and all of similar length, the crag is wider than it is tall and there's a path along the base. A headwall implies to me a wall that caps a lower face (c.f The Salathe Headwall on El Cap). The Cobra is just a continuous crack, though an awesomely steep and perfect one. I hiked up to it two weeks ago and was struck by two things: 1. it's a very long uphill slog to get there, which must be daunting for stick-insects like Ethan Pringle adopting it as a project, 2. despite all the recent attention the crag remains in pristine condition ... just chalk on the crack and a photographer's sling high in a nearby tree.
18 Aug, 2008
i think he is travelling around repeating the world's hardest test pieces....that seems to be his thing atm not first ascents. i think he has got a bit of stick for this which i don't think is justified.
18 Aug, 2008
I ran into Ethan in the Astroman cave in Mallorca last year and he didnt strike me as a stick insect, he just looked annoyingly fit, something he demonstrated a moment later by warming up on Astroman making it look about 6a.
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