UKC

World's First D16 by Gordon McArthur - Storm Giant

© Philip Quade

Canadian ice and drytool climber Gordon McArthur has established the world's first D16 in a cave near his home in Cranbrook, British Columbia according to a report by Rock and Ice. Gordon named the line Storm Giant, which climbs 80 metres through a steep roof with over 50 bolts for protection. The route took Gordon three years in total to clean, bolt and eventually climb.

Following a tip-off from a friend, Gordon began work on the line, which was in a typically chossy state as a potential drytool crag and a no-go for sport climbers. Despite being intimidated by the route initially, Gordon devoted himself to reaching 'the finish line' - often approaching in winter by car, snowmobile and on foot through deep snow - and with specific training and repeated attempts, he started to believe it was possible.

'For some reason, standing in front of a giant, I had the confidence that maybe I could beat it. Like David standing in front of Goliath, he had the confidence to defy all reasoning, to believe he could win, that he was unstoppable,' he wrote in a blog post.

The length and physicality of the climb meant that on many unsuccessful attempts, Gordon would spend nearly an hour on the route, meaning that just one attempt per day was possible. When he finally completed it on 17th August, he managed to cut the time down to around 45 minutes.

Regarding the groundbreaking grade, Gordon claims he was reluctant to put a new number on the line. Having been on Tom Ballard's 50-metre A Line Above the Sky D15 in the Tomorrow's World cave in the Italian Dolomites, Gordon used this to gauge the difficulty of Storm Giant, which has now overtaken Tom's line in both difficulty and length as the world's hardest and longest drytool route.

Today I slayed the giant. A journey to say the least. 3 years, trying, failing. What seemed impossible turned into a discovery of how far I could push my body. Over 80 meters of upside down climbing, clipping 50+ draws, and after 45 minutes of climbing today...i clipped the chains. So surreal. I'm so grateful to every single person that shared this journey...friends, my family (for the unwavering support)...to all those who belayed me...my amazing sponsors...what is the biggest drytooling route in the world...this was for all you too. What a day...WHAT A DAY!!!! more to come later. Now it's time to celebrate. @scarpana @outdoorresearch @petzl_official @ospreypacks @julbousa @wigwamsocks @highcountrysports @stokecoldpressedjuicery #krukonogi @clifbar @philip_quade took this photo...its perfect.

A post shared by Gordon McArthur (@gord_mcarthur) on

Gordon told Rock and Ice: 'I had to be bold with my suggested grade of D16. The Storm Giant is longer, filled with a mix of everything…I gave the grade but this year, this route became so much more than a grade. It became more so about me pushing myself further than ever before.'

Aside from establishing new dry-tool routes, Grodon also represents Canada on the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup circuit and achieved a personal best of 4th place in a round in 2014.

Gordon is sponsored by: Clif Bar, High Country Sports, Julbo, Krukonogi, Osprey, Outdoor Research, Petzl, Scarpa and Wigwam Socks


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4 Sep, 2017
FTFY. :)
4 Sep, 2017
I wouldn't say boring. I'm sure it could be a lot of fun and a real challenge. It does leave me cold though, and the reason I attribute that to is that it seems very contrived. I put it in a similar bracket to race walking, or synchronised diving. No doubt extremely difficult, but not an obvious direction for most to channel natural ability and years of training. Not knocking anyone who chooses to do it though - I've certainly done plenty of things in climbing that I wouldn't expect others to enjoy - but that's the way it comes across to me.
4 Sep, 2017
Must be at least the second ascent as someone has left their quick draws behind!
4 Sep, 2017
Having done loads of dry tooling myself I can't help but somewhat agree with you John and other opinions above. It seems silly that drytooling has lost its original sense of purpose, which is training to go and do hard stuff in winter, not in the middle of August... However, knowing Gordon personally, I'm happy for his achievement, whether it's considered training or climbing in its own right.
4 Sep, 2017
Wasn't bouldering just training, before it got a life of it's own? Not that I'm here to defend bouldering. :)
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