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.
I'm always fired up with new training ideas. Working with my coach, his idea was the farmers carry. But modified to mimic specific strengths needed. The idea was to build more finger power (grip strength) for holding onto my ice axe...for longer. Way longer. There are so many big hits on my mega project that my fingers need to be able to take constant abuse. And not fail. So...this is how we work on this...specifically-Grab a small bar...like that of a handle from an ice axe...add a ton of weight...and hold off the ground...with an open handed grip. @petzl_official @scarpana @outdoorresearch @clifbar @wigwamsocks @julbousa @ospreypacks @ascensionfitness
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.
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.
This is the moment I had dreamed of for years. Pushing to my absolute, and then pushing harder. It still seems so surreal, knowing I defeated the giant. So many thanks for all those that kept the Faith, all the belays, and of course the unwavering encouragements. My family, friends, coach, all of you...we did it. @philip_quade put this short clip together, capturing the emotional ending. @petzl_official @scarpana @outdoorresearch @clifbar @wigwamsocks @stokecoldpressedjuicery @highcountrysports