With the Horsetooth Hang taking place this past weekend at the Horsetooth Reservoir it was a perfect opportunity for some of the Frontrange’s elite to try and tackle the longstanding unrepeated problem Meathook put up by Jim Holloway* in the 1970’s. Several climbers gave it a brief effort with the consensus seeming to be that the problem is both quite hard and not that fun at the same time. There is a currently a debate taking place on Jamie Emerson’s blog that is quite interesting at it displays a couple different viewpoints on the matter. You can read a different viewpoint here.
I think that all climbers have encountered this sort of scenario (or one similar to it) at one point or another. You try a problem…it’s pretty hard for you, the movement is a bit contrived, it’s not really your style and the problem doesn’t feel fun to work on. I think in most cases people would move on to something else and nobody would think any different. It’s just that in the case of Meathook it is a problem that has sat unrepeated for 30 years in an area with the highest concentration of strong climbers in probably the entire country. I know that if I encountered a problem with a vague start, reachy moves even for those 6′ tall, sharp holds, eliminate moves and I wasn’t sure if all the holds were even still on the problem, I probably wouldn’t want to try it much either.
I think that while it is en vogue to bash elite Frontrange climbers (sometimes deservedly, sometimes not), it would be interesting to see what the reaction would be if they threw themselves at a contrived and confusing problem solely because of its reputed difficulty (to pad their 8a.spew spraysheets of course).
*For more background on Jim Holloway and his trio of unrepeated problems, check out a post I had in July about a Climbing magazine interview with him.