Beth Rodden Climbs 5.14 Crack In Yosemite

Beth Rodden on her Optimist 5.14b

I know this has been reported elsewhere, but for those that haven’t seen it yet Beth Rodden (pictured at right on her FA of The Optimists 5.14b at Smith Rocks, OR) has done the first ascent of a possible mid 5.14 crack climb in Yosemite, CA. The 70 foot crack went down after 4 months of effort this winter and apparently lots of cross training shoveling snow off the route.

If confirmed at mid 5.14, this could be the hardest trad route in the world climbed by a female (or male for that matter). It should be interesting to see if her husband Tommy Caldwell tries to repeat it now that she has done the FA and if others will line up to try it as well.

Obviously this is a great accomplishment, but I am troubled by the grade speculation that is in the Alpinist article:

Rodden has not proposed a grade, but if it is 5.14c, which some have suggested, the ascent likely makes her the first woman to climb that difficulty on traditional gear.

I think it would be more responsible if they simply refrained from speculating on specific letter grades until others have climbed the line; say that the route is hard and most likely 5.14 and leave it at that. Especially with a climb of this nature that undoubtedly requires very specific hand/finger size along with the other factors affecting the difficulty it is kind of pointless to speculate. At least that is what I think, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

If you want to read more here are two early reports

Alpinist

UK Climbing

and I would expect that we will see a lot more news in upcoming magazines.

Update:  Big Up was there to film the ascent.  Check out the Big Up Blog for A LOT more info.

Posted In: From The Narc, News, Traditional Climbing
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15 Responses to Beth Rodden Climbs 5.14 Crack In Yosemite

  1. zonk March 7, 2008 at 1:21 pm #

    what is it with climbing reporters? i may just rant about this in a post.

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  2. tbwilsonky March 7, 2008 at 3:52 pm #

    general fyi the speculative grade (5.14c) also showed up in a La Sportiva email ad this afternoon.

    speculation on grades doesn’t bother me much. i tend to speculate on the difficulty of lines i haven’t completed: “v4 start to v6 traverse and then the crux ‘feels’ like v8” . in fact, i think my speculative grades tend to be closer to the ‘real’ (lol) grade because most problems feel substantially easier when everything clicks and you find yourself on top of the boulder. and if we’re honest about how grades get cemented, quite a bit of it is the sum total of multiple speculations. by that i mean it’s hard for me to grade a problem (especially a project) without considering prior speculation. in fact, MY opinion (after having sent) is a sort of ex-post-facto speculation in and of itself.

    in the case of the climbing media, they almost HAVE to speculate on the grade lest their content lack the ‘OMFG NO WAY!-ishness’ required to sell their rag. plus, tracking pro spray without numbers is…well… not tracking pro-spray.

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  3. eddie March 7, 2008 at 4:34 pm #

    i think the community should move to the +/- rating…letter grades are too subjective and often just the ammunition many spraymasters shouldn’t have at their disposal.

    i smell a poll…..

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  4. Tony March 7, 2008 at 5:30 pm #

    I don’t think that the line will be repeated anytime soon, because the article certainly didn’t make the line sound that appealing, with the wetness and all.

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  5. Zonk March 7, 2008 at 6:13 pm #

    i don’t mind grade speculation per se. this case isn’t so bad.

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  6. scrappyv14 March 7, 2008 at 11:09 pm #

    Hey eddie, if we moved to the +/- system how would it affect my 8a.nu score? 🙂

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  7. rjtrials March 8, 2008 at 6:21 pm #

    I heard a rumor that this was a Kauk project. Evidently the next rig after Magic Line.

    Can anybody confirm/deny??

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  8. Tony March 8, 2008 at 7:49 pm #

    Alpinist says in their article that he had tried it after Magic Line but never got the redpoint.

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  9. Climbing Narcissist March 9, 2008 at 6:35 pm #

    yeah eddie…what would happen to your new scorecard 🙂

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  10. gabor March 9, 2008 at 6:49 pm #

    thats pretty crazy.. 8c+ trad. props to her. who cares if the route is 5.14c, 5.14b, 5.14+, 5.14-, either way its an incredible achievement

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  11. Luke March 10, 2008 at 1:37 pm #

    A bit more info and some photos from the Big UP Blog.

    http://bigupproductions.blogspot.com/2008/03/meltdown.html

    “Ron Kauk placed anchor bolts on the line about 10 years ago, but other than some efforts by him it was completely virgin – no other fixed gear, no pin scars, no evidence of ever having been aided.”

    “After about 10 sessions of working it on top-rope Tommy was never able to figure out the moves. I would say that means it’s nasty.”

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  12. peter March 10, 2008 at 6:52 pm #

    interesting that the shoe designed to be the “solution to modern bouldering problems” is apparetly the “solution to futuristic trad climbs”

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