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.
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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.
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At least that is what I think, let me know your thoughts in the comments.
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If you want to read more here are two early reports
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.