The Momentum Video Magazine has posted a clip from Best Of The West of Chris Sharma repeating Fred Nicole’s Hueco Tanks testpiece Esperanza (V14). First climbed in 2001, Esperanza is (by my count) one of the most repeated V14’s in the United States. Beyond the climbing being impressive to watch, the clip sparked a couple of questions in my mind.
First, Esperanza is yet another example of Fred Nicole’s amazing vision and talent.
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Off the top of my head, I am unable to think of any V14 or harder problems in Hueco that were not first climbed by Fred. Why that is, I have no idea. Is everyone busy trying to repeat all of Fred’s hard problems or is there nothing harder out there? Are the regulations getting in the way of exploration?
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Second, I noticed that Esperanza doesn’t top out which got me to thinking: how important is it for a problem to top out? In a lot of cases the top out on a problem is not all that difficult, yet it feels like an integral part of the bouldering experience. Since bouldering is a fairly contrived activity in the first place, topping out seems like a requirement for a problem to be a true classic. Then again, the contrived nature of bouldering also means that we often climb any of the climbable surface on a boulder, even if it doesn’t lead us to the top. I’m confused…