Since I have barely been able to budge in my quest to rise up the climbing grading scales for several years now, I’m always fascinated by climbers who seem to defy logic and show rapid progression, particularly at the high end of the scale. Two such recent examples are Ben Spannuth and Jeremy Zachariash.
It’s been a pretty incredible 2nd half of the year for Colorado’s Ben Spannuth as he’s rocketed up the grading scale. He made headlines a couple of months ago with his repeat of Sharma’s Era Bella (5.14d) during his trip to Spain, his first of the grade. Back on U.S. soil he hasn’t slowed down as evidenced by his repeat of Grand Ol’ Opry (5.14b)1 at the Monastery in Colorado which he completed shortly before setting out for Kentucky’s Red River Gorge.
Looking at Spannuth’s 8a.nu scorecard we can see his trip the Red has been even more productive with multiple 5.13d flashes and a single day where he managed to send neighboring 5.14cs in Southern Smoke and Fifty Words For Pump with a late day send of Omaha Beach (5.14a) thrown in for good measure. Climbing.com has a bit more on his big day in this update.
Another climber who has rapidly progressed up the difficulty scale is Jeremy Zachariash. In just the past couple of months he’s improved his hardest repdoint from 5.13c to 5.14c according to his 8a scorecard with a slew of repeats mainly at Little Si, WA. In the span of two days at Little Si he repeated Pornification (5.14a) and Whore Of Bablyon (5.14b) in addition to the 2nd ascent of Jonathan Siegrist’s New World Order (5.14c). Not bad for someone who according to their scorecard has only been climbing since 2007.