In the past week or so both Brion Voges and Sam Davis have added their names to the list of people who have repeated the iconic Fred Nicole testpiece Esperanza (V14) in Hueco Tanks.
Davis, who blogs regularly from his life where he seems to be constantly climbing somewhere awesome, had previously climbed a handful of V13s1 before doing Esperanza as his first V14.
Voges also did the first repeat of Daniel Woods’ House of Doom (V13). See footage of Voges on Esperanza and a few other problems here.
As an aside, the last time I posted about a person repeating Esperanza someone made a comment with the opinion that repeats of Esperanza are no longer “news”. Indeed, by my count the problem has been climbed almost 20 times which is probably a world record for the most repeated V14 in America. However, in thinking about this over the course of a couple of weeks I realized that I still find repeats of this particular problem interesting for a couple of reasons.
Esperanza has to be one of the most accessible V14s in the entire U.
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S. Despite the restrictions in place in Hueco, the problem sits smack dab in the middle of one of the most popular and most visited climbing areas in the world.
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The cave it resides in, the so-called Martini Cave, is one of the most popular areas in Hueco itself. Due to the nature of the climb basically all the holds are touchable from the ground offering anyone the chance to get a feel for the problem. The reaction that myself and most people have after feeling the holds and seeing the angle: Holy sh*t, people can climb this?
So, in light of these facts the idea that such a tiny fraction of the greater climbing population, which must number in the hundreds of thousands, can climb this problem still interests me. And even if a problem like Esperanza has been climbed “a lot”, it still represents an interesting level of progression for anyone who climbs it.
So are repeats of Esperanza worth sharing going forward? To me they are, so I guess I’ll keep doing so.
- Including his FA last year of Crown Royal which is also in Hueco ↩
Hell yeah! Mad props to both of them . . . seems like it was just a matter of getting back to Hueco for Voges.
Completely agree with you on this Narc. I think a little perspective is lost when nearly all the bouldering news is about V14 and V15 boulder problems. The prevalence of these climbs becomes a bit skewed in our head and all of a sudden they just aren’t that cool anymore. When you stop to think about it, there are so few climbers that have multiple V14’s under their belt, it’s amazing there are as many news worthy climbs as it is. Days are gone most weeks without a “news worthy” ascent. If not for Ondra, Woods, Koyamada, Robinson and a handful of others, we’d be more likely discussing whether to more often report V13s than V14s.
Yes indeed, props to them. And also, I just thought I’d throw this out there: I used to have about thirty climbing blogs in my reader, and at some point I realized all they did was obscure the one source of climbing news I *always* wanted to check out: the Narc. So I erased all the others, and somehow I still feel like I’m always well informed of what’s going on in the climbing world. All this to say that if you think the 20th ascent of Esperanza is news, well, then it IS news. knowaddamean? Also, never having been to Hueco myself, your clarifications about the problem are very welcome. I get a bit of news, and some anecdotal info added. Keep it up!
One thing that makes ascents of Esperanza and other “commonly” climbed benchmark problems interesting as news is that now it’s often (although not always) somewhat lesser-known climbers doing them, and guys breaking in to the upper grades. I think it’s good to publicize ascents by up-and-coming boulderers like Voges, Davis, Dan Beall, etc. so not every news piece is the latest cutting-edge climb from Woods/Robinson/Ondra/Hukkataival/Graham/etc. (those stories are awesome of course, but it’s good to balance them with some other content).
20 ascents? I guess I’ll go with the ‘not newsworthy’ category myself. It’s a great achievement for the climber, but when you got numerous guys a season doing it, it loses the mystique. Sort of like watching the 9th vid of Haroun and the Sea of Stories.
This is definitely still newsworthy. Don’t let all the Adam Ondra hype spoil the fact that 99.99999% of the world can’t do something this difficult!
I think its also cool to see these guys’ progression, even if their ascents don’t have quite the headline-grabbing difficulty of Woods, Ondra, Robinson, etc. That way when one of them does do something truly cutting edge, we can all think “wow good for them its been a long time coming” rather than “wait why have I never heard of this person.”