Saturday, August 30, 2008

FFA and "The World's Hardest" 5.8

Just after the first free ascent of 'Deliverance' (5.12) (Don't worry, it wasn't on toprope!)

Last December, I "discovered" this line on the North face of Looking Glass Rock as a potential free route. It was an aid route put up in the 90's by Jeff Burton called 'Squeal like a Pig', and then forgotten for the most part because it wasn't included in the guidebook and because it is in an area of mostly difficult aid lines. After cleaning the route and replacing an older bolt at the crux, I came so close to freeing it- but then the weather got shitty and the peregrine closures went into effect. After waiting six months for the peregrine closure to lift, I was psyched and ready to send. After a few failed attempts, I finally linked all the moves for the first free ascent and dubbed the first pitch 'Deliverance' (5.12?) I think that besides the A0 through a roof on the second pitch, this route might go free to the top (maybe one of you 5.14ers could figure that section out). I hope to work on the upper pitches this Fall.

Typical gear spacing on Laurel Knob.
"Worlds Hardest" 5.8

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I wanted to take a 'quick jaunt' up Laurel Knob so we picked one of the easier routes, Seconds (5.8) which we figured would be easy and enjoyable compared to the 5.10s we had done there. To make a long story short, I think we may have found a new candidate for the world's hardest 5.8. The climbing, however sandbagged, was excellent and it truly is a classic Laurel Knob experience- great rock, long runouts and sustained climbing for 900'. Just tell yourself it is 5.8 and you will be fine.

-Brian Williams