I have been climbing for nearly a decade and this past week I had done (or attempted to do!) something I have never done before. No, it wasn't my first 8b boulder problem or sending my hardest sport route, it was something much more meaningful. I had tried a boulder problem that has not been climbed before. It seems like every week we hear about these amazing athletes claiming the First Ascent of some new futuristic climb. Well, this was my first experience with developing my own "Futuristic" climb.
I had seen a photo on Facebook of my friend climbing at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. I have lived here in the Springs for three years now and not once have I ever climbed there. Reading through the comments on the photo such as "this line is almost certainly an undone project. Felt in the double digits for sure, way beyond me" I became really curious about what it would take for someone to complete this project.
The next day I was out there warming up on some of the classic climbs in the area all while hoping my skin would hold up for the struggle to come. I brushed off the holds that had chalk on them as well as cleaned some holds that had seemed to be overlooked by previous climbers. Then devastation struck- I couldn't even stick the first move. I was baffled. How was my friend able to get past this? I reached for my phone to look up a video so I could get some beta. Then it hit me, there wont be a video because there is no beta because no one had climbed this before. It was just me. No one could tell me how they did it or how they saw their buddy do it. I started to work the moves out and began to develop a sequence to it. Oddly enough, most of the holds that had chalk on them from previous climbers trying to claim the FA were not part of the sequenced I deemed the easiest.
The problems starts matched low on a half pad "W" shaped crimper. Make a relatively easy move left to a decent sloper pinch. Bring your feet up and bump left again to a perfectly sculpted (my chipped, mind you) pinch. Now, I'd like to consider myself a tall climber. I am 5'11" with a plus 3 ape index, clocking my wingspan in at 6'2". I am fully extended with my left hand on that pinch while my right remains crimping on the start hold. This move is BIG! Anyways, once you hold the swing (oh yeah, did I forget to mention that the bump causes your feet to cut?) you come in with your right hand into a flat ledge undercling. This move is what I consider the crux. So much body tension is required to hold yourself on the wall. Once you have compressed into this move, a powerful, explosive move to a good full pad edge is next and from there, relax and finish with a nice little V3 top out.
I do have to mention that I have not completed this climb yet, but I am preparing to head out tomorrow with victory. Either way, if I finish it, or if someone reads my beta here and decides to give it a go and succeeds, it was a wild process that I have never been a part of before. It gave me a glimpse as to what these top athletes that we hear about daily have to go through to develop new climbs. I can only hope that getting the FA (fingers crossed for tomorrow!) of this thing will be the first of many.