Greatest Bolted Climb on the Continent: New 33-Pitch Route Developed in Canada

Earlier this month, a group of 4 Canada-based climbers made the primary ascent of the longest bolted route in North America.

Thirty-three pitches lengthy and roughly 3,000 ft tall, “Assured Rugged” (5.10d) includes as a lot mountain climbing as most El Capitan routes — and it doesn’t require a single cam.

The primary-ascent group, which incorporates Lisa Newhook, her fiance Brent Nixon, plus associates Sean Draper and Kate Naus, wrapped up the venture on Could 22. “Assured Rugged” — named for close by metropolis Lillooet’s official tourism slogan — is positioned in Marble Canyon, a hovering limestone formation close to the south finish of the Marble Vary in British Columbia.

Nixon and Newhook started bolting the route in February 2020 after heat circumstances shut down their mountain climbing aspirations. The pair seen an enormous sunlit headwall from the freeway. Earlier than lengthy, Nixon was on lead, bolting the primary few pitches in a pair of mountaineering boots.

33 Pitches, $3,000

After a couple of preliminary bolting classes, the daunting scale of the target started to set in, and Nixon and Newhook recruited Draper and Naus to help with the workload.

For the following 2 years, the foursome cleaned tons of choss and drilled a whole lot of bolts all on lead — apart from a couple of filler bolts they later positioned on rappel to attenuate sketchy runouts. All stated and achieved, the group estimates a complete expenditure of over $3,000 in instruments and {hardware}.

Your complete first-ascentionist group “climbed the route from base to summit” throughout the weekend of Could 22, Newhook wrote on Instagram. “Brent and I swung leads (to not point out he climbed the entire route in his method sneakers). The route has some unbelievable publicity and a few actually enjoyable climbing.”

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Based on the route’s in depth Mountain Undertaking web page, “Assured Rugged” breaks down into three key sections. The primary 19 pitches weave via low-angle 5.6-5.8 slabs, which we assume are completely calf-crushing.

Subsequent, the “Steep Headwall” options 5 pitches of vertical to barely overhanging terrain, together with three back-back crux 5.10d’s. On the prime of pitch 25, the angle kicks again for an extended slog up the ultimate summit ridge. The final pitch — aka “The Crown” — is a 5.9 jug haul. The group described it as “one of many best on the route with steep, uncovered climbing excessive above the valley.”

33 Pitches of ‘Sportaneering’

Of the 33 complete pitches, 9 are rated 5.10. Nixon acknowledges that the recommended grades nonetheless have to be confirmed by consensus. All belay stations have a pre-equalized single ring anchor, and it’s potential to rappel and bail again to the bottom from any anchor with a 70m rope.

Although one can climb the route with simply 12 quickdraws, a couple of runners, and a rope, the first-ascent group is adamant that it’s not an informal sport climb. Underneath the “Hazards and Dangers” part on Mountain Undertaking, the group mentions “free rock,” “mini particles flows,” and a suggestion that future climbers “tread flippantly.” There isn’t any cell service within the space. Climate circumstances can fluctuate quickly.

Finally, it feels like “Assured Rugged” is extra of an alpine route than a sport climb. We’re guessing it lives as much as its identify!

There are a number of mega-long bolted climbs in North America. “Assured Rugged” now towers above all of them. El Potrero Chico’s well-known “Time Wave Zero” (5.12a, 23 pitches) provides an identical profile with various climbing on slabs, pockets, and overhangs resulting in a looming headwall. “Squawstruck” is a 22-pitch 5.11 involving a number of unroped scrambling positioned in Rock Canyon, Utah.

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If “sportaneering” is your factor, “Assured Rugged” is clearly a must-do. Go forth and ship, however achieve this with warning. Crumbly limestone 2,000 ft off the deck isn’t any joke.

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