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Highest Graded Trad On-sight
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Dec 16, 2007
Future Goal
The recent thread about a 5.14c on-sight made me wonder what the highest graded trad on-sight is. I'm using the distinction of highest graded vs most difficult to avoid the argument, but I suppose I'm interested in both answers. While we're at it... who do you think the greatest on-sight trad climber was/is? Jason Himick
From Boulder, CO
Joined Dec 27, 2005
192 points
Dec 17, 2007
Yuji Hirayama has onsighted Sphinx Crack at 13b trad. He has onsighted several big routes in Yosemite as well: Quantum Mechanic, The Crucifix, and almost onsighted Golden Gate on El Cap.

Although not the highest grade, Leo Holding's onsight of Southern Bell on Half Dome (5.12+ X) is equally impressive to me. (edit:I was misinformed on Southern Belle, he freed it on his second attempt)
Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Joined Oct 20, 2002
646 points
Dec 17, 2007
Beth Rodden onsighted the Phoenix... .13b?

EDIT: it's in MP at .13a.
caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Joined Nov 21, 2006
1,898 points
Dec 17, 2007
girl40
Onsights are interesting, but if we're talking trad, the real deal is onsight FA's. They don't happen everyday, but are one of the more rewarding and notable experiences you can have climbing. Healyje
Joined Jan 31, 2006
93 points
Dec 17, 2007
I've done a few of those at easier grades and they ARE really fun! it seems like ground up trad fa without preview would be the most proud. Hats off to those who have done it. tenesmus
Joined Jan 7, 2004
2,614 points
Dec 17, 2007
Climber Drawing
I agree with Healyje.
My most memorable leads are the ones where I've established a new route, on-sight, trad.
A line done this way is an adventure and not merely a workout.
Tom Hanson
Joined Jan 1, 2001
1,125 points
Dec 17, 2007
Bouldering at right side of Sun Deck
Take a look at what Henry Barber did in his world travels to new areas, when he was in his prime. He might not have the single hardest grade for a FA onsight, but he probably put up more extreme FA onsights in a 4 or 5 yr period than anyone else I've ever heard of. I've read many accounts about how he would blow into an area and in a weeks time, raise the level of climbing in that area, sometimes 2 full grades! - many of them free-solos's! YDPL8S
From Santa Monica, Ca.
Joined Aug 7, 2003
932 points
Dec 17, 2007
Kevin Stricker wrote:
Although not the highest grade, Leo Holding's onsight of Southern Bell on Half Dome (5.12+ X) is equally impressive to me.


Really? Can you provide more details? This doesn't mention anything about that:

climbing.com/news/hotflashes/s...

Perhaps you're thinking of Freerider, where he came within one fall of the flash.

I think OS FA's are cool, but there is value to every style. The bummer about on-sights is that the experience is so short, and you only do each move once. A route you work has a lot more drawn out experience with highs and lows, and you really develop a bond with the route. That's one nice thing about doing long routes...even if you do on-sight it, the experience will last longer than just a few minutes, maybe even a couple days.
Mike Anderson
From Colorado Springs, CO
Joined Nov 15, 2004
3,094 points
Jan 7, 2008
personal photo
Gotta think that on-sight would be the ultimate consideration. But, take the next step and ask "what are the difficult routes on-sight free soloed"? That's rarified air. Add in first ascent as well, and you're into a philosophical stratosphere: Robbins-style idealism and Erickson-like execution.

It was always my hope to somehow grasp a little of that experience, high above the clouds. Despite lagging tendons, my temperament has allowed me to try.
Mic Fairchild
From Boulder
Joined Jan 14, 2003
401 points
Jan 9, 2008
The Nose from the road
Scott M. Mossman wrote:
Take a look at what Henry Barber did in his world travels to new areas, when he was in his prime. He might not have the single hardest grade for a FA onsight, but he probably put up more extreme FA onsights in a 4 or 5 yr period than anyone else I've ever heard of. I've read many accounts about how he would blow into an area and in a weeks time, raise the level of climbing in that area, sometimes 2 full grades! - many of them free-solos's!

Henry Barber definitely shook up areas when he came to town!
Mike Mu.
Joined Feb 15, 2007
81 points
Administrator
Jan 9, 2008
Pure bliss..
Leo Holding and Dean Potter did the 2nd on the Southern Belle and it took more than 2 tries. Cool topic tho, I'd like to know myself. Hank Caylor
From Golden, CO
Joined Dec 9, 2003
589 points
Jan 10, 2008
Arctic Rage has to the most intense route. Buff Johnson
Joined Dec 19, 2005
1,494 points
Jan 10, 2008
Future Goal
Mark Nelson wrote:
Arctic Rage has to the most intense route.


Indulge us.
Jason Himick
From Boulder, CO
Joined Dec 27, 2005
192 points
Jan 10, 2008
Arctic Rage A2 WI6+ R VI (4,500�) 3/31-4/3/04, Ben Gilmore & Kevin Mahoney

It's articled in Alpinist 8 by Mahoney & also cataloged in the Journal -- taking a natural line up through the Moose's Tooth with a death defying OW section. The presentation at the AAC mtg a few years back was bone-chilling considering the technical grade, commitment, & weather conditions. (and really, I felt the climbing authors took us on a description of an X rated route).

It really sticks out in my mind as one of the most intense ascents.
Buff Johnson
Joined Dec 19, 2005
1,494 points
Nov 6, 2010
mongolia
Mic Fairchild wrote:
Gotta think that on-sight would be the ultimate consideration. But, take the next step and ask "what are the difficult routes on-sight free soloed"? That's rarified air. Add in first ascent as well, and you're into a philosophical stratosphere: Robbins-style idealism and Erickson-like execution. It was always my hope to somehow grasp a little of that experience, high above the clouds. Despite lagging tendons, my temperament has allowed me to try.


Very rewarding indeed. It would be interesting to hijack this thread and compile a list of routes which the FA was on-sight free-solo'd. Could make for a interesting tick list. Here are my little contributions:

mountainproject.com/v/colorado...

mountainproject.com/v/colorado...

I'm sure there are many more, and probably much harder...
Skyeler Congdon
From his van
Joined Mar 24, 2007
1,356 points
Administrator
Nov 8, 2010
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
didn't steve haston on-site 'zebre' recently (14a, although he kind of scoffed at the grade). also, for some reason i had thought that steve mcclure had onsited in the hard 13 or possibly low 14 range on gear. i could be completely full of it though. slim
Joined Dec 1, 2004
2,001 points
Nov 10, 2010
slim wrote:
didn't steve haston on-site 'zebre' recently (14a, although he kind of scoffed at the grade). also, for some reason i had thought that steve mcclure had onsited in the hard 13 or possibly low 14 range on gear. i could be completely full of it though.


Was it le zebre? I thought he onsighted Greenspit and then said it wasn't 14.
caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Joined Nov 21, 2006
1,898 points
Nov 10, 2010
PS
Skyeler Congdon wrote:
It would be interesting to hijack this thread and compile a list of routes which the FA was on-sight free-solo'd.



Blind Faith
SeanKuus
From Steamboat Springs
Joined Sep 30, 2007
565 points
Administrator
Nov 10, 2010
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
you could be right caughtinside, that kind of sounds familiar. is/was greenspit 14a? i had thought it was some sort of 14a he got on the first go, i think his wife crushed it quick too. slim
Joined Dec 1, 2004
2,001 points
Administrator
Nov 10, 2010
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
blind faith was a sort of impressive OS free solo, but jim did others that were way more impressive. one that comes to mind is suberb. i think he did the FFA free solo(?). again though, if i am full of $hit hopefully somebody will help me out. he went through a 'phase' wher he was really into the OSFS thing, but then he pitched on one and had to crawl a ways out on busted legs. ouch! slim
Joined Dec 1, 2004
2,001 points
Nov 10, 2010
Skyeler Congdon wrote:
Very rewarding indeed. It would be interesting to hijack this thread and compile a list of routes which the FA was on-sight free-solo'd.


Here's another...
mountainproject.com/v/californ...
Adam Kimmerly
Joined Feb 28, 2005
493 points
Nov 10, 2010
You stay away from mah pig!
caughtinside wrote:
Was it le zebre? I thought he onsighted Greenspit and then said it wasn't 14.


I'm pretty sure that he got Greenspit first go, but on pre-hung gear. Just shows how contrived the whole "trad" thing is.
camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Joined Jun 27, 2006
1,369 points
Nov 10, 2010
5.13+

mountainproject.com/v/utah/moa...



then there is the superhuman

pizem.blogspot.com/2010/03/nor...
Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Joined Oct 26, 2006
391 points
Nov 10, 2010
Wow, that's cool about Trail of Tiers. I haven't seen it, but hearing Carson talk about what it took to get that one is one for the ages. Kind of like what Mike said at the very beginning of the thread.

Honold is altogether in another league.
tenesmus
Joined Jan 7, 2004
2,614 points
Jan 10, 2011
baldy
not a on-sight. but the cobra crack is a amazing looking climb.

habla
Joined Oct 24, 2010
40 points
Sep 16, 2011
page 10: coppworks.com/articles/Cirquet...

onsight, ground up, in a day. RIP Copp.
bearded sam
Joined Apr 27, 2011
55 points


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