Friday, December 02, 2005

New Traditionalists

I love seeing young rock climbers pursue all aspects of the sport. Nothing wrong with bouldering or sport climbing, but the most interesting climbers to me are the ones who apply their strength and skill to traditional routes, too, whether they're short, hard crack climbs or big walls. So, I was superpsyched to see 21-year-old Matt Segal establish what may be Eldorado Canyon's hardest route in late November and to do it on traditional gear.

Kloof Alcove is home to the steepest non-roof climbs in the Colorado canyon, with overhanging pitches from 5.11 to hard 5.12, all traditionally protected. For years, the guidebook has pointed out an unclimbed crack on the right side of the alcove. Matt Segal is gym-trained (he's originally from southern Florida), and he's one of the best sport climbers and boulderers in the country, one of three members of the U.S. bouldering team. When he moved to Colorado and had the opportunity to climb real rock, Segal decided he wanted to learn trad climbing too. A couple of years ago, he made the second ascent of the Skip Guerin testpiece Superfly (5.12d R), with a V6 or V7 boulder-problem crux and runout climbing above. Right next to Superfly was the unclimbed crack, and now Segal has climbed that one too. Segal feels Iron Monkey may be as hard as 5.14b, with a 5.12 "approach", a severe dyno crux, and 5.12 climbing above. Segal placed pro on the lead during this proud send. These photos are courtesy of Steve Woods, who witnessed Segal's ascent and then photographed Dave Graham and his son, Daniel, having a go at Iron Monkey with the gear in place. (See more photos at Woods' website). What a beautiful hard line!

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

Matt Segal is incredible. He would climb an unclimbable rock!