11.01.2018

Footwork and Headspace: Underrated.



Freedom or Death 5.12a

Earlier this year I got the chance to climb around on the East Face of Liberty Bell with my friend Scott Bennett, who had just completed a continuous push of running the 100+ mile Wonderland Trail while climbing Mt. Rainier twice. Scott was in very very good cardio and "suffering" shape, but had hardly been rock climbing and basically lacked any kind of forearm or finger strength, and was barely able to comfortably wear rock shoes. We decided to go rock climbing.

Despite having (a couple days earlier) fallen off a .12a permadrawed sport climb that he'd done before, Scott was able to style his was up the onsight of the long crux pitch of "Freedom or Death" while fighting off heinous mosquitos and despite already having just climbed and rappelled the whole East Face via "Live Free or Die!". The mosquito swarm, tiny holds, and sloppy shoes didn't hold him back because the long crux pitch relies on intricate footwork, careful planning, slab balance skills, and maintaining a cool head. It's also a pitch that I'm sure would be more difficult than the .12a sport climb for 90% of climbers. It was a stark reminder that for most granite climbing, knowing how to climb correctly and calmly is far more important than what you have on your feet or how many pounds you can dangle off your waist while you fingerboard.



(Freedom or Death - climbers is Chris Allen, photos Forest Woodward)











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