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Latest in climbing accomplishments and first ascent attempts

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There have been some incredible feats accomplished these past couple of weeks in the world of climbing. Whether it’s bouldering, sport climbing, or mixed climbing, there’s always someone who’s going to be pushing themselves beyond their limits to achieve the goal of defeating another route to cross off their list and constantly go back for more. Here are a few of the highlights for climbing news for March 2014.

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Sarah Hueniken became the first North American woman to climb M13+ with her send of Steel Koan up the Cineplex cave behind Panther Falls in the Rockies. This is one of the hardest mixed climbs in North America. Steel Koan is an eight-meter overhang to a 10-meter horizontal roof seam followed by a steep curtain of ice. On the second day of redpointing efforts, Hueniken sent the route on her seventh try. Will Gadd redpointed the route back in 2006 and wrote in his blog, “There is no one crux, just powerful and intricate body movement for many moves in a row.” In an interview with Brendan Leonard, Hueniken stated, “I was psyched to send the route, mostly because I wanted to culminate my season with a new high point. For me it was about finding a new challenge, and making the most of the fitness I had from the winter. It’s a long drive out there, but the cave itself is really beautiful, and I find the routes and their history very inspiring.”

Mark Anderson took on Mission Impossible (5.14c/d) in Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado and made the third ascent on one of America’s hardest sport climbs. The climb was established by Daniel Woods back in 2012 and repeated by Jonathan Siegrist that same year. Mission Impossible starts on vertical terrain then shifts to a slightly overhanging angle. A V4 mantle leads into a V6/7 crimpy, slabby section and a rest followed by the first crux which is a 15-move V12 with very slopey holds and non-existent smears for feet. Another rest leads to a 5.12b section before the second crux that involves a 10-move V11. Mission Impossible is Anderson’s hardest ascent to date.

Stefan Glowacz and Chris Sharma teamed up to master a climbing route in the Majlis al Jinn (The Cave of Spirits) cave in the eastern part of the Hadschar Mountains in Oman. This route has never been attempted before and counts as the world’s longest roof climb with 13 pitches rated between 7c+ and 8b+ with an incline of 45˚ and more. The team had to rappel 160-meters from a skylight in the roof of the cave to the bottom in order to start the climb. Glowacz injured his hands during a fall which kept him from being able to complete the climb and put the pressure on for Sharma. Despite the injury, both Glowacz and Sharma combined their expertise and finished the project. “It’s simply an incredible experience to climb in the Majlis al Jinn Cave,” Glowacz, says. “The route’s type and character are unique. To climb from the bowels of the earth back into the light is one of the most impressive things I’ve done. I am proud to have been given this opportunity to climb Into the Light with Chris.” Sharma added, “This project is a milestone in climbing. We wanted to climb an unforgettable line and that’s what we did. It was one of the most impressive projects for me as an athlete and a great experience to accompany Stefan in this one-of-a-kind project.”

Ashima Shiraishi, 12-year-old climbing phenom, just completed a 2nd try ascent of Digital System 8c/5.14b yesterday, March 20, 2014, in Santa Linya near Lleida, Spain. Ashima continues to crush some of the most difficult routes and bouldering problems at a very young age and she does it with the focus and resolve of a wise old soul with many years of climbing experience. She will, no doubt, constantly astonish with her accomplishments in the climbing realm.

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