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Hard Trad Recap, 2008

Some of the world’s hardest traditionally protected climbs were repeated or climbed for the first time in 2008. This NewsWire serves as a notice for those impressive ascents not reported previously.

On June 18, Belgian Nicolas Favresse climbed Sonnie Trotter’s famous Cobra Crack (5.14), Squamish, Canada. Over eight days in June, Favresse made fourteen attempts on the route before nabbing the second ascent. Shortly after Favresse’s repeat, Ethan Pringle nearly made the third ascent. Though narrowly missing the send, Pringle succeeded on Trotter’s other uber-crack, The Path (5.14a) at the Back of the Lake Crag in Lake Louise, Alberta. According to, Pringle toproped the route only twice before his send.

Trotter himself was busy across the pond on Rhapsody (E11 7a [5.14c R], 35m), Dumbarton Rock, Scotland. After an unsuccessful attempt in 2007, on June 9, 2008, he made its first repeat. In the process, he also established Direquiem (5.14a R), an easier and more direct variation of Rhapsody (for details, see the June 10, 2008 NewsWire). Six days after Trotter’s ascent, English climber Steve McClure made the third (and by far the fastest) ascent of Rhapsody. Over four days he toproped the route six times then sent on his third redpoint attempt.

Before his incredible free solo of Moonlight Buttress (read the April 7, 2008 NewsWire for details) Alex Honnold completed onsights of multiple challenging routes in the Moab, Utah region this spring. Routes he climbed included Bushido (5.13c), Learning to Fly (5.13c), Optimator (5.13a) and the complete Tricks Are For Kids (5.13c). After two days of work he also made the first repeat of Hong Kong Phooey (5.13d), in preparation for his Moonlight Buttress solo.

A week after Honnold’s onsight of Bushido, Jean-Pierre “Peewee” Ouellet made Bushido’s third ascent.

Other notable ascents previously covered in NewsWire are Rocky Mountain High, on the Possibility Wall of Mt. Evans (July 9, 2008 NewsWire), Pent Up (5.12c, 7 pitches, ca. 700′) in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison (June 22, 2008 NewsWire), Echo Wall on Ben Nevis (August 1, 2008 NewsWire) and perhaps most notably Tommy Caldwell’s free ascent of Magic Mushroom (5.14, 2,900′), which he returned to free again in twenty hours less than a month later (read the May 20 and June 10, 2008 NewsWires).

Sources: Alex Honnold, Jean-Pierre Ouellet,,,