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HomeIce ClimbingConnor Herson Sends Meltdown 5.14c in Yosemite

Connor Herson Sends Meltdown 5.14c in Yosemite


Connor Herson, 20, just lately repeated one of many world’s most troublesome trad climbs – Meltdown 5.14c in Yosemite’s Cascade Creek. First established by Beth Rodden on Valentines Day in 2008, Meltdown went unrepeated for over 10 years till Carlo Travesi made the second ascent in 2018. Jacopo Larcher made the third ascent final yr, and Babsi Zangerl made the fourth in late October. Herson’s ascent is the fifth.

Over the previous 5 months, Connor Herson has been on a tear via a lot of North America’s hardest cracks. Over the summer time, he had maybe essentially the most profitable journey anybody has ever needed to Squamish. Over a interval of some quick weeks, he despatched the legendary Cobra Crack 5.14b, Didier Berthod’s new Crack of Future 5.14b, Jesse Huey’s Stélmexw 5.13+, and Hazel Findlay’s spicy stem-corner testpiece, Tainted Love 5.13+. After leaving Squamish, Herson went on to repeat Ethan Pringle’s Blackbeard’s Tears 5.14 in northern California. He then made the primary free ascent of Hairline, a 13-pitch 5.13+ up Mount Whitney.

“This one meant rather a lot,” stated Herson about Meltdown on Instagram. “Essentially the most classes I’ve spent on a gear-protected pitch, essentially the most unsure I’ve been about whether or not a route is feasible for me, essentially the most I’ve discovered on a route—the checklist goes on. The crux boulder felt more durable than any boulder I’ve completed on the bottom. Lastly, on Thanksgiving Day, I used to be capable of simply barely string the entire thing collectively!

“A lot respect to Beth Rodden for her imaginative and prescient and dedication on this one. Her ascent of Meltdown was to date forward of its time. [In my opinion] one of many best achievements in climbing!”

To study extra concerning the fifth ascent of Meltdown, I reached out to Herson. You possibly can learn our quick interview beneath.

When did you first strive Meltdown? I first tried Meltdown over Thanksgiving break final yr with Babsi and Jacopo. I solely put in a couple of classes and wasn’t very shut, however I bought to observe Jacopo ship and bought very impressed! This fall I began making an attempt it significantly.

What number of classes did you spend on the route? I believe 13ish classes this yr? Plus one other 3-4 final yr?

How does Meltdown evaluate to different onerous cracks you’ve climbed just lately? Meltdown felt a lot, a lot more durable than some other crack I did this yr. The crux is only a stage above some other crack I’ve completed.

Others have stated the crux is round V12. Do you agree with that? It’s onerous to grade such a technical boulder, however V12 appears about proper! I’ve heard the whole lot from V11-V13, so V12 looks as if a good compromise.

What was essentially the most troublesome facet of projecting Meltdown? Was it psychological? Was it bodily? Attempting it on weekends in between faculty began to get fairly draining, bodily and mentally. The late nights of homework through the week to liberate sufficient time for weekend valley journeys, the late drives combating site visitors Friday evening, the schoolwork all the time on my thoughts, and the rushed return to the bay Sunday evening added up. Finally I used to be even making reverse progress on the route!

The footholds look wildly horrible. Which footwear did you utilize on the redpoint? I wore a left [La Sportiva] Katana and a proper [La Sportiva] Resolution. The Katana was for the crux shallow, flared foot jam, and it felt higher than some other shoe I attempted. The Resolution is my go-to shoe, so it felt most comfy on the completely horrible footholds just because it’s most acquainted.

Traversi’s Second Ascent of Meltdown 5.14c

Zangerl’s Fourth Ascent of Meltdown 5.14c

Characteristic photograph by Nelson Klein



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