Cody Roth makes first trad ascent of Mainliner at Las Conchas
At the end of April American climber Cody Roth made the first trad ascent of Mainliner at Las Conchas the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico, USA. At 5.14a/b R (8b+/8c) this checks in as one of the harder trad pitches in North America.
Roth told us about his latest experience on Mainliner as follows:
"It was initially bolted and redpointed by Jean De Lataillde, in 1995 and graded 13c. In the spring of 2011, I made the first sport repeat of the line and upgraded it to 14a. This past March, I bolted a variation to Mainliner, which I dubbed, La Femme de Zinc Zipper, 14a.
Upon redpointing this line, as I cleaned my draws, it dawned on me that albeit not obvious, Mainliner could go on gear. Thus, I set to work headpointing this 30m line, sorting out the gear placements, which often require sacrificing handholds.. In addition, a key hold in the route crux broke. After I'm not sure how many tries and about five days of effort, (excluding the time I spent on the sport and variation redpoints) I managed to pull off a gear ascent, placing all gear on lead, at the end of April, just before departing on a four month "workation" across Europe and Africa.
I think that Mainliner, in it's current state, might be as hard as 14b, thus I'm proposing a grade of 14a/b (8b+/8c) and R when done on gear. The route's cruxes are reasonably well protected, however there're a few few sections of climbing in the 12c (7b+) range, where a fall would best be avoided.
I've opted to not chop the bolts because I don't feel like the line is a travesty as a sport route, and because they don't interfere with one's gear placements or free climbing. However, I do hope that my ascent will be an example of new school creative trad climbing, and that it will encourage others to consider climbing in this low impact style, and to think twice before sinking bolts."