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Sonnie Trotter making the first ascent of The Path, 5.14 R (E10/E11) at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Photo by Sonnie Trotter archive
Sonnie Trotter making the first ascent of The Path, 5.14 R (E10/E11) at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Photo by Sonnie Trotter archive
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Sonnie Trotter finds The Path 5.14 R at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

23.08.2007 by Planetmountain

On 21/08/07 Sonnie Trotter freed "The Path" 5.14 R (E10/E11) at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.

Sonnie Trotter has just freed "The Path", a 45m trad line which the 27 year old rates as a "solid 5.14 R - E10/E11". The route at Lake Louise, Alberta had originally been bolted over twenty years ago but was subsequently abandoned due to its technical difficulties.

Trotter recently inspected the line from an abseil, decided not only that it was climbable but also that an ascent would be feasible using trad gear only and, after having chopped the bolts, started to work the route. Five weeks later the Canadian came up trumps, sticking the V10 bouldery crux above some scary gear and holding it together on the run-out to the finish.

Trotter is definitely on an extreme trad mission: last year he freed another Canadian desperate, Cobra Crack 5.14 b/c (8c/8c+) at the Cirque of the Uncrackables, Squamish, while in 2004 he succeeded in the first ground-up trad ascent of Alan Watt's classic 130ft East Face of Monkey Face (5.13d R) at Smith Rock, USA.

He explains his climbing vision as follows "By rapping in, I discovered that the route can and should be climbed entirely on natural gear, all trad. So after two days of top-roping the climb using cams for directionals, I knew for sure that it was meant to be climbed in a traditional style, not sport. So I went up and chopped all the bolts off. It was a hard decision to make at first because it is now rated R, but I have gotten a lot of great responses from people and it was ultimately the best choice to make. I then worked on the climb for about 10 days spread out over 5 weeks before redpointing it, placing all the gear on lead, and avoiding any fixed gear. It was the best style I could imagine doing and it was a great relief to finish it."

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