|Will Gadd is up to his old tricks. The 38-year old Canadian has made the first ascent of what he believes to be the hardest mixed route he's ever climbed, "Steel Koan" in Canada's hottest coldspot, the Cineplex Cave, Alberta. |
Gadd sent the route on his second day of redpoint attempts, climbing the line "bareback", ie. without heel spurs on crampons, as is becoming the norm nowadays. The route starts to the right of Ben Firth's The Game and the climbing is "dynamic and aggressive, more of a power outing than a long endurance route, although climbing 25 feet of very steep terrain followed by 30+ feet across a dead-horizontal roof and then some hard ice does demand endurance." Although a grade still needs to be put forth, Gadd believes the new line to harder than The Game M13+ which he repeated in December 2004.
Will Gadd is one of Canada's prime ice climbers. He has made first ascents and fast repeats of some of the hardest ice and mixed routes in the Rockies and Europe, and in 2000 he won the first ever Ice Climbing World Cup. Check out an interview and his Ice climbing in Canada here.