James Pearson climbs Power Ranger, bold and beautiful trad at Chattanooga
British climber James Pearson has made the first ascent of the bold and difficult route Power Ranger (5.14R / 8c) at Sunset Rocks, Chattanooga, USA.
For over a decade James Pearson’s quest for difficult and beautiful trad routes has taken him hallway across the globe, initially from his home gritstone outcrops in the Peak District to the rest of the British Isles, then to France, Italy and as far as Chad, Japan and South Africa.
The Brit has now returned from a successful trip to the US where he has made the first free ascent of Power Ranger at Sunset Rocks, Chattanooga, Tennessee, a testing climb the 32-year-old describes as being, quite simply, “awesome”.
The route owes its uniques to its physical and psychological difficulties - run-out 5.14 R / 8c trad routes are still extremely rare - but also to the innate beauty of the actual climbing. A bold but relatively easy lower wall leads to a good rest, before launching into the headwall with its intense and unforgiving moves. Long powerful reaches lead into an intricate and delicate crux, and then past a run-out power endurance sequence to the top. Pearson first tried the line last February and immediately became obsessed with this “beautiful flowing sequence”, so much so that he returned this autumn with his wife Caroline Ciavaldini for the free ascent.
After the ascent Pearson commented “This route is beautiful - a single line of holds up an otherwise blank wall. No way around, no way to cheat, you get only what nature has given. The moves are powerful, yet delicate, with an obvious crux but also the chance to fall on any move. The gear is good, the run-out quite big, and provided you fall in a controlled way you should be ok, yet the climbing is awkward, the rope runs behind your legs, and falling off the upper moves would send you exactly in the direction you don’t want to be! I never fell off the last few moves so I can’t say for sure. Perhaps it is safe, perhaps not… only time will tell.”
James Pearson trad climbing
Le Voyage - Annot, France (2017, first ascent)
The Carbondale Shortbus - Indian Creek, USA (2016, repeat)
The Quarryman - Llanberis, UK (2016, repeat)
Passenger - Mizugaki, Japan (2016, first ascent)
Bonanno Pisano - Cederberg, South Africa (2015, first ascent)
Rhapsody - Dumbarton, UK (2014, repeat)
Something's Burning - Pembroke, UK (2014, flash)
Is not always Pasqua - Interprete, Italy (2013, repeat)
A Denti Stretti- Balmanolesca, Italy (2013, first trad ascent)
Muy Caliente - Pembroke, UK (2011, repeat)
The Return of the Jedi - Bank Quarry, UK (2011, repeat)
Gerty Berwick - Ilkley, UK (2009, repeat)
The Walk of Life - Dyer's Lookout, UK (2008, first ascent)
The Groove - Cratcliffe Tor, UK (2008, first ascent)
The Promise - Burbage North, UK (2007, first ascent)
Link: FB James Pearson, onceuponaclimb.co.uk, Instagram Once upon a climb, La Sportiva, The North Face