Hazel Findlay Does “Magic Line,” 35 / 5.14c Trad

She is the third person to send the famous route, and only the second person to redpoint it by placing the gear on lead.

Just some climbing geekery for those who care:

History: Magic Line was first climbed in 96 by Ron Kauk with the gear already in place (pink point) he gave it the grade of 5.14b. His son Lonnie Kauk did a full red point ascent, placing all the gear from the ground in 2018. Kind of crazy how long it took for a second ascent. He called the red point 5.14c since it adds a lot of difficulty to place the gear on a route like this. On Monday I climbed it in the same style as Lonnie.

Although it’s a beautiful crack climb it doesn’t climb like a crack at all. But there isn’t much else it climbs like either. The style is completely unique. None of the holds faces upwards. You climb the offset of the crack so in reality the route is a line of right facing gaston/lay back holds with the odd spot where the crack widens enough to gaston the crack the other way with the right hand (seen in the photo). The first few meters aren’t hard but it’s insecure tenuous laybacking and placing gear is scary. This leads you to a kind of rest under the crux from which you can place 2 ball nuts. You run it out as far as you can off these because it’s too hard to place the gear.

The crux itself might be V10/11 it’s the hardest boulder I’ve ever done at least. It took us a while to work out the individual moves of this crux and after a crucial foot hold broke we had to start all over again. The crux moves are super wacky/ interesting and powerful on bad feet. After the crux you keep going on some pumpy climbing to a no-hands rest. Then you have the finale: a long tenuous, insecure and pumpy lay back with slippy smears – probably around V9 – which also climbs above a ball nut. Then you get some glory jugs to the chains. Geekery over.

Thanks @jacopolarcher for the only photo that doesn’t make this route look like a 5.12 finger crack. Cheers for all the well wishes. It feels like my birthday 🎁 Time to go home and rest my fingers 😬


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