Pure Pres­sure and Es­calante’s Strict Trad Stan­dards

Gripped - - FEATURE -

Iwas pretty much doomed. I had made a mis­take and set my­self up to hit the ground 20 me­tres be­low. If the set of cam clus­ters ripped, it was go­ing to hurt. The red walls of Es­calante Canyon, on the western slope of Colorado be­tween Grand Junc­tion and Mon­trose, spanned the hori­zon, but I could only fo­cus on the soft sand­stone in front of me. My nails split as I torqued into the locks try­ing to place the f inal nest of three small pieces in the f in­ger­tip crack. I started to shake as I strug­gled to slot the first cam. I had al­ready bro­ken two pieces on pre­vi­ous at­tempts when I’d pitched from the top of the fi­nal runout to the chains. Those pieces had ex­ploded in an ar­ray of wires as they rock­eted out. Luck­ily, each time I fell, one of the three cams al­ways stayed put. Af­ter get­ting the f irst gear, a .2/. 1 off­set tcu from Black Di­a­mond, I reached for the sec­ond and re­al­ized I’d made a ma­jor mis­take. I’d bro­ken my sec­ond cam­ming unit,

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