Since I got back from the Bugaboos the weather has been perfect. I’ve been guiding a tonne but getting out almost every evening, climbing a stack of pitches and trying to stay fit.
Last week while guiding I texted my good friend Jer Blumel, begging him to give me a belay on the Gunslinger, first climbed by Ben Harnden this spring. I’ve never tried a pitch as many times as this one. Zack Smith first tipped me off that this might go, and I spent lots of time on it in the last few years unlocking a sequence that would go free.
Jer, good buddy that he his, loyally swung into Murrin in the late evening to give me yet another belay. Leading this pitch has always freaked me out. The gear is good, but it isn’t a tall climb, and a fall from the top could be really bad.
This time it all clicked, and I topped out the wall, elated. As for the grade, this climb is the antithesis of my style: really bouldery, 5.13d R perhaps, but for me this was the most demanding single pitch I’ve ever climbed.
Ryan Olson photo from a couple years back, Mike Shannon at the helm on one of my first lead attempts.