America's Hardest Crack Lines Repeated

Pete Whittaker recently secured the third ascent of the difficult Stranger than Fiction (8c) crack line in Utah. Connor Herson repeats Beth Rodden's masterpiece Meltdown (8c+) in Yosemite Valley.

Stranger than fiction (8c) and Meltdown (8c+) have one thing in common: they are both among the hardest crack lines in the United States and they have both been repeated recently.

Without tape and tear gloves

Pete Whittaker In Stranger than Fiction, he not only had to bring his entire Riss experience into account, but also pack a good portion of pain tolerance into the bargain. Since his large fingers could barely fit into the narrow crack, he decided not to use tape or tear gloves.

Stranger than Fiction had been on my radar for a long time. When asked whether my meaty hands would fit into the crack, I found an answer: Yes, as long as I forgo tape and tear gloves.

Pete Whittaker

Video: Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall in Stranger than Fiction

Stranger than Fiction: 8c, hard

Pete Whittaker is only the second person to repeat Mason Earle's 2015 crack line. At the beginning of November, Lor Sabourin made the second ascent. Given this low frequency, the Brit also commented on the level of difficulty after his climb.

For me, Stranger than Fiction felt like a hard 8c. Harder than Cobra Crack, lighter the recovery drink.

Pete Whittaker

With pure crack lines like this, finger size also plays a crucial role. “Because the spectrum of this route extends to really bad crack sizes, the key points can feel different for everyone,” Whittaker continues.

What you can definitely say is that this line is a hard classic and you must have perfected your jamming techniques.

Pete Whittaker

Connor Herson scores Meltdown

Connor Herson drew attention to himself at a young age with impressive ascents in Yosemite Valley. He often makes short work of the most difficult lines. However, he has to fight hard to climb Beth Rodden's Meltdown.

This line means a lot to me. I have never invested so many sessions in a trad line, I have never been so unsure whether a route is feasible for me, I have never learned so much in one line.

Connor Herson

The Crux bouldering spot felt harder than any boulder he had ever done, says Connor Herson. At Thanksgiving everything came together and the strong American was able to connect the individual passages.

Big respect to Beth Rodden for her vision and determination on this route. Their ascent of Meltdown was so ahead of its time. In my opinion one of the greatest achievements in climbing!

Connor Herson

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Credits: Cover picture wideboyz

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