Sonnie Trotter wins 9a bet against Honnold and Caldwell

A few days ago, Sonnie Trotter was able to repeat the 9a route Spirit Quest in Squamish. The Canadian crack specialist is thus the first to score points in the "Gentlemen's Race" between himself, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell.

Last Sunday, Sonnie Trotter reported Spirit Quest (9a) is one of the hardest sport climbing routes in Canada. The 44-year-old climbing professional can be doubly pleased with this success: On the one hand, the 30 days he spent on the route over 20 months have paid off. On the other hand, with this 9a ascent he has won the Gentlemen's Race, a friendly fun bet, against Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell.

Spirit Quest is a dream route for me and I am honored to have been able to check it off my list.

Sonnie Trotter
20 years after his first 9a route (Forever Expired in Lion's Head), crack climbing legend Sonnie Trotter scores this difficulty level again with Spirit Quest. Image: @simon_yamamoto
20 years after his first 9a route (Forever Expired in Lion's Head), crack climbing legend Sonnie Trotter scores this difficulty level again with Spirit Quest. Image: @simon_yamamoto

Three climbing sizes, one bet

What do Sonnie Trotter, Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold in common? They are all personalities who have had a decisive influence on the development of climbing with their achievements on the rock. And they have all had children, grown older and are now faced with the fact that their performance curve is flattening.

To push each other and work towards a common goal, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell launched the "Gentlemen's Race to 9a": a bet to be the first to repeat a 9a sport climbing route. Last August, Sonnie Trotter joined the race.

I agreed to the challenge in August last year and have been training hard since February, and today I was able to reap the fruits of those efforts.

Sonnie Trotter

Trotter and Caldwell had both climbed routes with a difficulty level of 9a several times in the past. However, the times when they managed to do this were two decades ago. It is all the more impressive that the first of them has already found his old best form again.

Trotter believes this bet had a clear benefit: "Without the pressure, encouragement and recognition from my friends Tommy and Alex, I probably wouldn't have managed it so quickly."

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Credits: Cover picture Tommy Caldwell

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