Cobra Crack and Many Thanks!

Today Nicolas from Belgium made the coveted second ascent of the Cobra Crack.  Most publications are calling this 5.14b/c.  I was never sure of the grade myself because it was such a unique climb and when you take into account finger size and reach, it became clear that a grade was nothing more than useless.  All I knew was that it was 5.14 something and to this day it is still the hardest crack or traditional climb (of any kind) I have ever led.  A huge congratulations to Nico for his determination and unweavering commitment.  A line such as this is hard to ignore.  I wish I was there to be a witness. I have some ground footage of his earlier attempts, something I may quickly edit and post on youtube later this week.

I also saw the uber strong Dave Mac up there on his soloist.  I wasn't able to see much of the action as I was down the cliff a ways, but he was looking fine and dandy when I left, so maybe he's interested in investing a bit more time, who knows.  He also celebrated his 30th birthday on the 17th,  so a big shout out to the man with a plan.

This means that Matt Segal and Ethan Pringle will be fighting for the third and fourth ascent of this route they call the Cobra. I have no doubt they can do it, but only time will tell I suppose.  They left the Bow Valley last weekend and are now in the area looking to scoop some of the Squamish classics.  Ethan is on a rampage as usual, and his opinion no longer counts.  During his visit to Europe last year, Ethan made so many quick ascents of 5.14's and 5.15's that he was inclined to downgrade most of them, many of which he did.  But like I was saying Ethan is in his own league right now and he doesn't count.  Here in the Bow Valley he did the much tried and often failed Existence Mundane (solid) 5.14b, on his second try without breaking a sweat.

Also on this post, I want to take the time to thank all the radical fools who came out on the night of the 16th to see Matt and I fumble through our slide shows (Squamish Film Fest 2008).  The crowd was truly amazing, high energy, interactive and a pleasure to be with.  I showed some old pics of climbing in Ontario and then some from Australia, followed by two short films. Matt gave an engaging show about his link ups in Squamish and the Bugaboo's – he had great stories and some strong photography of the Alpine.  Well done and thanks again to everyone who made it out, your support is highly appreciated.


  • Ben Gilkison

    Congrats to Nico! I think I’m headed up this week and we shall see how really short people do on the route.


  • Frederik

    Congratulations to Nico. I was hoping to cheer him on today, but I’m clearly too late.
    Great blog by the way, truly an inspiration for all crack-loving, slab-padding average climbers such as myself (I do break a sweat on a 5.10 and god knows what else on anything above this level)

    Cheers from the international students at UBC
    Fred (&Gemma, Andrew, Tom, Kasper)

  • LOL. Thanks Sonnie.

  • Francois-X

    Well done to Nico. I’m surprised it didn’t make it to the Belgian newspapers: climbing the other hardest trad route in the world on the Belgian national day is quite patriotic 🙂

    Francois (expat Belgian in the UK)