24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell- OVER

So who’s bright idea was this anyway?

First, take 200 capricious climbers from around the nation, bring them together at a picturesque Ranch in Arkansas. Second, pump them up on good music, great food, quality shwag and ice cold energy drinks. And Third, tie them together in groups of two by a 50 meter cord and send them off into the green forest for 24 hours of non stop rock climbing debauchery. It seems like a good idea at the start (but so does parenthood I suppose) but then, doubt settles into these twisted, fragile minds of ours and for an hour between 4 and 5 AM we start to drift over the edge of sanity, we second guess our purpose on this goat infested land, the competence of the partner we chose, what we’re doing with our lives and for peet’s sake – WHO THE HELL is Andy Chasteen?

But somewhere in the darkness, the gambler he broke even, and as you clip the chains and lower to the ground, the shot gun blasts into the early morning sky and you realize something very important. Despite your bleeding finger tips, your throbbing elbows, your toight ass hip flexors and your swollen feet, there was something beautiful in all of this, and you smile not knowing exactly what it is or what it was, but you smile anyway – because you (along with your safe and competent climbing partner) know for some very unspeakable reason, that just like parenthood, it was all worth it in the end.

A replica of what I look and feel like today.

My most SINCERE thanks to the many people of 24 HHH who helped put this event together. It was very well organized, incredible climbing, breathtaking scenery, and without question the most fun I’ve EVER had while slowly continuing to hurt myself. Thank you. And thanks again to the generous owners of the Horseshoe Canyon Rock Ranch who allow such a nauseating challenge to partake. I can only hope we all made an effort to keep it clean. Congrats to the all the winners of every category, to the ‘Slopey Seconds’ for having the best team name, to Adam Shoulderdick for belaying me on my third and final redpoint attempt on the Prophet (even though I fell off) you are truly a brother, to the Wig for getting me stoked on climbing and hard liquor again, to Furry Murry for the laughs and fashion advice, to Lucas Marshall for the inspiring pics, and to Danny for being our backbone when we couldn’t stand, and of course (last but not always least) to Andy Chasteen for the pep talks and the worst case of road rash I’ve ever had – on my palms no less. Thanks again and looking forward to seeing the whole 200 or so of ya’ll next season I hope.

Here’s an early morning picture over the canyon from Lucas Marshall.com

  • John


    Have you booked your flight yet? Looks worth the trip…

  • Sonnie

    Ha ha, not yet John, and to be honest, I’m afraid I don’t see it ever happening. I just went to the link you suggested and saw this notable tid bit…

    “the nature of the rock, a type known as culm that%u2019s unique to North Devon sea cliffs. It looks somewhat like sandstone, and can be loose and friable. The ukclimbing.com database for Dyer%u2019s Lookout summarizes, %u201CPossibly not going to be there long, so climb it while you can.”

    This friable slab doesn’t sound like a whole lotta fun to be frank. And it’s always up to the mags to sensationalize everything, they’re doing a mediocre job I think – ha ha. James is a terrific rock climber, and congrats to him on a brilliant effort, but this whole ‘E’ thing is a mystery to me and I think I’ll take what I’ve learned from hard trad onto bigger rocks rather than chase the ever elusive ‘worlds hardest’ single pitch. I climbed Rhapsody not because it was given E11, but because it looked like a truly remarkable line.

    I think it would be interesting to look 10 years into the future and see what climbers are doing in trad, what the media chooses to report and to see where things established today have settled – maybe E10 or E14? Perhaps this is rude of me to say, but I’m way more impressed with Nico’s onsight spree in Whales than I am with these new headpoints, including my own. But that’s just me talking, I’m a punter with a different point of view every hour. Namaste.

    Congrats to James and thanks for the heads’up John. Best wishes to you.

  • Suzanne

    Route 66 is a trip I’d like to do..