Camp4: Live To Climb

Back to Web Friendly Version

Home > News Archive > Ryan Nelson Sends New Mixed Testpiece in RifleSubmit Your News

Ryan Nelson Sends New Mixed Testpiece in Rifle


by Unknown

January 09, 2003

Camp4 - Climbing News Archive

Ryan Nelson, a student at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, was very active on his month long winter school break this year. Instead of spending the holiday break sitting on the couch watching Friends reruns, he was out finding and sending some of the hardest mixed routes in Colorado. His ticklist included a first ascent of Fatman and Robin, 2nd Pitch (M9-) and the second ascent of Quazymoto (M9-) both in Vail, the first ascent of Cavegina (M8+) outside Ouray in the Skylight area with Jared Ogden, and the first ascent of Liquid Swords (M-hard) in Rifle.

He is most proud of his ascent of Liquid Swords. So we believe it is best to let Ryan describe the climb in his own words.

"It was the epitome of everything I wanted to find in a mixed route this season. Its called Liquid Swords and is found in Rifle, Colorado. I first saw the route in the summer and almost soiled my trousers. For me, this route was a glimpse at the progressive directions that mixed climbing could take. The route is a boulder problem that starts in the back of the cave and dry tools out 40 feet of horizontal roof. The roof consists of following a seam with pod like openings that accept various tool and hand placements. The roof is extra blank aside from the pods which required various new wave mixed trickery including throws from hand placements to tool placements, heel spurring tools, wrapping legs in tools... the works. The route then reaches a pillar that then gains to a 50 foot ice solo.

The route was most gratifying in that you climb such a large expanse of rock and ice completely free from the constraints of a rope. Much like the benefits of bouldering I could work almost all the moves right off the ground. When I linked everything together it was a dream come true, I couldn't have asked for a better variety of flowing moves on that steep of terrain. I thought the route would take me the majority of the season to send, because I could only do sections of the route at a time. When I fired it, I was fully in the zone and at failure pump. I couldn't believe I did it!

When I first saw the route, I thought if this thing were a little more off the deck it would be perfect. Then it occurred to me that it was no less valid doing it without a rope, and could go as a boulder problem to a solo finish, considering it is the length of a route anyway. I compared it to the cutting edge routes that define this sport, and I found that they were visionary due to there willingness to try something totally cutting edge, and were willing to bend expectations and standards to explore new methods of climbing mixed terrain. I am at a point where I don't care for repeating routes, this sport attracted me because it revolves around having a vision to try new things, and bringing new tricks to the table. That's the mission for me at least, being creative and having vision toward new dimensions of the sport.

As far as the grade of Liquid Swords... I know that it is harder than anything I have ever done (Reptile (M10), Troglodyte (M9+), and many others). Anytime you have a stretch that long of horizontal rock it is bound to be big time. It is the largest expanse of horizontal rock I have come across, aside from Musashi. I am hesitant to give it a grade because there is so much variance in grade range, I have a feeling what it may be Mbubu? M11? V10? Or M-soiledbritches. I don't really care, its quality and hard.

When I thought about doing a route in Rifle, I was especially concerned with the impact on the current nature of the park; that being one almost entirely dedicated to sport climbing and some ice climbing. The impact of the route is virtually nonexistent. The route obviously has no gear. Has nothing to do with preexisting rock climbs, and scratch marks are virtually nonexistent due to the fact that the feet are so bad campusing or using tools for feet is the nature of the climb."

You can also see Ryan Nelson climbing leashless in the new ice/mixed video titled MX by M9Films.

This comes from: Camp4
Live To Climb