[The following is a designated ‘John-only’ to-do]
A quick lesson on climbing: The “grade” or difficulty of a climb is a slippery thing. There are many different ways that climbs can be graded. Even after a climb has been graded, most climbers will dispute the accuracy of a grade endlessly. In the case of lead or top roping, grades are generally broken down by the 5.x system. Starting more or less from 5.1, which the elderly and small children can climb, and going up to about 5.15, which only about one or two people in the world can actually ascend (no one has ever on-sited).
My goal for this year was to get to the point that I can work through a 5.11. In a recent climbing trip to Rumney, New Hampshire with my good friend Daniel Moore, I finally managed my first 5.11. The climb, nonsensically labelled “Debby does CPR,” had a nicely challenging overhang which I managed to mantle after a couple takes. Then a half a dozen moves up a slab from the ledge to clip off on the final top bolts. I also cleaned up and rapped down for the first time from this route.
Unfortunately since Dan had to focus on belaying me and keeping me from decking on the jagged rocks below he wasn’t able to get any photos of me on the actual route. However, I did manage to put together a nice photo merge of the full route which you can see below.