Hazel Findlay, up-and-coming star of British trad climbing, has just returned from a very successful trip to the sandstone crack climbing paradise of Indian Creek in the Utah desert.
After a few days climbing some of the Creek's classic 5.11's and 5.12's, she turned her attention to the awesome 5.13R arete of Air Sweden, a Pat Savage route that has become perhaps the most sought-after hard line on desert sandstone in North America. Despite unseasonally hot conditions, and after taking a couple of huge falls from high on the arete, she successfully headpointed the route placing all the gear on lead.
Hazel moving out from the gear on the crux arete of Air Sweden. Photo: copyright David Pickford / www.davidpickford.com
Clearly not satisfied with having made the first female ascent of one of the most coveted testpieces of modern American trad climbing, she went on to make a casual onsight of Ruby's Cafe (5.13-), a classic thin-fingers route first climbed by Indian Creek pioneer Lisa Gnade, which features a technical changing corners section and a tough roof section at the top.
A climber approaches the changing-corners crux of Ruby's Cafe. Photo: copyright David Pickford / www.davidpickford.com
Hazel is obviously on exceptional climbing form at present, and her activities over the coming year will be watched with great interest by trad climbers both in Britain and North America.
Hazel is currently sponsored by Wild Country and La Sportiva.
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