Sonnie Trotter Establishes His Hardest Trad Climb – Family Man (5.14b)On October 21, Sonnie Trotter finished off a project that he believes to be the hardest trad route he has ever established.
“There isn’t much time to place a lot of gear,” he says. “With that being said, it will suit shorter, stronger, braver climbers much better. I’m tall and weak with medium sized fingers, and so I had to do moves I don’t think a more compact climber with skinny tips will have to do.”
The difficulties began to seem reasonable for Trotter, however, and yesterday he felt ready to give the route his first lead attempt.
“The temps were impeccable, 59 degrees, mix of sun and cloud, dry and crispy,” says Trotter. “It was also the first time my wife and son had been back since April, so I was feeling inspired to put on a good show for them.”
Trotter surprised himself and sent the project on his first lead attempt, placing the gear on the go. Trotter spent a total of eight days on the route. He decided to name the climb Family Man and suggests soft 5.14b for the line.
“I’m going to give this climb a personal grade of soft 5.14b and see where it ends up over time,” he says.
When asked how Family Man compares with his other trad first ascents including the infamous Cobra Crack (5.14), which is often considered the hardest crack climb in the world, Trotter replied:
It’s definitely harder than my other trad first ascents, like Sugar Daddy (5.14) in Squamish, or Direquiem (5.14) in Scotland, and The Path (5.14) in Lake Louise, but the Cobra is tricky. I’ve been on the Cobra since my first ascent, and I was able to do all the moves pretty much first try. I think if I were to try the Cobra now, knowing what I know about the beta, I think it would go down much quicker than this route did. But, I’ve also been trying this climb by myself so far, so I could be doing everything wrong and backwards, and maybe one day someone will find a better solution.”
But he adds:
“No matter how hard the climb is, or how pretty it is, what I’ll never forget are simply the days being out there doing what I love the most, with the people I love the most. That’s just the greatest feeling in the world for me right now.”
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