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North America, United States, Utah, Zion National Park, Zion Canyon, The Narrows, Freak Show, and Sheer Lunacy

The Narrows, Freak Show, and Sheer Lunacy, First Free Ascent. In the spring, I climbed a new seven-pitch route called the Freak Show, located in the mouth of the Narrows, about a ten-minute walk up the paved path from the Temple of Sinawava. The route is across the stream, faces southeast, and is about the same length as Touchstone. The pitches are a mix of bolts and gear: 5.10a face, 5.12b face, 5.11d face and crack, 5.12b face, 5.11b crack, 5.10c face, 5.10a face. The first ascent was done ground-up, with descent by rappel. I worked on the route with Kirsten Dockstader and Jerry Healey.

I completed the first free ascent of Sheer Lunacy, the free variation going at 5.12c on my one-push redpoint from the ground. The 60-meter final crux headwall pitch is probably the best free climbing pitch in Zion! The other variation, 5.13b/c, has only been climbed as a single pitch, and is the hardest free route in the park. I worked on the route with several different partners (Kirsten Dockstader, Brad Barlage, and Drew Bedford); we spent a bunch of time working on the original aid line.

Douglas Heinrich, unaffiliated