On Sunday March 16, Mark Anderson of Evergreen, Colorado, ticked one of America's hardest sport climbs by making the third ascent of Mission Impossible (5.14c/d) in Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado. Established by Daniel Woods in 2012 and quickly repeated by Jonathan Siegrist that same year, Mission Impossible is a 75-foot tour de force up the right side of Clear Creek Canyon's Wall of the 90s.
"I expected a battle, but when I got to the crux I just cruised through," Anderson told Rock and Ice. "I think it was just time."
Anderson is no stranger to the hard climbing at Clear Creek Canyon, having previously repeated Jonathan Siegrist's link-up Mission Overdrive (5.14a/b), which combines the start of Mission Impossible with the neighboring Interstellar Overdrive (5.13d).
"I was very curious about Mission Impossible," says Anderson. "I finally got on it in January of this year."
Anderson made quick progress on the route, but during his fourth day of attempts, he sliced open the pad of his right ring-finger and ended his chances of sending that month, though he says he taped his finger and "tried in vain" for three more days.
After returning to the route this March, Anderson needed three more days to pull off the third ascent.
"I had already put in the time to learn the moves, so it was just a matter of my fitness coming together," he says. "The conditions were perfect, my fitness was perfect, and I was finally mentally ready to accept success."
A self-proclaimed "weekend warrior," the 36-year-old Anderson supervises a team of computer engineers and fathers two kids with his wife Kate while not pulling down at the crag.
"I love climbing, but I also love other things life has to offer," he says. "Living in Colorado, where there is so much convenient access to rock makes it possible to balance my climbing passion with a fulfilling family life and career."
Though Anderson says his time on real rock might be limited, he compensates with indoor training.
"I’ve developed a training program with my brother Mike Anderson, and we have a book coming out in April called The Rock Climber’s Training Manual that explains our approach in detail."
Mark's training seems to be paying off. He had already redpointed fierce Colorado testpieces such as Grand Ol' Opry (5.14b/c) in the Monastery of Estes Park and Flight of the Phoenix (5.14b) at Shelf Road and now he has just completed his hardest ascent to date by sending Mission Impossible.