Last Friday, Dan Mirsky’s vision of climbing a new line through the sprag-pockets and tufa-pinch cruxes of Utah’s steep Cathedral cave culminated in a send of Solid Gold (5.14c), which is the crag’s latest top-tier sport route.
Mirsky’s new rig crosses a difficult boulder problem before linking into Joe Kinder’s Golden Direct (5.14c/d). The line then finishes on the crag’s flagship route Golden (5.14b).
“Initially my goal was simply to send Golden,” Mirsky told Rock and Ice. “But when we showed up I immediately noticed that Joe Kinder had added a bolt, which would allow for what became Solid Gold without my doing anything else besides tying in and trying.”
Mirsky began trying the line last fall but was eventually shut down by the onslaught of wet weather. However, after stationing his newly purchase Airstream trailer in the Utah desert, he patiently waited for better conditions. Around mid-February, conditions improved and Mirsky decided he was “all in for Solid Gold.”
By March, Mirsky was making good links on the route nearly every go, but a wet undercling on the existing Golden remained an issue. “I started resorting to coating the inside of the undercling in aluminum foil (an old trick someone showed me in Rifle),” says Mirsky. “It kinda worked…”
Finally, by the beginning of April, the crux undercling dried and Mirsky says he “took the ol’ foil off, and then it was on.” After climbing half a move higher on each attempt for a little less than a week, Mirsky finally had what he describes as a “nearly flawless” attempt, which saw him climbing to the chains of Solid Gold (5.14c). "I climbed out of the cave and stood in the sun and then jumped," says Mirsky of his victory whip.
Mirsky explains that he is “hard pressed to call this a true first ascent,” due to the new route's combination of already existing sport climbs, but he says that he always envisioned what is now Solid Gold while climbing in Cathedral.
“In the past, sitting in the cave looking up at Golden, I had noticed that the route could go in this way and it seemed to me the most direct, obvious line,” says Mirsky. “I’m happy that the full Golden is now a reality.”