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“Bone Tomahawk” (5.14d/15a) for Matty Hong and Ben Spannuth

Hong and Spannuth land a one-two punch and give the Joe Kinder testpiece its third and fourth ascents.

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Matty Hong and Ben Spannuth have claimed the third and fourth ascents of Bone Tomahawk(5.14d/15a), respectively. Located in the Fynn Cave, near St. George, Utah,  the route was established by Joe Kinder in October 2016, and first repeated by Jonathan Siegrist this past spring. 

Hong’s send came three days ago. He sent the route on his first burn of the day. A post on Black Diamond’s Instagram two days ago reads, “Some of BD Athlete Matty Hong’s hardest sends have happened as his first of the day, warm-up style. Necessary Evil (8c+/5.14c), Veinte Años Despues (9a/5.14d), Estado Critico (8c+/5.14c)… to name a few. As of yesterday, add Bone Tomahawk to that list.”

Matty Hong getting read to try Bone Tomahawk (5.14d/15a). Photo: Jon Cardwell.

Then yesterday, Ben Spannuth got in on the action. Hong shared his friend’s success on his own Instagram account. The route ranks as one of Spannuth’s hardest sends to date, along with his second ascent of Jonathan Siegrist’s Le Rêve (5.14d), Arrow Canyon, Nevada.

Ben Spannuth on Bone Tomahawk (5.14d/15a). Photo: Jon Cardwell.

Kinder originally graded Bone Tomahawk 5.14d/5.15a, telling Rock and Ice  that it might be “a normal 9a [5.14d] or a 9a+ [5.15a], but hell…. I don’t know and don’t want to state anything I’m not comfortable with.” At the time it was his hardest-ever first ascent. He went on to open Life of Villains, also in the Fynn Cave, at the end of last winter, and graded it 5.15a.

After his second ascent, Siegrist told Rock and Ice, “I definitely think it’s accurate to call [Bone Tomahawk] 15a.” Spannuth and Hong on the other hand both gave the route personal grades of 5.14d. While Siegrist has the most experience on 5.15-level climbs, the variety in opinion suggests that Kinder might have been spot on with his original slash grade.

Bone Tomahawk is the latest but far from the first of Kinder’s routes that have become sought-after testpieces. Southern Smoke (5.14c), which Kinder established in 2008, has become one of (if not the) most popular 5.14c’s in the country, with at least 30 ascents.

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