The End of an Era—After returning from a two-month climbing trip to France, Jon Cardwell turned his sights on the
last remaining test-pieces in Rifle, Colorado. That is, the handful that he had yet to climb.
He made the second ascent of Shadow Boxing (5.14d)—a
45-meter route bolted by Nicolas Favresse and first climbed by Jonathan Siegrist in 2011—onsighted Roadside Prophet (5.14a), flashed
Uncertainty Principle (5.13d) and flashed Waka Flocka (5.14b) last summer.
“[Waka Flocka] is probably the climb I’m most proud of this season so far,” Cardwell told Rock and Ice after his ascent. “I
couldn’t have imagined flashing 5.14 in Rifle even last year, and now with Roadside Prophet I have done it twice haha.”
Cardwall also sent Waka Flocka Flame (5.14c), a linkup of Waka Flocka into Living the Dream (5.14a/b), on his second go.
Along with these routes, Cardwell sent a lot of “easier” classics that he hadn’t tried in the past, he said, such as Living in Fear (5.13d), Slice of Life (5.14a), Fools Gold (5.14a), Class Act (5.14a), Planet X (5.14b), and Moment Musical (5.14a)—a new route
established by Steve Hong the year before, at age 60.
Rifle, with 35 5.14s, is one of the most concentrated crags for hard sport routes in the country. And after Shadow Boxing and Waka Flocka,
Cardwell has nearly climbed them all.
“It was sort of bittersweet as it, in some ways, marked the end of a climbing era for me in Rifle,” Cardwell said.
But as his era in Rifle came to an end, his “drive to establish new routes is stronger than ever now,” he said, “especially having climbed up at the Fortress
[of Solitude] this spring and realizing that there’s still blank walls to be explored.
“I’ve looked around and there seems to be limestone in every direction.”