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Jonathan Siegrist: 5.14 First Ascent in the Flatirons, Colorado

After sending La Rambla (9a+/5.15a) in Siurana, Spain this March, Jonathan Siegrist returned home and established a new 5.14b, I am the Walrus, on Seal Rock at the Flatirons, outside of Boulder, Colorado.

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“I’ve always loved climbing in the Flatirons,” Siegrist told Rock and Ice. “It’s a pleasure to add a new route in a place where I know the community will enjoy it.”

Siegrist envisioned and bolted the line in 2013 (with permit), but summer heat that year and his later climbing trips around the world prevented him from trying it until this June.

Elliot Bates, a longtime friend and climbing partner of Siegrist’s, had climbed all the other routes on the wall and asked Siegrist if he could work on the new project.

“I said ‘hell yes,’” Siegrist said. “Linking up with an old friend and seeing this cool project come to fruition was icing on the cake.”

Bates cleaned the route and began working out the beta. Finding a variation to the right of Siegrist’s original vision, he moved a few of the bolts so it would climb between two tufas.

“I may have planted the seed,” Siegrist wrote on Facebook, “but Elliot really put this thing together and did the lion’s share of the work.”

When he returned from Spain, Siegrist began working on the variation alongside Bates, using slightly different beta through the lower boulder problems. On June 8, just as the summer heat was beginning to set in, Siegrist sent the route. He said his favorite section, “a tough boulder problem guarding the chains that’s featured with pebbles and pockets just like a Flagstaff Mountain boulder problem,” was also his biggest challenge with the warmer weather. “It’s a cool style, and you’re well above 30 meters at this point, so the position is awesome.”

Siegrist will be staying in Colorado this summer, training for the fall season and “trying to pick off some random routes here and there and maybe even do a little bouldering.”