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New 5.13b Free Route in Yosemite Valley by Mason Earle

Mason Earle has battled through the summer heat and managed to free a six-pitch 5.13b route in Yosemite Valley, California.

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Mason Earle on the last hard move of the Psycho Bitch (5.13b). Photo by Kyle Berkompas/Chuck Fryberger Films. ” />Mason Earle has battled through the summer heat and managed to free a six-pitch 5.13b route in Yosemite Valley, California. The climb–which was originally aided and named Psycho Bitch (A3+) by Kevin Andrews–is a vertical tour on Schultz’s Ridge, and includes “stacked” pitches of “truly wild climbing” according to Earle. Starting off with a classic Dale Bard 5.12b pitch, the route then quickly escalates with a 5.13b finger crack, first freed by Mikey Schaeffer and named The Dividing Line. Schaeffer had urged Earle to check out the upper four pitches, and after spending roughly two months in the Valley this summer, Earle decided to take on the mission of unlocking the rest of the free climbing on Psycho Bitch. “I started off by solo aiding the route (scary!) over the course of a few days, and then mini ‘traxioned’ the pitches, finding a free passage,” says Earle. “After the second pitch, it gets very steep and three dimensional.”

On July 24, Earle and Cruise Mclean hiked to Schultz’s ridge, and despite the soaring, 90-degree temperatures, Earle managed to redpoint the entire six pitches, which now go free at 5.12b, 5.13b, 5.12a, 5.12c, 5.12d, 5.12c. Of the route, Earle explains that the hardest moves are on the second pitch, but the crux is “keeping it together” on the steep upper pitches. “There is nothing else quite like it in Yosemite,” says Earle. Stay tuned for footage of the ascent, which will be featured in the upcoming video by Chuck Fryberger Films titled Exposure-Volume 1.