Jean-Pierre “PeeWee” Ouellet has established himself as one of the top crack climbers in the world. In recent years, he has put up a slew of hard 5.13/5.14 jamming testpieces such as the first free ascents of Necronomicon (5.13d/14a) and La Zebree (5.14a). This month, PeeWee, 34, has freed another crack classic with the first ascent of Mexican Snow Fairy (5.13+) outside of Moab, Utah.
The 45-meter route is a burly, sustained finger crack—mostly finger and thin-finger sizes, but with a few sections of rattly fingers and some tips crimping. Located in Longs Canyon, off Potash Road, Mexican Snow Fairy has a few crux sections. The route begins with a 15-meter 5.11 corner and leads into the first crux: a twin crack system that is too thin for finger jamming.
“You crimp/gaston the crack and work your feet on a sloping rail,” explains Ouellet. “Eventually you can get a very thin two-finger jam. That section felt around V7.
“Then you get to the ‘Angry Inch’ section! Purple C4’s: which is a very hard size for me.”
After a rest, the route soars with 25 meters of perfect 5.12+ finger jamming. After that, another V6-7 crux: “The crack gets too thin to jam again, so you use a small slopey crimp on the left and stab for a pinky-jam pinch hold. From there, you have to do a balance-y high-step and a few moves of power liebacking to a ‘Thank-God’ hand jam!”
Ouellet spent about 10 days working Mexican Snow Fairy before his redpoint, but he could only try the route once per day due to how painful it was and the fact that it would cause one of his fingers to swell. The gear is reportedly good overall; the crack takes many cams in the .3 C4 range. Ouellet used the very micro .1 and .2 Black Diamond X4s on the initial crux, which, he says, “was always kind of scary since the rock is softer than at Indian Creek. But I took a fall a few times and it was always fine.”
Also on this Moab trip, Ouellet flashed The Vadge (5.13-), a roof crack established by Rob Pizem, and onsighted the first ascent of an 18-meter roof crack: Fisting the Crack (5.13-).
Photo courtesy Andrew Burr and Black Diamond Journal.