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Beyond the Mostest – James Pearson Climbs Power Ranger (5.14 R)

Pearson goes full American in his quest to establish one of the United States' hardest and boldest trad lines to date.

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From the Youtube page: “After being a true French in order to conquer Le Bronx, the 8c+ [5.14c] route freed by Francois Petit in Orgon, James Pearson’s [cultural metamorphosis  continues as he heads to Chattanooga, Tennessee. This time, the challenge is Power Ranger (5.14 R) and forces James to overcome his limits and go beyond… The mostest….].”

For going on five years, James Pearson has been searching for next-level trad lines to push himself and the level of the sport.

When Tennessee locals showed him the Power Ranger project, he knew he had found something special. In a December 2017 interview with Rock and Ice, Pearson described it as follows:

It’s a bold start—something like a 5.12- X down low. If you don’t fall off for the first 20 feet you’re fine. Then there’s a huge rest before the this stunning shield of white sandstone where the climb follows this beautiful, single, kind of closed crack-line.

The headwall is pretty run out. The strange thing about this route is its almost not even a trad climb: you end up placing all the gear then down-climbing back to a super good rest, compose yourself, and then when you do the headwall it’s like 30 moves without placing gear. It’s like a giant boulder problem way up there in the air.

The headwall starts fairly powerful, long moves on good holds, and then all of a sudden it changes to super balance-y weird movement—it’s like slab climbing on an overhang. There are a lot of body positions I had to learn before it even felt possible.

Later on it switches again into power endurance. You do this techy, slabby section, and then soon you can start to pull on the holds again. Every second you’re getting further and further away from the last piece of gear.

It’s a super super cool route. I think it’s a pretty good all around challenge for someone who wants to repeat it. It’s fairly safe. I was pretty hesitant with the grade—is it PG? Is it R? Is it R/X?

It’s a bit like Rhapsody: you can take huge falls, but unless something goes really wrong—like the rope wraps around your leg or you flip upside down—you probably won’t hurt yourself.

Also read Interview: James Pearson on Power Ranger, His New 5.14 R