Badass ticklist: Connor Herson repeats Squamish's hardest cracks

It was the American Connor Herson's first international climbing trip and it was a tough one: The 20-year-old high-flyer repeated some of the really big trad test pieces in Crack of Destiny (8c), Cobra Crack (8c) and Tainted Love (8b). Squamish and rounded off his trip with more hard ascents.

Connor Herson once again caused a stir in the climbing scene: After he freed one of the most famous big walls with the Nose as a 15-year-old and completed a tough trad ascent with Empath (2022a) in 9, he recently cleared in Squamish. In the Canadian climbing mecca, the 20-year-old repeated Crack of Destiny (8c) Cobra Crack (8c) or Tainted Love (8b) some of the really big trad touchstones. The sport climbing route also got him further during his trip Spirit Quest (9a), the multi-pitch route Stélmexw (8a+) and Eurasian Eyes (8a).

That's what Connor Herson says about his ticklist

When I saw Didier Berthod's pictures of the first ascent of Crack of Destiny (8c), I knew I had to try this crack line. In terms of style, difficulty and quality, it truly is Cobra Crack 2.0.

Connor Herson

Speaking of which, growing up, Sonnie Trotter's legendary route was always a dream of mine, so it was at the top of my bucket list during this trip. I'm happy that I was able to climb it so quickly and also extremely happy that I didn't need the one-finger clamp.

While waiting for my skin to recover from the cracked sessions, I did some sport climbing. Spirit Quest (9a), drilled by Tom Wright and first ascent by Mike Foley, really drew me in. The quality of the line is surreal. I also climbed the route Eurasian Eyes (8a). The line is just too beautiful to be left out.

Tainted Love (8b) was my first serious ascent of the trip. The trad line first climbed by Hazel Findlay intimidated me a little with its meager coverage. But after trying them in toprope, I couldn't skip them.

From the five pitches of Stélmexw (8a +) I was able to get the second ascent. My foot slipped on one of the lower pitches, and I was able to flash the rest of the route.

I wasn't sure what to expect from my first international climbing trip. The time in Squamish was absolutely awesome. Everything was there: wonderful scenery, unbelievable rock quality and all kinds of climbing styles. Being able to walk these lines within a month was a tour de force."

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Credits: Cover picture Sonnie Trotter

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