Professional Photographer Mai Duong, the most enthusiastic photographer you will ever meet.

Ode to the Iron Man V4

I’m writing this post from the comfy couch of the Circuit Gym. From my seat, I can see climbers working on a V4 problem that I had finally sent just last week. It’s a great problem and I struggled with the very last move many, many, many times. It wasn’t so much a physically difficult move, but rather a mentally terrifying move (I also have a mental block with that particular wall). But, after many, many, many, attempts, I finally sent it! So, in honor of that, I’m making a post about a classic V4 problem:

The Iron Man Traverse

This traverse is located in the Buttermilks of Bishop, CA. Recently, I went on a climbing trip with close friends and family who worked and worked very hard on this problem. In the end, Ben was the only one was able to send it. Oh well. It’s a great reason to come back to Bishop again!

The route (beware of beta being given out):

Start of the Iron Man Traverse

Start at the far left side of the ridge

Then you traverse, and traverse, and traverse:

Iron Man Traverse

As you traverse, you’ll notice that the feet are disappearing and that wonderful ledgy ridge is turning into a small crimpy ridge:

Iron Man Traverse

Then, 2/3rds of the way through the traverse, there are no feet left! What to do? Obviously use fancy feet work. Now, most climbers tend to use the heel hook, Andy, our resident tall creative climber opted to do a sick toe hook. It only worked for him:

Iron Man Traverse Iron Man Traverse

Once you get your heel/toe hook in place, you then continue to traverse the final third of the traverse. Once you reach the right side of the ridge, your best chance at topping out is to pop up to the lovely slope at the top:

Iron Man Traverse Iron Man Traverse

Again, where to put the feet? Options, heel hook, smearing, or pure will:

Iron Man Traverse Iron Man Traverse

If you manage to stick your hand to the sloper, swing your leg up and reach blindly out for the huge foot hold (it’s farther than you think).

Iron Man Traverse Iron Man Traverse

At this point, you’ve gotten farther than most, and use that pure adrenaline and desperation to move on to other amazing problems in the Buttermilks, and pull yourself over to the top!

Iron Man Traverse


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