Climb-The-Calendar - 5.14s in 2014

Benjamin Eaton climbing at the Fins. Photo by Jaren Watson.
It seems as though climbers are having a little too much fun with tackling specific climbing objectives that correspond with the current year. Many spent the bulk of 2013 trying to bag their first 5.13. In 2012, I heard of people setting off to redpoint twelve 5.12s before the year’s end. Why are we climbing what the calendar dictates? I guess it all started back in the year 2000.

At the dawn of a new century, we found ourselves back at zero. We became fascinated with all the cool dates on the calendar like 01.01.01 and 01.02.03, not to mention the notorious 11.11.11. It hasn’t been rare to find Facebook flooded with status updates announcing the calendar’s current phenomenon-date. I predict that Facebook will crash when the calendar hits 01.23.45.

Benjamin Eaton on Teardrop in
American Fork.
Photo by Gabe Dewitt.
We’ve enjoyed these numerical phenomenons that we have made a game out of it with our climbing.  I mean, didn’t we all climb four 5.9s on 04.05.09? By a raise of hands, who took advantage of the year 2008 by sending their first V8? Did you force yourself to climb 5.11s three years ago? If so, you are well on your way to 5.14 this year.

On Jan 1, 2014, the Climb-The-Calendar game got a tad bit harder. But don’t worry, if you started playing back during the V0s of 2000, then you’ve worked yourself up to climb that magical 14. For everyone else that just sat down at the game table, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Because if you don’t top out on the 7 P.M. Show in Rifle before the ball drops in New York, you lose.

For most of us, the rules for this year are simple, climb a 5.14. Easier said than done. But what about people like Tommy Caldwell, Jonathan Siegrist, Christ Sharma, Sasha DiGuillian, Adam Ondra, and all those Spaniards that eat 5.14 for breakfast? Do they get a bye on this round? No. Current 5.14 climbers have to play too. And here is how they’ll do it.

In January, they have to climb one 5.14. In February, they’ll have to climb two. In March they’ll climb three and then four in April. If they follow this pattern to the end of December, they will have climbed a grand total of seventy-eight 5.14s, advancing them into the final round in 2015. My only hope is that we’ll see an expansion pack to this game that allows us to continue playing in 2016.

So whether you plan on climbing a 5.14 this year or not, I encourage you to climb hard and to be safe. Wear a helmet, check your knots, replace that tattered old harness, and remember to have fun.

Benjamin Eaton on Lunar Ecstasy in Zion National Park. Photo by Benjamin Eaton.

If you or someone you know is planning on climbing their very first 5.14 this year, we’d love to know which route has been dubbed as “The Proj.” Leave a comment below and let us know.

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