The Homegrown Star of American Climbing
Jonathan Siegrist is one of the few American sport climbers who has dedicated himself almost entirely to developing routes on his home ground. As Chris Sharma has settled in Spain and Ethan Pringle and Dave Graham have bounced between continents over the past two years, Siegrist has opened a half-dozen 5.14s around the States, including testpieces like Pure Imagination (5.14d) in Kentucky's Red River Gorge and Shadowboxing (5.14c/d) in Rifle, Colorado.
On February 21, Siegrist added one more tick to that list with the first ascent of Le Rêve (French for "The Dream") in Arrow Canyon, Nevada. With its proposed grade of 5.14d/15a, the line is Siegrist's hardest yet. "It's clear to me that this route defines a new category of difficulty for me," Siegrist wrote on his blog. "Le Rêve took twice the effort of any route I've done save maybe one of my first 5.14s."
The route itself looks wild, a super-steep line of pockets and microholds up the edge of a hundred-foot-high limestone amphitheater. While the grade hasn't been confirmed, it's likely the most difficult sport climb in Nevada, and probably among the ten hardest in the U.S. For those of us who can only dream of sending at this astronomically high level, Andy Mann and Keith Ladzinski of 3 Strings Media shot the above video of Siegrist fighting his way to the top.