Heather Weidner has become the first woman to send the hard China Doll 5.14aR in Dream Canyon, Colorado. By doing so, she became the fourth woman ever to climb 5.14 on gear. In 2015, Heather wrote the following on her blog, “It’s only been done by fewer than 10 guys (all the biggest names) despite being located 25 minutes from the most densely populated climber city in the country. Since I wanted to do another hard trad line, I thought this would have to be my goal. This would be a real prize tick in my book.” Read the full post here and check out her post-climb stoke on Instagram here.
The first ascent was 35 years ago by Kyle Copeland and Marc Hirt. They established five pitches and graded it 5.9 A3+. Eventually, parts were freed at 5.11 and the obvious crux was worked on over the years. Bob Horan project the steep crack in the late 1980s on gear and suggested hard 5.13. Because the gear was finicky, Horan added bolts and sent the second pitch in 1996. Adam Stack soon freed the pitch on gear at 5.13c, but the bolts remained. Eventually a higher anchor was added by Chris Weidner and Stack sent the extension at 5.13c/d. Some suggested the crack could go in one long pitch with gear placed on lead. Eventually, the full pitch went to Mike Patz on gear at 5.14aR.
I can hardly contain my excitement. @heatherlweidner wrapped up her year long battle with "China Doll" (5.14a), a traditional and first female ascent in Dream Canyon, Colorado. Not only is this achievement totally bad ass on its own but Heather has become the 4th woman in history to climb 5.14 on trad gear and its only the 5th trad climb ever done by a woman of the grade. Completely awesome and it has been so cool to have followed Heather since day 1 on this project. We have been documenting her whole journey for a feature length film so stay tuned! Congrats Heather. Well deserved. @louderthan11 @joshuauhl @christopherweidner @carolinelovesphotos #lt11
It starts up a 5.10 or 5.8 start to a ledge where you gain a splitter corner. You then climb hard moves on marginal gear to get into the crack proper. The best protection here is an HB offset or master cam. The pro above is good, but spaced to a large horn and goes at hard 5.13. From the rest, you power through jamming tips up an overhanging corner. A small cam and nut protect the crux. After a thin crack you prepare for the final crux. Watch Matt Segal send China Doll and be on the look out for the new film with Heather.