Sam Tucker has climbed First Flight 5.14c at Acephale for one of his toughest ticks to date.
First Flight was first climbed by Josh Muller in 2014 and it was originally bolted by Lev Pinter a few years earlier.
“This route starts on Prime Time 5.14c, after you do the double-gaston iron-cross on Prime Time you move right through a powerful traverse until you link up with First Flight proper,” said Muller.
“Climb the subtle but dynamic face to a final crux right before the victory slab.”
The stiff route was repeated by Zak McGurk in 2015 and flashed by Alex Megos in 2016.
“Did one of the last remaining hard routes here at Acephale First Flight 5.14c on my first try. I knew the bottom of it from another climb but the upper two thirds were new,” said Megos.
“Super cool route. As well did the slabby 5.14a (8b+) called Ojas. If anybody ever onsights that thing, that’s at least as impressive as flashing 5.14d.”
Tucker stared climbing at nine years old at a summer camp at the Calgary Climbing Centre and continued climbing with that gym’s team until 18.
Tucker told told Localdropmag.com, “My favourite part about climbing is that every once in a while, you just feel completely weightless.”
“Every little bit of perfection you’ve been trying to work towards in your training comes together and something that you know is challenging for you feels easy and perfect and finessed. That’s probably the highlight of climbing for me.”
Tucker spent his winter working in Calgary and is back to climbing full time.
Over the past few years, after his successful indoor competition climbing career, he’s put time into hard rock routes.
Last year, he spent a number of days projecting The Path 5.14a at Lake Louise, a difficult gear-protected route.
He’s climbed 5.14s such as The Illusionist at Planet X and Existence Mundane 5.14b at Acephale.
“My favourite place that I’ve ever climbed out of everywhere in the world is right here in the Bow Valley,” said Tucker.
“Yeah, the hikes suck and the season is short, but the climbing is so good and the people are great. If I could climb one place for the rest of my life, it’d be right here.”
The Illusionist (14a). I expected to battle pretty hard for this one after my first time up it. I didn't figure much out. But then I cheated and used a knee bar so it went 3rd go. Thanks for the shot @timbanfield :^) • • • @butoracanada @boulderdenim @flashedclimbing @calgaryclimbing @thewesternbloc