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Bladerunner is New 5.14 Trad in Squamish by Ben Harnden

The first aid ascent of the now three-pitch 5.14b/c was over 20 years ago

Ben Harnden has freed an aid route on the Kashmir Wall in Squamish at 5.14b/c, but as the veteran hard gear climber said, it’s “maybe closer to C.”

The route was established by Pat Delaney and John Furneaux back in 2000. Jeremy Smith made the first free ascent of the first pitch at 5.12b/c and climbers had looked at the second pitch over the years – the pitch that Harnden recently projected and freed.

Harnden is one of Canada’s strongest climbers with an impressive history of difficult ascents to his name, such as the third ascent of Dreamcatcher 5.14d, and repeats of Cobra Crack 5.14, The Bull 5.14R and Family Man 5.14b. In 2017, he completed the Squamish Trifecta: a 5.14 sport route, a 5.14 trad route and a V14 boulder. In 2021, he freed Dark Matter and suggested it be graded 5.14d/15a.

Harnden spent over 20 days working on the second pitch of Bladerunner, including the big-move V12. After he sent, he shared the news on Instagram, noting that he used twin ropes: “Twin rope fun on Pitch two of blade runner. 25+ days on this single pitch.” Climbers sometimes use twin ropes to protect against sharp features – watch a rope cut on Michele Caminati here.

After Harnden made the first redpoint of Bladerunner, he returned with Tempei Takeuchi for photos and made another free ascent.