French climber Caroline Ciavaldini has repeated one of America’s classic single-pitch trad routes called The Greatest Show on Earth.

Established in 1988 by Lynn Hill and Tim Toula on pre-placed gear, Hill led the steep roof climb at 5.12d. The test-piece has since been upgraded to 5.13a.

Ciavaldini made the likely second female ascent of the burly climb last week. She said after: “And that should be the second female ascent of The Greatest Show On Earth 5.13a in New river Gorge, after no less than Lynn Hill.

“A well deserved name for an unforgettable route. Some routes you choose for the history, some for the line, that one both.”

The pitch is one of the aesthetic in the area. It starts up a boulder below a fixed pin and climbs up to the base o the roof. Then you head into a slopey jug and the beta-intensive roof sequence of horizontal finger locks.

A big jug over the lip gives you time to place gear. From their, you blast up the corner with slopey laybacks. Watch a send of The Greatest Show on Earth below.


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