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Logan Barber’s First Free Ascent of China’s Hardest Crack!

Some exciting news coming out of China – last week Australian Logan Barber sent The Firewall in Liming, at a grade of 5.13d+. 

Photographer and writer, Garrett Bradley, touched base with us this week about a historical send by Logan Barber.

“This is the third pitch of the Flying Buttress and is now China’s hardest trad climb,” Bradley told Gripped.

Canadian James Cherry aided the line back in November 2012 and Cedar Wright projected it for around a week before returning to the U.S.  Since then, it has seen little attention until Barber began working on it in February of this year.

Gripped published a feature on Liming in May 2013 by Derek Cheng with photos by Cheng and Bradley, which talked about The Flying Buttress being the “best sandstone crack in the world,” and included two photos of The Firewall pitch.

Garrett Bradley’s Instagram: @garrettlbradley

“Earlier this year, Barber made the third ascent of Air China 5.13d, which was put up by Matt Segal several years back,” said Bradley. “Logan said The Firewall was a grade harder than Air China, but was still hesitant to grade it in the 5.14 range, thus the 5.13d+ grade.”

Gripped touched base with Barber about his recent difficult sends. “The route is the coolest first ascent I have done,” said Barber.

Logan Barber’s Instagram: @loganclimbsrocks

“It is an immaculate crack up smooth red sandstone. The crack starts out wide on a very slightly overhanging wall and slowly thins. At the halfway mark of the pitch the climbing starts to get difficult as the wall kicks back to almost 30 degrees and the crack gradually thins from tight hands into ringlocks.

Logan Barber crushed the 30-degree overhanging ring lock crux on the The Firewall in Liming China. Photo Image is Copyright Garrett Bradley. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation allowed without written permission.
Logan Barber crushed the 30-degree overhanging ring lock crux on the The Firewall in Liming China. Photo Image is Copyright Garrett Bradley. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation allowed without written permission.

“The last five meters is the crux and is bouldery sequence on ringlocks into rattly finger jams. It took me 22 attempts spread over two trips, which is eight more than the 14 tries for Segal’s Air China 5.13d took me. For both routes, I placed all gear on lead.

I think it is a harder more significant (and more inspiring) line than Air China and is pure trad (whereas Air China has a bolt).

“It is hard to grade without more input, I don’t think it deserves 5.14a and Air China was a bit soft in my opinion.”