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Mike Doyle Continues Sending Spree in Smith

Our current cover boy, Mike Doyle, isn’t living in the glory from his big send of Necessary Evil 5.14c, instead he’s putting himself through the ringer over and over, only this time in Oregon.

Mike Doyle working To Bolt or Not To Bolt 5.14a.  Photo from Mike Doyle's Instagram
Mike Doyle working To Bolt or Not To Be 5.14a. Photo: Mike Doyle’s Instagram

Fresh from a successful trip to the Virgin River Gorge, Doyle moved his basecamp from Arizona to a friend’s house near Smith Rocks. With the ability to work remotely, Doyle has been able to focus his energy on longtime his projects while making an income.

On March 17, Doyle sent The Big R 5.14a and said, “Such a great variety of movement. I really enjoyed this climb. Probably my favorite at the grade in Smith.”

The April/May issue of Gripped Magazine with Mike Doyle sending Necessary Evil 5.14c on the cover.
The April/May issue of Gripped Magazine with Mike Doyle sending Necessary Evil 5.14c on the cover.

Then, one day after April Fools, Doyle sent one of the most famous routes in the world, To Bolt or Not To Be 5.14a.

The legendary route climbs a wall of thin tuff edges with little in the way of feet. It became the first 5.14a in North America after Jean Baptiste Tribout freed it on Nov. 7, 1986.

Over the last nearly three decades, a number of the world’s best climbers focused their attention on the hard routes. Climbers such as, Scott Franklin, Jerrry Moffat, Ron Kauk, Alan Watts, Doug Englekirk, Steve Schneider, Lynn Hill, Chris Sharma, Dave Graham, Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, Sonny Trotter, Steve McClure, Drew Ruana, Paige Claassen and many others.

There are nearly 100 difficult moves passed 14 well-placed bolts a climber must link together. Doyle said, “The ‘crux’ is just knowing when and how to move your feet. Moving a foot wrong will throw your position off and then make the next moves much harder. I think the physical crux was at the fourth bolt or the ninth. Fortunately the first time I got to the ninth I did the move and went to the top. It’s more a mental battle. Over 100 moves and I feel like I could have fallen on 90 of them.”

Doyle sent the route in less than 10 tries and the impressiveness of his ascent was felt on social media where countless climbers praised his speedy send of the notoriously hard line. It took Doyle three tries on April 2 and his redpoint was made on his first attempt without tapped fingers.

On his Sendage.com scorecard, Doyle wrote, “An all time classic line. It requires more mental strength than physical strength and I was very happy not to slip off this one. I’ve probably walked by this climb over a hundred times in the last 20 years and I finally got the courage up to try it. Not too bad.”

On Doyle’s Facebook page, Andrew Thomas Hunzicker wrote, “Mike, I will be the first to congratulate you on a very quick send of To Bolt. You get to add you name to a very amazing list of world class climbers who have done this one over the years, and the very short list of people who have sent very quickly.”

With this send, Doyle’s Sendage.com 5.14 count is exactly 50, but chances are it won’t rest there for long.

A photo posted by Mike Doyle (@mgdoyle) on

-Source: Sendage.com, Mountain Project, Mike Doyle, Instagram

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