Top trad climber Pete Whittaker has made the third ascent of the difficult Recovery Drink 5.14c on gear at in Jøssingfjord, Norway, this week. “After three specific trips last year, I had a sore right hand from repeatedly stabbing at the same jam,” Whittaker said. The steep crack was first climbed by Nico Favresse and repeated by Daniel Jung.
“My right heal was left wondering why it was trying to do some bizarre and contorted sequence above my head, whilst squeezing the most tenuous position on the route. And my stomach was rumbling at my first concerted effort to not be ‘Beefy Pete’ but actually have some lean and lightness about me.”
Whittaker returned this year after analyzing what went wrong. “If I’m trying to put my foot above me I’m too weak to do real sequences and I’m kidding myself,” he thought. “I need to be stronger. I need to be more reliable.”
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The crux of Recovery Drink (my way). It's great that this route has so many different methods in the crux sequence; @nicofavresse used drop knees and sport climbing finesse to battle the crux. @danieljungg used an easier setup sequence but 1 single bouldery move. @tompaulrandall is going pure crack (he loves it). Everybody has a different way, it's all about finding the one that fits your style. My style is high heel hooks, because high heals are like extra hands, and I need the extra hand because I can't hold on long enough with the other two. Warm toes, warm fingers, fresh muscles and that little bit of needed luck, let's do this. . 📸thanks @tristan_hobson for capturing the 3 handed method!
The crux of the route is a karate-style hand-jam stab/throw and Whittaker said the beta he used made this move easier than how others were trying. “I was going thumbs down into the jam, rather than thumbs up, so I did catch the jam on multiple occasions, on previous trips, without so much fuss. The problem for me came afterwards – matching the jam. Matching with your hand in the thumbs down position.”
Whittaker said, “During my May dogging session, I was amazed to find i’d actually missed a marginal three-finger doughnut jam below the karate slot. It was quite specific, but it fit my porky fingers perfectly and enabled me to flick the karate hand in to the desired thumb up position.”
At the end of day two on his most recent visit, he decided to go for the redpoint. “I wasn’t expecting much, more a cheeky look to get the initial lead out the way. You know take a fall, get used to the wall again.
“Miraculously I found myself mid-crux with some power in the tank. Not much, but some, and albeit feeling the sag, some is always enough for something extra to happen. Left heal went on for the match and it didn’t come off, which was a surprise, because I was milking it much more than the hold really allowed.
“I realized I better carry on, so shut my eyes to try harder and fondled for the jam doughnut. I then realized I couldn’t see a bloody thing, so opened them again, found I was still connected to the wall, flipped my hand the ‘correct way’ and unbelievably found myself established beyond the crux.”
While the route has never received a grade, Whitaker said: “Not officially graded, but considered 8c+ [5.14c] I think.”