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Cameron Hörst Is On a Sending Spree – Three 5.14d Routes in a Month

The first was in the Clear Light Cave near Las Vegas. The second and third were in the Red River Gorge.

American climber Cameron Hörst, 22, is having an excellent late-winter climbing season. Over a period of 34 days, he climbed three 5.14d routes in the United States—Smoke Wagon at Mount Potosi, Nevada and Southern Smoke Direct and Zoolander in the Red River Gorge in Kentucky.

Smoke Wagon 5.14d

Hörst started his sending spree on February 5 with a redpoint of Smoke Wagon 5.14d, located in the Clear Light Cave of Mount Potosi, not far from Las Vegas. Originally bolted by Andy Raether, the climb was first ascended by Jonathan Siegrist in February 2020. Like most routes in the giant limestone cave, the route is extremely steep. It contains pumpy, bouldery climbing with a very dynamic crux. Joe Kinder repeated the route December 2022.

“This route put me through a lot to say the least,” said Hörst via his 8a.nu page. “A complete anti-style (long resistant) route for me coupled with lots of breakage, seeping and bad luck made for a prolonged/memorable experience. Glad I stuck this one out despite the many instances that would cause one to say screw it.”

To check out the wild climbing in the Clear Light Cave, check out this video of Siegrist on the first ascent of Smoke Wagon.

Southern Smoke Direct 5.14d

On March 5, Hörst sent Southern Smoke Direct 5.14d while on a trip to the Red River Gorge. Located at the Bob Marley crag, the line starts with a hard boulder problem before working its way into the very pumpy and overhanging Southern Smoke 5.14c.

Some of the world’s best climbers have sent the route. In 2012, Adam Ondra flashed it, calling it “benchmark 9a”. Daniel Woods and Stefano Ghisolfi have also redpointed the line.

“I’ve tried [the route] every now and then during weekend trips when I still lived in the east,” said Hörst, again via his 8a.nu. “Never had the time to stay and see the process through. Since I have been feeling fit, I decided to make a return trip to the Red and finally seal the deal. Hit the boulder perfect and was smooth sailing to the top!”

Zoolander 5.14d

Yesterday, March 10, Hörst sent Zoolander 5.14d located at the Old Zoo crag in the Red. Alex Megos made the first ascent of the route back in 2019 while Hörst was belaying. Daniel Woods and Yanic Flohe have since made repeats.

The route is different in character than both Smoke Wagon and Southern Smoke. It’s instead a power endurance test, consisting of stacked boulder problems up a very crimpy steep wall. It only took Hörst a couple sessions to send the route.

After this string of big sends, we’ll have to wait and see if Hörst throws down any more hard lines while on his trip at the Red.

Cameron Hörst

Hörst is pro climber and climbing trainer and performance coach. He was a climbing prodigy, sending 5.13 at age nine and 5.14 at age 11. His hardest redpoint to date was Bone Tomahawk 5.15a in Utah, which he sent in 2021. According to his 8a.nu profile, he has climbed eight 5.14d’s and 13 5.14c’s. He is the son of Eric Hörst, acclaimed climbing coach and author How to Climb 5.12 and Training for Climbing.