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Joe Skopec Repeats Historic Sonnie Trotter 5.14 in Ontario

During his 2020 5.14 send-train that includes first ascents

In the first issue of Gripped magazine, published in October/November 1999, Sonnie Trotter made the news for making the first ascents of Bionic Spaceboy at Old Baldy and Shaven Yak at Metclafe.

Joe Skopec made the second ascent of Shaven Yak, which is found on the Overhang Wall next to the classic Dynamic Duo on Sept. 25. Here’s the history.

Shaven Yak, which someone else bolted and named, was given the grade of 5.13d by Trotter. “It was harder than Architecture & Morality,” said Trotter. “I gave it 5.13d because I didn’t have much to compare it to.”

Architecture & Morality was a route at Metcalfe climbed first, and graded, by Harry Hoediono. Trotter graded Bionic Spaceboy, which is a hard one-move wonder route, 5.14a, as he said it took him more attempts than other 5.14s he had sent.

The 2020 grade of Bionic Spaceboy sits at 5.13d, which makes Shaven Yak the first 5.14 ever climbed in Ontario. Trotter sent his famous Lion’s Head route, Titan 5.14a, in the year 2000.

You can watch a video compiled by Mike Penney that shows Trotter on Shaven Yak here (skip to 2:50).

Skopec said the pinches and undercling crux of Shaven Yak is, “Very powerful for the first four bolts. Then pulling the roof has a very technical crux. Have to be good on your feet. No muscling the move there.”

Skopec said the only route he can compare it to is RP at Crag X, which goes at 5.14a. He said it’s harder than RP and that it’s “100 per cent 5.14a and not an easy one either.”

He tried it early in his climbing career, but only needed yesterday and today to get the redpoint. The route was seeping during his send.

“I love climbing history,” said Skopec. “So, it means a lot to me to send this route.” Skopec has climbed nearly every route on the Niagara Escarpment, many with his father, Karel.

This summer, Skopec has climbed a number of 5.14s, including: Darksin 5.14b/c FA at Hell’s Gate in Ontario, The Broken Tusk 5.14b/c FA in Ontario, Lion’s Head Express 5.14b in Ontario and Fire and Blood 5.14+ in Ontario.