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The World’s Hardest Trad Routes by Winter 2021

A list of the hardest gear climbs and who's sent them

Photo by: Photo Bride of Sonnie Trotter on Cobra Crack

The world’s hardest trad climbs are mostly located in the U.S.A., Canada and the U.K. with a few spread around Europe. We have six in Canada: Cobra Crack 5.14b, Family Man 5.14a, La Zébrée 5.14a, Sugar Daddy 5.14a, The Path 5.14a and Tom Egan Memorial Route 5.14a. Below is a list compiled by Willis Kuelthau at 99boulders.

The Dawn Wall’s overall grade is 5.14d, but those pitches are bolted. The most difficult trad pitches are 5.14a/b. Jacopo Larcher likely has one of the hardest trad sends to date with his route Tribe which is likely 5.14+ or harder, but he didn’t grade it.

The Path 5.14a at Back of the Lake in the Canadian Rockies is likely the most repeated 5.14 trad route. It was first climbed by Sonnie Trotter and has been repeated by some of the world’s best all-round climbers.

Wide boyz climbers Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker recently set an indoor crack that might be 5.14d, scroll down to watch. While a list of climbers who’ve sent these routes is included, we’ve likely missed a few that went unrecorded.

Hard Trad

Blackbeard’s Tears 5.14c (8c+), Redwood Coast, U.S.A. by Ethan Pringle
Brozone 5.14b (8c), Gunks, U.S.A. by Andy Salo, Sam Elias
Century Crack 5.14b (8c), Canyonlands, U.S.A. by Tom Randall, Pete Whittaker, Danny Parker
China Doll 5.14a (8b+), Boulder Canyon, U.S.A. by Mike Patz, Matt Segal, Ethan Pringle, Joe Mills, Heather Weidner, Molly Mitchell
Cobra Crack 5.14b (8c), Squamish, Canada by Sonnie Trotter, Nico Favresse, Ethan Pringle, Matt Segal, Will Stanhope, Yuji Hirayama, Alex Honnold, Pete Whittaker, Tom Randall, Ben Harnden, Mason Earle, Logan Barber, Said Belhaj
Das große Knübbeln 5.14a (8b+), Pfalz, Germany by Felix Lehmann
Dihedron 5.14a (8b+), Joshua Tree, U.S.A. by Randy Leavitt
Direquiem 5.14a (8b+), Dumbarton Rock, United Kingdom by Sonnie Trotter
Dunn-Westbay Direct 5.14a (8b+), The Diamond, U.S.A. by Tommy Caldwell, Joe Mills, Jonathan Siegrist
East Coast Fist Bump 5.14a (8b+), Oak Creek Canyon, U.S.A. by Joel Unema
Echo Wall 5.14b (8c), Ben Nevis, United Kingdom by Dave MacLeod
Enter the Dragon 5.14a (8b+), The Fins, U.S.A. by Jonathan Siegrist
Family Man 5.14b (8c), Skaha, Canada by Sonnie Trotter, Ben Harnden
Father’s Day 5.14a (8b+), Donner Summit, U.S.A. by Alan Moore, Nico Favresse, Urs Moosmuller
Ill Fire 5.14a (8b+), Adirondacks, U.S.A. by Peter Kamitses
Into the Sun 5.14c (8c+), Switzerland, by Bernd Zangerl, Jacopo Larcher
Iron Monkey 5.14a (8b+), Eldorado Canyon, U.S.A. by Matt Segal, Ethan Pringle, Brian Kim
La Zébrée 5.14a (8b+), Mont-King, Canada by Jean-Pierre Ouellet, Sylvain Masse, Em Pellerin, Jérôme St-Michel, Julien Bourassa-Moreau
Lapoterapia 5.14b (8c), Osso, Italy by Jacopo Larcher
Leve Leve 5.14a (8b+), Pico, Cão Grande São Tomé and Príncipe by Iker Pou, Enoko Pou
Longhope Direct 5.14a (8b+), St. John’s Head, United Kingdom by Dave MacLeod, James McHaffie, Ben Bransby
Magic Line 5.14b/c (8c/+), Yosemite, U.S.A. by Ron Kauk, Lonnie Kauk, Hazel Findlay
Magic Mushroom 5.14a (8b+), Yosemite, U.S.A. by Tommy Caldwell, Justen Sjong, Babsi Zangerl, Jacopo Larcher
Meltdown 5.14c (8c+), Yosemite, U.S.A. by Beth Rodden, Carlo Traversi
Oppositional Defiance Disorder 5.14a (8b+), Adirondacks, U.S.A. by Peter Kamitses
Ozone 5.14a (8b+), Gunks, U.S.A. by Cody Sims, Peter Kamitses, Andy Salo
Planet Claire 5.14a (8b+), Gunks, U.S.A. by Scott Franklin, Char Fetterolf, Andy Salo
Prinzip Hoffnung 5.14a (8b+), Bürser Platte, Austria by Beat Kammerlander, Jacopo Larcher, Babsi Zangerl, Nadine Wallner, Maddy Cope, Lena Marie Müller
Proper Soul 5.14a (8b+), New River Gorge, U.S.A. by Brent Perkins
Psychogramm 5.14a (8b+), Bürser Platte, Austria by Alex Luger, Fabi Buhl, Jacopo Larcher
Pura Pura 5.14c (8c+), Valle dell’Orco, Italy by Tom Randall
Pure Pressure 5.14a (8b+), Escalante Canyon, U.S.A. by Ben Rueck
Recovery Drink 5.14c (8c+), Jossingford, Norway by Nico Favresse, Daniel Jung, Pete Whittaker
Rhapsody 5.14c (8c+), Dumbarton Rock, United Kingdom by Dave MacLeod, Sonnie Trotter, Steve McClure, James Pearson, Jacopo Larcher
Sewer Rat 5.14a (8b+), Sundown Ledge, U.S.A. by Dave Sharratt
Silently Does the Sun Shine 5.14a (8b+), Red River Gorge, U.S.A. by Andrew Gearing
South Face (Washington Column), 5.14a (8b+), Yosemite, U.S.A. by Matt Wilder
Stranger Than Fiction 5.14a (8b+), Moab, U.S.A. by Mason Earle
Sugar Daddy 5.14a (8b+), Squamish, Canada by Sonnie Trotter, Ben Harnden
The Almighty 5.14a/b (8b+/c), Teton Canyon, U.S.A. by Ty Mack, Jonathan Siegrist
The Bull 5.14b (8c), Squamish, U.S.A. by Jeremy Smith, Ben Harnden
The Dawn Wall 5.14b (8c), Yosemite, U.S.A. by Tommy Caldwell, Kevin Jorgeson, Adam Ondra
The Nose 5.14a (8b+), Yosemite, U.S.A. by Lynn Hill, Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, Jorg Verhoeven, Keita Kurakami, Connor Herson, Seb Berthe, Jacopo Larcher, Babsi Zangerl
The Path 5.14a (8b+), Back of the Lake, Canada by Sonnie Trotter, Ethan Pringle, Miles Adamson, Matt Wilder, Peter Kamitses, Tommy Caldwell, Read Macadam, Tim Emmett, Doug McConnell, Babsi Zangerl, Jonathan Siegrist, Jacopo Larcher, Nathan Hadley, Simon Yamamoto, Dexter Bateman Danny Poceta, Nich Rochacewich
Tom Egan Memorial Route 5.14b (8c), Bugaboos, Canada by Will Stanhope
Tribe 5.14+ (9a)?, Cadarese, Italy by Jacopo Larcher

Did we miss anything? Let us know!

Will Stanhope on Cobra Crack

Lead photo: Photo Bride of Sonnie Trotter on Cobra Crack