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Timothy Kang Climbs Five Hard Terrifying Highballs in a Single Day

The Bishop classics ranged in grade from V9 to V11—highballs don't get much taller than this

Earlier this month, Timothy Kang sent five massive highballs in one day in Bishop, California. The tick list includes some of the most iconic giant lines in the Buttermilks, including Footprints V9, Ambrosia V11, Too Big to Flail V10, This Side of Paradise V10, and Evilution Direct V11. Over the years, Kang had sent all of the lines individually. He decided he wanted to go even bigger and set an ultimate goal of sending all five problems again within a single day.

These problems are not your typical highballs. Many of them reach 50 feet in height or more. Before going for a ground-up attempt, most climbers dial their beta on top-rope, as some of these problems include cruxes 25 feet or so off the deck.

Climbing all five of these problems in a day truly shows Kang’s mastery of Buttermilks stone. From Mountain View, California, the 23-year-old is well rounded in both outdoor and comp climbing. He participated in IFSC World Cup lead events in 2018 and 2021.

Here’s what Kang had to say about his epic highball day:

“I first came to Bishop 10 years ago, and immediately became inspired to push my limits in climbing. From my very first trip, and every year since, these massive boulders taunted me. I quickly became drawn to a handful of specific lines. These climbs were striking, historic, and intense. Over the last six years, I was able to tick them off individually and was curious about challenging more of my mind and my comfort zones.

Highball bouldering is terrifying. I’m not a robot. I definitely feel the exposure and the doubt and the fear, often to a sickening and nauseating amount. My response is just to spend the time and the preparation so that I can feel the right awareness and control. So that when I decide the time is right to go for an attempt, I just clear my mind, pull on, and climb.”

Send footage of Kang’s big day has not yet been released. You can, however, watch him, Kevin Jorgeson, Alex Honnold, and Nina Williams on previous ascents of the problems in below

Footprints V9

Located on the north side of the famous Grandpa Peabody Boulder, and standing nearly 50 feet in height, Kevin Jorgeson’s Footprints V9, features a tough, overhanging start to a dyno up and left. Several more long difficult moves are needed to establish on the slab, which consists of considerably easier, yet extremely committing, climbing. Here’s Jorgeson’s FA:

Ambrosia V11

Also located on the Grandpa Peabody Boulder and first ascended by Jorgeson, Ambrosia climbs up a slightly overhanging face to a topout approximately 50 feet above the ground. The V11 climbing ends at a hueco halfway up, but the remaining climbing is not trivial. After his send, Miles Adamson talked about the seriousness of the climb, explaining, “I took around 10 falls total (across both trips) from above the hueco. It hurts the knees even with four layers of pads.” Nina Williams was the first woman to climb Ambrosia.

Too Big to Flail V10

First put up by Alex Honnold in 2012, the giant Too Big to Flail is located on the Luminance boulder in the Beehive area. Its crux is at half-height, but tenuous, delicate moves remain before reaching the topout. The line has also been sent by Lonnie Kauk, Ethan Pringle, and Nina Williams, among others. Graded V10, the problem has also been referred to as a 5.13d free-solo. Here’s Honnold’s FA:

And here’s Kang the first time he sent the line:

This Side of Paradise V10

Located on the huge Bardini Boulder, This Side of Paradise climbs up an overhanging blunt prow before transitioning to a high slab. The problem is burly and techy at the same time, requiring good power endurance. Here’s Kang’s previous send:

Evilution Direct V11

Evilution Direct is another monster problem on the Grandpa Peabody Boulder. It follows a right exit to Jason Kehl’s test-piece Evilution V12/13.  After climbing an athletic overhanging section, Evilution Direct continues up 10 feet of extremely technical slab followed by another 20 feet or so of low-angled scrambling to the top. Most climbers attempt a less dangerous variation, Evilution to the Lip V10, which drops down before moving onto the slab. The problem is still quite high though, at approximately 16 feet. Here’s Nina Williams on the FFA of the full-length problem: