Claire Murphy Reports from the USA

We just received the following report from ex-patriate Brit Claire Murphy from the USA. After reading Katherine´s article, I felt obligated to let everyone in the UK know what I have been doing over the last year.  I came to the US in 2000 to push myself to a new level in climbing.  Since that time, I have climbed a number of problems V10 or harder, and many of them have been First Female Ascents.  The British media have always been very supportive in reporting these climbs as news, from two-page spreads to interviews to little blurbs in the opening pages of the magazines, or on Planet Fear´s website.  However, I rarely write anything up, or email the people in power to get my name out there.  But after reading Katherine´s article, I feel like I should have been.  I am now married and have a two-year-old son, and I am climbing harder than ever.  I have moved to a town near Atlanta, Georgia to be closer to the amazing sandstone climbing in the Southeastern US and to practice Bikram yoga as many days a week as possible.  Life is definitely different now that I have become a mother, and I have to manage my time more effectively, but I am still working some of the most difficult boulder problems of my life.  I have attached a list of the problems I have done over the last year that are V9 or harder, but I would really like to mention a bit about the problems that I have been working so hard to do over the last two seasons and have not yet sent. Slider Sit Start V10 – Horse Pens 40, Alabama – I climbed the original start of this problem (V9) last year and was intrigued by the amazingly powerful moves that are added by a sit start to the problem.  The standard problem has seen a number of female ascents to date, but the sit start is one that stands no chance of being labeled a “chick problem.”  Perhaps that is one of the reasons that it inspires me so much.  Bad holds and a move that involves a large span define the problem, and I can only just manage the distance. This problem, when I do it, will definitely be one of my hardest ever.  I have made it through the most difficult section twice now, only to find my fingers cold and numb by the upper section.  I just have to be patient and rested, and I hope to complete this project soon. The Dugout Traverse V10 – Rocktown, Georgia – A friend of mine showed this amazing line to me last season, and I was drawn to it because it combines some very difficult moves with a pinch of endurance.  The traverse follows a pin-scar-like horizontal seam from right to left at the back of a five-foot horizontal roof for about twenty-five feet.  The seam is about nine feet off the ground and the face of the boulder is gently overhung (with very bad feet).  The arrangement of the holds requires you to make repeated shoulder-intensive moves with your left arm, outstretching it, locking down on the crimps and reeling them back in.  After about 15 moves, the problem finishes on a V6 called Tunnel Vision that climbs out the roof, and then has a spicy, slopey, mateling topout.  Powerful, pumpy, and very inspiring.  I hope to finish it off within a day or two as well.  Recently I completed the problem from the 6th move on. God Module V11 – Horse Pens 40, Alabama – Perhaps the Southeast´s most sought after test piece.  It is not the hardest problem in the area, but definitely one of the most simple and aesthetic lines anywhere.  At only four moves, and a solid V11, it is an extremely powerful problem.  A local strong man, and author of many of the South´s most difficult lines, has proclaimed that a woman will never do this problem.  Need I say more for the origin of my motivation?  Bad, rounded crimps on a very steep, smooth boulder with NO feet.  I have done the problem minus the first move and feel like this move will be the most difficult by far.  As soon as I manage the first move, I will get really serious about connecting the dots.  I spent a few days on the problem at the very end of last season, but have not been back to it since. As usual, I concentrate most of my time and energy on the problems that truly inspire me, not necessarily on the ones that suit me the best.  And, therefore, they tend to take a lot of work.  But, in the end, they are much more satisfying than simply getting on a problem that suits me and cruising it.  I definitely look for problems that are going to push my physical limits, not just ones that require my fingers to be strong.  Many of the problems I have been focusing on lately are at my complete physical limit (either wingspan or tip to toe) and they require so much more than my finger strength to manage the moves. I hope that I am not forgotten about back in England, especially among aspiring female climbers.  Although I currently live in the US, I am still very much British and hope that my accomplishments abroad will inspire women back home.  At 36 years old and with a two-year-old to chase around, I still feel as capable as ever when pursuing hard climbing.  Now, if I could just win the lottery and climb where and when I wanted… My latest problems: V11 The White Face (FFA), Little Rock City, Tennessee V10 Instinct Sit (FFA), Little Rock City, Tennessee V9 Landslide (FFA), Horse Pens 40, Alabama Bionic Rats (FFA), Rocktown, Georgia Burst of Joy, Rocktown, Georgia Robbing the Toothfairy (FFA), Little Rock City, TennesseeSkywalker (FFA), Horse Pens 40, AlabamaGhetto Superstar, Horse Pens 40, AlabamaSlider, Horse Pens 40, AlabamaCleopatra-Cinderella Traverse, Little Rock City, Tennessee Other problems I have done in the past: V12 Sarah – Hueco Tanks, First Female Ascent 11/12 Chbalanke – Hueco Tanks, 11/12 V10 Flying Marcel – Hueco Tanks, First Female Ascent 10/11 Left Martini – Hueco Tanks Full Service – Hueco Tanks, First Female Ascent Power of Silence – Hueco Tanks V9 Revenge of the Choirboys – Hueco Tanks Sex After Death – Hueco Tanks Undercling Traverse – Flagstaff, Colorado Sara Stand – Hueco Tanks Frogger – Hueco Tanks Dirty Martini – Hueco Tanks, Flash Dragonfly Low – Hueco Tanks Shower Cap – Hueco Tanks Banana Juice – Hueco Tanks The White Face, Instinct Sit, Flying Marcel, Full Service, Skywalker, Robbing the Toothfairy, Bionic Rats, and Landslide have still not seen a second female ascent