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Vegas First Ascent: Jonathan Siegrist Sends Burly 5.15 ‘Close Encounters’

jonathan siegrist 5.15Siegrist on "Close Encounters," 5.15a, La Madre Mountains, Nevada; (photo/Nate Liles)
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One of America’s most stoked sport climbers ticked what looks like a brutal route over the weekend. Jonathan Siegrist’s new 5.15a takes a steep line in the Nevada desert.

If the route’s name, “Close Encounters,” refers to alien beings, it makes sense. That’s what you’d have to be to climb rock steeper than Rifle, Colo., and even more exacting.

Either that, or you’d have to be Jonathan Siegrist. The Las Vegas resident punched out the gnarly new climb in the La Madre range just north of Red Rocks on Saturday, Feb. 12.

His report on the route’s shape makes it hard to imagine climbing. For a month, Siegrist had been trying to redpoint the “overhanging open corner with blocky features.”

When he finally did pull through the stopper section, he faced a “mega run out.”


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A post shared by Jonathan Siegrist (@jonathansiegrist)

But Dru Mack‘s belaying and encouragement helped him make it to the chains with a first ascent that promises to attract — and reject — future aspirants. The La Madres are close to Las Vegas and relatively easy to access, just behind the famous Calico Basin.

But the fact that Siegrist, who’s in prime shape for an upcoming trip to Spain, needed a month to finish a sport route in his hometown speaks to its difficulty.

“It has some of the most unique and brutal movements I’ve found on rock,” he wrote. We’d say it’s well worth following Siegrist on Instagram on his tour of Spain — who knows what kind of moves he’ll find next?

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