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Beth Rodden Redpoints Meltdown

Beth Rodden began working the climb over four months ago, fighting through the tough Sierra Nevada winter to rehearse the moves and prepare for a redpoint.

In late February, La Sportiva athlete Beth Rodden stood at the base of a slightly overhanging thin finger crack near Cascade Falls in Yosemite Valley, Calif. She began working the climb in front of her over four months ago, fighting through the tough Sierra Nevada winter to rehearse the moves and prepare for a redpoint. She knew that it was the hardest climb she had ever attempted.

Rodden reached for the first hold in ultra thin finger crack and began climbing. She moved up the rock quickly, grabbing key pieces of gear duct-taped to her harness and rapidly placing them in the crack because the stances were too tenuous to hesitate for even a second. She pulled through the 45-foot overhanging crack smoothly. Above her was another 25 feet of discontinuous seams leading to the top of the route.

In the past, mist from the nearby Cascade Falls dampened the lichen-covered rock, causing her feet or hands to unexpectedly pop off the holds. However, for this attempt, the wind blew in her favor and she sent the route to the top.

“The crux for me came about 20 feet up the route. There is a section where the feet turn horrible and the hand holds get really thin and you have to motor through to a good hold,” said Rodden. “There were so many factors for this route for me. The waterfall that kept swelling and creating more and more spray. The pool at the bottom was getting higher and higher, and the constant huge Sierra storms dropped feet of snow on the route. So, it was a matter of staying physically fit and keeping psyched.”

Beth Rodden named the route Meltdown, in part because of the snowmelt that kept the route wet much of the time, and in part because of the mental anguish the route caused her.

“After one particular storm we went to the route and the waterfall was huge, drenching the bottom with spray. I had to hang on it and I thought it was out for the season, and the result was a meltdown, she said with a smile.”

Rodden has been hesitant to give Meltdown an exact grade. Others who have tried the route say it is 5.14c. Beth sent it in impeccable style, with all natural protection, and placing all of her gear on lead. Sending Meltdown puts Rodden in an elite group of only three women to have even climbed 5.14c. The route is likely the hardest naturally protected rock climb ever sent by a female and one of only a handful of traditional 5.14c’s in the world.

Celebrating their 80th anniversary, La Sportiva brings a strong alpine mountaineering and climbing heritage to their line of performance mountain footwear. This core experience enables La Sportiva to offer the most versatile technical climbing, mountaineering, Mountain Running® and hiking shoes on the market. For more information on La Sportiva visit