American climber Jon Cardwell has made the first ascent of Wind Up Bird at the Fortress of Solitude in Colorado. Cardwell, who projected it for around 50 sessions, has given Wind Up Bird a grade of 5.15b.
Cardwell had previously climbed four 5.15 routes, including Joe Mama 5.15a, La Rambla 5.15a, Papichulo 5.15a and Biographie 5.15a. He bolted Wind Up Bird in 2016 with Carlo Traversi left of Tommy Caldwell’s famous Flex Luther 5.15a.
Cardwell’s Wind Up Bird is only the first pitch to a longer route, which he said, “When that’s completed I’m almost certain it will be one of the hardest routes in North America.” On 8a.nu, he said about the grade, “I know it’s at least 9a+ [5.15a] and possibly 9b [5.15b], and as you know with first ascents it’s always tough to assign a grade, especially when it’s likely the hardest thing you’ve done. It’s also a much different style than the 9a+ I’ve done before, much more bouldery and intense.”
Other 5.15 sport routes in the U.S.A. include Jumbo Love 5.15b, Peruvian Necktie 5.15b, Flex Luthor 5.15a, Nu World 5.15a/b, Jaws II 5.15a, Full Metal Brisket 5.15a, Close Encounters 5.15b and others. Watch a few short films featuring Cardwell from 2017 and 2018 below.