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December 11, 2009 posted by

Stained Glass


For your weekend entertainment here’s a short video of the first female ascent of Stained Glass, in the Buttermilks. This is one of the most beautiful boulder problems I’ve ever seen. It’s a perfect piece of rock that scarred only by a few tiny holds low down and a completely blank headwall below a finishing jug.

I first saw it, by chance, in ’94 or ‘5 whilst roaming through the boulders with my friend Kevin. We didn’t know if it had been climbed because we hadn’t heard of it and it wasn’t in any guide. It seemed improbable but we threw ourselves at it until our fingers looked like, well, the lass in the video. We found out later that it had recently been established by either local Tom Kleinfelter or Swiss bouldering legend Fredric Nicole. We were there to map the boulders for an article. Kleinfelter was insistent that we rate the problem no harder than V7 because he was afraid the old school locals would be offended if he tipped it as the hardest route in the area. In fact, it was much harder than anything there at the time. I still remember the caption, which was “sandbagged much? Kevin Thaw on Stained Glass, V7,” on the below photo (note “crashpad” of yore).
Now a solid V10, the video shows Aussie Tilly Parkins nabbing the first female FA nearly 15 years later. Amazing considering that it’s a couple of minutes from the car in an absolute Mecca for elite boulderers. Congrats, Tilly!

Parkins adds, “One of the finest problems I’ve ever been on. I nabbed the ascent on my last possible shot (a bleeding finger and a plane leaving the following day!). Beautiful finish to a fantastic trip! Bishop is amazing…

6 Comments

  • Wow, that is powerful. Diggin it!

  • My only memory of Stained Glass is the rattle snake curled up underneath it. That's the only reason we didn't send. I'm sure of it.The east side looks better than the view out of my Hong Kong hotel this morning.Josh

  • Hey are you a professional journalist? This article is very well written, as compared to most other blogs i saw today…. anyhow thanks for the good read!

  • I do write for a living, so thanks. Josh, what was it Pottenger said, "grab some sack 'cause you're gonna need it" If you were TRAD you would have climbed right over the sucker.

  • great vid!! inspiring and beautifully done. Now to be a real girl about it… what top is she wearing in the photo??!! amazing!!

  • Aah, it's good to be a girl. I love that top too :-) It's from Rockwear, based on the Gold Coast, Australia. Nothing to do with rock climbing, the dude who owns it is Adam Rock. They do mail order and I'm sure would post to USA (if that's where you are?). Unfortunately they don't make that style any more but I'm pretty sure they do special orders if you send them a pic of an old style. Cheers, Tilly

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