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Outdoor

Dean Potter: King Air (First Ascent)

A Outdoor video by prana - 7,926 views

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The Le Conte boulder, also known as the House Keeping boulder, is in Yosemite Valley, California. For more than a decade, I'd been trying to figure out the proudest, tallest line on the block, with no luck.

One day, I was playing with my sister Jenny's kids, Cyrus and Dahlia, in the forest amongst the rocks. They were acting all whacky, wild and uninhibited, jumping and bouncing around from rock to rock and scampering up trees. I had been trying this sick line on the boulder but never figured out the crux move in all the years before. Somehow the kids, 'anything is possible' energy drifted into me. I stood before the starting bucket giggling. I was loose and moved my body in a different way than ever before. To my amazement, I stuck the crux with my nine-year-old nephew and my 7-year-old niece spotting me. I jumped down, careful not to squish them and finally believed I would send this lifetime project within my next few efforts.

King Air is one of the most obvious boulder problems around. For years I tried the problem alone, somehow keeping it completely secret. My bro, Ivo Ninov and I worked on it together. We kept our efforts stealth by washing off the chalk with water before leaving for the night. For years, I doubt anyone else ever seriously looked at the bold line as it was too high and there wasn't any chalk to lead them. Ivos enthusiasm literally lifted me higher and higher. On every serious attempt he spotted me, making sure that at least I wouldn't split my melon.

This is the proudest highball boulder problem I know of in the Valley. The business scales over 30 feet to the final bucket. Its on the verge of being a free solo. When I fell my feet traveled 20 feet before impacting the pads. I was lucky not to shatter bones. My quads were very sore and I limped around for the next few days. King Air is the most beautiful boulder problem Ive ever done. You would be hard pressed to find any line, more aesthetic.

~Dean Potter


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