Posted on 02. Oct, 2007 by in News


So after doing the Hang and getting thoroughly shut down on Meathook, I decided to do a little research. The first place I went to was the man himself, Jim Holloway. Holloway worked the problem for 20 days in 1974 and 75 before finally sending it. How was it that two climbers (Paul and myself), that have climbed so many hard problems, were unable to do the moves? Here is what Holloway says about the route in an interview on

“Meathook too was an interesting challenge… So, I’d wait for (Jim Michael) down at Meathook trying and trying to do the first moves but I never really took it too seriously. Then, one day I finally pulled of the ground! The rest went on autopilot, and it became a legendary problem, one that’s much more technical than Slapshot.”

Interesting that Paul and I both pulled off the ground on our first effort. In fact Paul did this in his tennis shoes. I find it hard to believe that pulling off the ground in this fashion was any challenge whatsoever for “the fabulous Holloway” Is it possible that something broke? Is it possible that 30 years ago the ground was higher, and Holloway pulled off the ground reaching high to the underclings?

Sherman Exposed by John Sherman seems to suggest that this might be the case.
“The most difficult problem on the Eliminator…is the Meathook.” “Unless otherwise told, climbers seriously eyeing the problem assume it to start off the dishwasher-size block that gives Left Eliminator its hazardous landing” There is no question as to the starting holds (perhaps the underclings), only to where the feet start.

Benningfields guidebook isnt’ much help, but the online guide at suggests that a hold has broken.

I would love to hear what people have to say. Does any one know for certain? If these problems are going to have such a reputation, then we should all agree on what it would take to repeat them.

41 Responses to “Meathook”

  1. chuffer

    02. Oct, 2007

    I couldn’t agree more Jamie.

  2. wade david

    02. Oct, 2007

    I have heard many times over the past 10 yr’s of climbing that the one of the original climbing holds broke and it sarted low and climbed into the underclings. Say if there is 1000 v12 and up climbers in the world and they all give meathook a try and only one of them does the problem, is it relevant that most of them should do the problem if not al the moves?. Maybe just that one guy is fit for the problem or has that one moment of grace and everything comes together perfectly? I have run into such conflict in the past, thats why I am taking a break from bouldering and focasing on rope climbing and freeride mtn biking.

  3. campusman

    02. Oct, 2007

    a couple days ago I was wondering if a hold broke, and ya the dr topo guide says “hasnt been repeated? since a hold broke” that seems quite positive on the breakage. any how!

  4. Mike James

    02. Oct, 2007

    Try e-mailing Christian G. I think he may know the deal.

  5. tendon

    02. Oct, 2007

    Meathook is so chossy…
    If I could do it it would be 4 star…
    If only I was taller…
    those old guys are to strong…
    If only dave had put it up…then it would be worth it…
    European pile of pain comes to mind….

    I find it strange that you can’t admit
    it might actually be really hard? contrived/awkward or not?

  6. big poppa chosscrush

    02. Oct, 2007

    i vote for gluing the canopener hold onto meathook.

    really hope you found your wallet. the credit card and license fiasco is way worse than a loss of cash money. no one should wish that on anyone.

  7. jamie

    02. Oct, 2007

    If you actaully read my first post Ben you would have read what I wrote “It is certainly hard…”

  8. Blake Rutherford

    02. Oct, 2007

    The climb has broken, but the hold was glued back on. Steve Mammen seems to think that all of the original holds are there, but one of the underclings is now better than it used to be. As far as starting holds, the holds on the lower face with feet on the block are generally accepted, but the standard back then was certainly start as high as you can reach or jump. For the original sequence, I really think that it moves into the right hand undercling, but actually that you dont match the underclings, but just go big left hand to the high meathook edge, but you do have to be tall. Im sure that taking the right as a gaston will work for shorter people, but it takes alot of power.

  9. Nick

    02. Oct, 2007

    There is absolutely no doubt that the problem, considering the way it is right now, is extremely difficult. Ty and I tried it for a bit, also pulling off the ground first try but getting nowhere close to matching the underclings. However, there is also no doubt at all that the problem would be certainly be easier if you were a tall person, even taller than Paul. That is not even a question, nor an excuse; it is a fact, and a reality. Jamie just stated it with no intention of justifying our faces of failure.

  10. Andy Mann

    02. Oct, 2007

    First off Jamie and friends, thanks for bringing to light some of Hollway’s old boulder problems. We had hoped that this would happen and regardless of our opinions here, Jim considers it a big honor to be re-mentioned and remembered.

    Here is a thought: On Gill’s website under “Historical performances in Chin-ups, Pull-ups, and Levers” Gill stated that in 1978 Hollway: “held front lever for at least 20 seconds, perhaps a minute. May be the tallest person ever to do a front lever.” Isn’t that around the same time as his ascent?

    Imagine a man almost 6’5 being able to perform (easily) a core strength feat unrepeated (as of my knowledge) by Colorado’s strongest boulderers. I think it is no wonder Meathook didn’t get repeated in 45 minutes at the Hang.

    It seems among other handicaps facing climbers (such as reach and erosion) that maybe there is a gap in raw core strength/performance that must be filled in order to repeat the “Big Three.”


  11. Chuck

    02. Oct, 2007

    Dave Twinam repeated meathook a long time ago, but using stemming beta that Holloway says he avoided. This version is probably about V13, the original Holloway method would be contrived if repeated without the stem, but probably goes at V14.
    Climbers love to think that the modern generation (us) is the best that there’s ever been, but in the last 10 – 15 years we’ve only managed to push the difficulty a little bit. Sport climbing is a great example, with the worlds first .14d being added in the 90’s, and now we’ve ony managed to up that performance by a single letter grade.

  12. campusman

    02. Oct, 2007

    thats true chuck, the only difference now is more freaks sending v13ish

    has been repeated by dave t
    hold broke
    glue back on, is better
    tall climber problem
    IS VERY HARD for all
    and if dave g cant do it in 20-30 days that mess is chossy & has never been done the right way

  13. tendon

    02. Oct, 2007

    I agree with Chuck.
    It makes number chasing seem futile, B3 is the only true grade…
    Until a problem is repeated it is truly hard…

  14. peter b

    02. Oct, 2007

    Thanks for following up to your earlier post. If any readers haven’t seen it visit my blog for my take on this problem and the reaction to it,

  15. big poppa chosscrush

    02. Oct, 2007

    single letter grade? do you not count E through Z as letters? i think this clearly discredits your comments without any further debate required.

  16. jamie

    02. Oct, 2007

    Chuck, first of all you are not addressing the issue that Holloway claims the crux for him was pulling off the ground, and Paul did that in his tennis shoes. Second of all, grades come from a consensus, and since no one has repeated this I’m not sure how you can suggest V14. Thirdly, in 1991 Action Direct 5.14d was the hardest route in the world. It is now 2007 and Chilam Bilam is the hardest route in the world and it is graded 5.15c. That is a significant progression! As well, even if Holloways problems are V13, several climbers have flashed problems of that difficulty. Again, that is significant progression. I find it hard to believe that Holloway out climbed today’s best with no sticky rubber, no Super Chalk, no training facilities whatsoever, with an attitude that was admittidly nonchalant.
    Interestingly enough, Rob Candelaria who has climbed with Holloway told me that he was very strong. He also said that Paul and Daniel would blow him out of the water.

  17. tendon

    02. Oct, 2007

    holy crap did u just go to math class…
    how many arguments have you had over a problem being v12 vs v13
    Why is subjectivity of the rating scale not discussed by you guys?
    You use a system based on hueco derived by a guy that couldn’t climb his own self-derived v10.
    maybe your own motivation is being clouded by needing to have more points?
    if its repeated…its not that hard…right?
    Isn’t that the only non-subjective grading system?

  18. tuck

    03. Oct, 2007

    Jamie- your Horsetooth knowledge obviously exceeds mine

  19. elweed

    03. Oct, 2007

    how do all of you know whether or not it has been repeated. there seems to be a little discepancy there.
    there are climbers out there that crush but don’t spray. i’m not above believing that meathook has seen repeats.
    to think that only sponsored, well known climbers are the only people capable of this send, says alot about this online community.
    there are tons of climbers in colorado(and this country) and i seems strange to think that only a small honored group might have achieved this. open your mind to the unknown person that climbs for himself/herself, and not a crowd and a video camera.

  20. jamie

    03. Oct, 2007

    I certainly don’t know that is hasn’t been repeated. Having spent many months on the road traveling of course I have run across numerous “unknowns” that are strong, and I am very familiar with the concept. The general consensus is that the problem is unrepeated. You write “i’m not above believing that meathook has seen repeats.” I’m not above it either, but until someone brings any other information forward, that is the best we know.

  21. big poppa chosscrush

    03. Oct, 2007

    hard sends are like bad chinese… no matter how stoic and resilient somone is, the spray is gonna come out sooner or later.

    this is especially true when something is said to be ‘unrepeated’, it’s the achillies heel of the unknown strongmo crowd.

  22. Will

    03. Oct, 2007

    I think everyone knows the truth about this climb. Some people are just holding onto fantasy. Its brittle, choss that has broke and was never hard to begin with. Most things in life make sense, and when they dont. There is a reason. Holloways own statements don’t back up, what it takes to climb at the level the climb is today. He was a nonchalant man, that does’nt even remember where some of his other self proclaimed just as hard climbs are. Listen to his interview on podclimber. Not trying to bag on him, I do apprecciate what others before have done to lay the footwork for today

  23. climbingnarc

    03. Oct, 2007

    That makes the most sense. I think the saying goes something like:

    If one person tells you you are an ass then you can ignore them but if ten people tell you you are an ass then you are probably an ass.

    In this case, if one person comes along and says the problem is chossy and not worthy of effort then they are probably wrong. If over the course 30 years nobody is willing to put forth the effort to climb Holloway’s problems despite huge advances in the number of climbers and climbing ability then there is probably a problem with this problem.

  24. climbingnarc

    03. Oct, 2007

    Chuck does have a valid point, the number of routes harder than .14d established in the past 16 years probably numbers in the single digits.

    I do have a feeling that in the next 5 years there could be an upward explosion in route grades as the linking of hard boulder problems on ropes becomes more en vogue.

  25. jamie

    03. Oct, 2007

    a quick count off the top of my head and using 8a reveals (15) 5.15a’s

  26. peter b

    03. Oct, 2007

    Regarding climbingnarc’s post, how many people, who all believe something that’s not true, does it take to make it actually true? 100, 1000?

    I’m amazed that climbers would be so quick to essentially claim that these problems were never climbed or have changed so much that they are unclimbable today. Let’s shift the focus to AHR at Flag which is not choss, not very contrived at all (especially if you are short), very accessible, and very doable. I think this problem was very clearly ahead of its time, we have photos of Jim on the problem–let’s see how hard people think this one is.

  27. campusman

    03. Oct, 2007

    i smell something now, that word is annoying, if u ask me, when u say it, u r s….ing also

    je was unknown for yrs , and yrs and yrs, he wasnt even sponsored till he was all old and in colorado. i told him to delete his scorecard, and he did, but then the site got all slow and messed up because of him! he
    is such a menace to, u need to grow up and get strong. your pulling is weak, your core used to be stronger, and its obvious from the gl videos, u need to follow my training methods, when are u even going to do an actual v14? or even 15/16?
    u downgrade too much..i bet when u send jade u r gonna be like omg
    that is knot v15..

  28. big poppa chosscrush

    03. Oct, 2007

    i have a problem with YOUR problem, climbing narc! 3:30 at the flag pole. IT’S ON, MOFO !!!!!!!!!!!111111

  29. bob johns

    04. Oct, 2007

    “grades come from consensus” and then two sentences later “chilam bilam… 5.15c” now I may only be a scientist and mediocre climber but how valid is a “consensus of one?” I mean, last time I head no one had repeated this route and I’ve always thought of this sort of “consensus” more along the lines of a personal opinion.

    good and we don’t even get to go into how people proposing grades for “consensus” are generally totally biased by previously proposed grades…

  30. chuffer

    04. Oct, 2007

    narc –

    While it is easy to point out the undesirable qualities about Meathook and Slapshot, Trice is most definitely worthy of a repeat. The rock is as bullet as anything on Flag and the problem is reasonably obvious and hard. It has been tried by some of the world’s best climbers, but it hasn’t happened. Hopefully, this winter …

    In the mid 1970’s Holloway did a number of freakish core-strength feats, especially considering he was 6’4/5″ish. And he’s always contended Trice was the easiest of his Big Three. I forgot about Twinam’s ascent of Meatrope using different feet. Are the feet so far off the line as to make us not count it on a technicality?

    In any event, it is interesting to hear a numer of folks chime in on this issue.

  31. jamie

    04. Oct, 2007

    you are correct, certinainly a poor argument on my part. I was looking a little too hard for information to back up the fact that standards have progressed. However, when Action Direct was climbed it had no confirmation for numerous years. 5.14a was maybe consensus in 1991, and now it seems there are consensus 5.15a, so that would show progression.

  32. campusman

    04. Oct, 2007

    jamie H, ya best height for a climber…he wasnt as good as strongmos of today, but its known that he was setting the standards in his day..thats well deserved respect..just like gill gets it…**bows**

    jamie litz, now this dude was seriously side by side w/ sharma/ better in some ways even
    but who got more attention cuz of plastic? litz hates of the first to actually tear up rmnp, doing 6 one arm pull ups for the bus load with jamie emerson, michael rathke, daniel woods, matt ?, michael auldrich, chuck fry, lance ?, and of other strongmos…what a show he put on..we all woulda never met up with him if jamie lance and i didnt split off from the group on accident..

  33. Blunk

    04. Oct, 2007

    I have been familiar with this problem for over 30 years, here is my two cents.
    First, the initial right undercling hold did break and was glued back by Sherman. It is slightly better than before. The difference doesn’t matter, the first move pulling off the ground is indeed easy. I don’t know why Holloway indicated “pulling off the ground” was the crux, the sequence he related to us made it clear that matching in the underclings was the crux. Perhaps he misspoke during the interview, maybe Andy Mann can clear that up?
    The sequence Holloway told us he used was to pull on, reach the upper right undercling first (as an undercling, not a gaston), reposition the feet, match into the left undercling and then up to the big horizontal using the meathook hold as a sidepull with the left hand.
    As to whether or not Holloway actually did Meathook, I am sure he did. I climbed with Jim several times in the late 70’s. At that time I and others were able to do V-9ish problems within 5-6 sessions. Jim was much, much stronger than anyone else at that time. His fingers were phenomenal, he could hang on really small holds easily. I believe he had the physical tools to do Meathook and certainly the persistence and desire. I have seen one other person, Chris Hill, who almost matched in the underclings, so I am certain the problem is doable the way Holloway did it.
    As far as Dave Twinam’s method, it is significantly different. He used a combination of stemming and taking the right undercling as a gaston. His method is hard as hell and a valid ascent. I think the issue is whether or not anyone can repeat Holloway’s method.
    I will be happy to meet anyone who interested to show what I know about the problem, just shoot me an email. I think it would be fantastic to get some of you strong lads on it and see a repeat this winter!

    Scott Blunk

  34. jamie

    04. Oct, 2007

    Scott, Thank you so much for your contribution. This is exaclty the kind of information I was looking for. Thank you for sharing.

  35. Eliott

    06. Oct, 2007

    thats a great point Elweed. My friend Phil is a great example of this. He’s been climbing for 4 years? started when he was 29 so he didn’t have the advantage of youth or a trainer on his side, but last year in his 3rd year of climbing, took a one month trip to Hueco having never sent a V12 because where we climb, there really are none, and a month later had sent 12, V12’s. Thats on top of having sent numerous 10’s and elevens and spending how ever many days spotting his partner on his projects. He basically never even tried any 13’s because he was so psyched to have sent a 12 that he stuck to trying 12’s. When you put together the actual days you can climb at hueco, plus rest days, he was basically sending a v12 every time out. But did anyone ever hear about it? Did he get a write up in the mags? Not even UC mag. I would have to say he is the consistently strongest climber I’ve ever climbed with, And I’m sure there are climbers out there even stronger and just as unknown.

  36. jellylegs

    16. Apr, 2014

    Ummm…dude the fact you guys are nowhere near Holloway’s size could have something to do with why you found it so easy to pull off the ground. Not having his reach or power would explain why you guys didnt “go into autopilot” and climb the problem after pulling on.

    Fred Nicole repeated Trice last year using the original beta, avoiding the off route foot placement others have used. This got little to no attention in the blogosphere…meanwhile it was the first true repeat of a 30+ yr old problem. Climbers these days would rather gush over 140lb twinks climbing gym projects.

  37. B3

    16. Apr, 2014

    Where did you hear that the foot was off? We called Holloway himself on the day of my ascent and he said no feet were off. I believe the quote was something to the effect of “start on the underclings grab the pocket and do whatever”. Also Fred’s ascent without the foot is important because why? Mike Feinberg nearly did it without the foot and thought it was easier.

  38. jellylegs

    18. Apr, 2014

    Didnt every repeat of trice (beside Nicoles) finish on a rail out right? Instead of going straight up the face like Holloway’s original beta? And thats cool that someone tried it, came close, then sprayed about it…but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Meanwhile meathook and slapshot sit there patiently, awaiting a climber strong enough.

  39. B3

    18. Apr, 2014

    No, not all. All ascents went straight up the face. There is no rail out right. The only difference was that I found a new foot to use, that was never off routed by Holloway, which Holloway confirmed on a phone call. Again, Holloway himself confirmed to a friend of mine while I was standing there that no feet were off-routed. The problem, according to him, started on the underclings, went to the pocket right hand, a bad edge left hand and then to the jug, exactly as every subsequent ascentionist has climbed it. Slapshot broke and was glued in such a way that it is probably not repeatable, so using that as some holy grail doesn’t make any sense. In regards to Meathook, again, you’re not addressing the fact that Holloway said on two occasions that the crux of Meathook was pulling off the ground. I did that in my tennis shoes. Either the ground has eroded substantially or Holloway’s height gave him a significant advantage. I don’t doubt that he was strong, but let’s keep in mind that he said for him Holloway medium was V7 (Just Right), and the undercling Traverse was JH Hard. I doubt then that Holloway Hard was bouldering V12 or more. It doesn’t make sense. The point about Feinberg was that he was very close in a matter of tries (had his hand on the jug) and never bothered to go back. The myth of Holloway’s super human strength is legend and little more, although he clearly was the best of his day. Rob Candeleria, who climbed with Holloway, said he was phenomenally talented. He also said the Daniel Woods “blows Holloway out of the water”.

  40. jellylegs

    19. Apr, 2014

    So basically what youre saying is…youre stronger than Holloway was?

  41. B3

    19. Apr, 2014

    When I climbed Trice I would guess I was probably stronger, and climbers like Daniel Woods and Jimmy Webb are leagues above him. I don’t put Trice in the top ten most difficult problems I’ve climbed, but for Holloway it was one of his hardest. Was Holloway better for his time compared to other climbers? No doubt about that. He also didn’t have the benefit of hard problems to try, climbing gyms, internet videos, good climbing shoes, etc

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