The Shining Path First Ascent

Posted on 28. Mar, 2011 by in News

Pete Lowe has made the first ascent of a gorgeous problem in Red Rocks, NV. The Shining Path takes an obvious line up a stunning and tall arete. Pete is suggesting V13. He had this to say about the line:

“One comment about the name. The Shining Path is a socialist terrorist group from Peru most active in the 90’s. I named it that for three reasons: First, I was inspired by the chalked holds leading up the intriguing arete that literally looks like this shining path through the arete. Second, it was wholly a communal effort that made this ascent possible. Starting with Tom finding the line, and then Tom, Mark Hesiak, and Hans Sachs willingness to haul double and triple stacked pads over an hour through glen and bush to make a send attempt possible. Then standing beneath me and trying to pluck me out of the air. It was also very guerilla-esqe in style. Third, it was a play off of Wolfgang’s iconic acheivment Action Directe (a french terrorist group, whose name happened to describe the route). This is my Action Directe.”

Pete has a wife and kid, is a law student (graduating in June) and still makes time to climb amazingly proud and hard first ascents. These are the kinds of efforts which are of the highest standard that I find very inspiring. Very well done!

Here is video of Pete attempting the line, which gives some perspective on what it takes to climb such a committing line:



The problem is listed as a project #16 in Tom Moulin’s Southern Nevada Bouldering Guide on page 170. The guide suggests V11, but a hold broke off after the guide was published and prior to the FA.

25 Responses to “The Shining Path First Ascent”

  1. greasy enchiladas

    28. Mar, 2011

    That fall looked gnarly, even the tail wagging dog looked concerned! Nice send on a good looking line.

  2. Paul D.

    28. Mar, 2011

    SICK! Looks amazing!

  3. Praxeology

    29. Mar, 2011

    “Terrorist and Socialist Group” Wow, Two of my favorite things!

    I know all about “The Shining Path” not a very nice group, and generally support communism by brutality. Nice.

    An amazing arete, and a very impressive FA, However.

  4. Rambo

    29. Mar, 2011

    b3- Looks like he leaves a hard move or two out. Maybe someone can go get a new v14 named….

  5. michael

    29. Mar, 2011

    yeah maybe, if that is what someone wants to do

  6. B3

    29. Mar, 2011

    I am surprised at the lack of comments. I find this to be one of the most amazing problems climbed in America in the last few years. I guess it’s not interesting until someone chips it or downrates it…

  7. sidepull

    29. Mar, 2011

    What do you want people to say?

    The problem is spectacular, Pete is awesome. There isn’t much to discuss. That’s the problem with “awe” – it just leaves your mouth open.

    That said, it’s worth noting that P. Lowe explicitly notes that he hasn’t climbed the full line: see his comment to his own interview on – interesting that the full line is still waiting.

  8. Mojo

    29. Mar, 2011

    Discussion is generally triggered by controversy, as unfortunate as that may be. There certainly doesn’t seems to be any controversy here – looks like an amazing and worthy line. Nice job Pete!

    Red Rocks seems to have a fair amount of tall, striking lines on immaculate rock . . . definitely seems like a place worth visiting for any boulderer.

  9. sidepull

    29. Mar, 2011

    Just to be certain, I’m not stirring up controversy and I’m not taking anything away from Pete. you can see the omitted move in the two videos here: in the lower vid, where he’s wearing red, he does a deadpoint with his left hand. In the upper vid, wearing yellow and sending, he starts with stacked pads to avoid the move.

    From the deadpoint:

    “I wanted to clarify what people might assume from the video. When I sent the line I did not do the first deadpoint on the video. While I originally planned on doing it this method, I changed gears as the season rapidly was diminishing. The day I sent may very well have been the last day I would get out with good temps. Anyways, I started from a stand (with two pads stacked) with my left hand on the good edge, and my right hand on one of the lower edges I used to jump from. The jump move is about v8. While I do not feel the jump move was enough to change the grade, it is a difference. Also, there is a lower start that will probably jump the grade to stout v14. I am psyched to start working that next season. Anyways I just wanted to clarify that point. Thanks, Pete”

  10. os

    29. Mar, 2011

    much respect for being able to throw down while sustaining a busy life!

  11. Nietzsche

    29. Mar, 2011

    I think its hard to get perspective on the problem from the media given above (that fall does look heinous however, is it impossible to spot from that position?).

    I do not mean to take anything away from Peter’s accomplishment, but wish to give some reasons why this might not garner the support you believe it entails. (1) I have bouldered in Vegas and can say that the technical style tends to be extremely committing due to the drastic formations of the boulders. However, this seems to get lost or at least mediated by the media given above. (2) I believe you have written here or elsewhere that V13 isn’t what it use to be and does not represent the cutting edge of our sport. (3) Despite the recent attention that Vegas bouldering has been receiving, the area itself is still largely unknown and so the whole history of the climb located in the Vegas community is lost to your readers.

    That said I wonder why you have such an interest in the ascent when others seem not to. I can’t help but relate your own love of exploration and development, as you said, the whole process that goes into climbing new hard boulders to Peter’s accomplishment. Perhaps what is lacking in your post is a larger narrative that goes into such a process, that could bring out more of what is truly remarkable about The Shining Path. I think what this climb represents is lost to the majority of us.

    Just a bit of constructive criticism. I know you’re not a reporter and some of what I have said might fall outside the scope of what you’re capable of doing. However, your blog is at its best when you bring your historical knowledge together with your personal love of bouldering.

  12. Jabroni

    29. Mar, 2011

    It’s not that so much as that people are indoctrinated by to think anything under V14 is not remarkable.

    You said yourself in another comment that climbing V13 is not “cutting edge”…

    In your view is there a bigger step in technique, power, control etc from V13-V14 compared to V12-V13? Do the V14-15 boulderers have something innate, or just a bit more strength and a bit more tenacity than someone who climbs V13? Is it realistic to consider anything V13 and under mundane, and only V14+ to be something ‘really’ special?

    That all said, I agree with you. Good on Pete for doing something at his absolute limit and on what looks like some great rock with some great moves. I’d say the same if it was V2 and he never climbed anything harder.

  13. Timpson

    29. Mar, 2011

    Aretes are my favorite feature to climb, though this doesn’t inspire me. I’d like to see more (higher quality) video. It’s hard to get properly inspired from low quality video from 20 yards away and one angle, and still photos taken from less than desirable angles. I’m sure the setting and the line are beautiful when you’re there…but the video doesn’t get the job done. Anyhow, great ascent….kudos. Also Jamie, have you seen the problem in person? You seem to at least have personal knowledge of the problem, which makes it more personal for you and easier to appreciate. To others who know nothing of this line and have never laid eyes on it garners a different emotion, experience, and reaction to it.

  14. aron

    29. Mar, 2011

    FUCKING NICE !!! So inspiring !
    Now if all this snow could melt I could go calm myself by climbing new beautifull lines like this one…
    Ok, not like this one…

  15. Colin

    29. Mar, 2011

    Wow. THAT is a f’in boulder problem! Obvious, pure, highball…it’s got it all.

  16. Danny B

    30. Mar, 2011

    I was blown away by this. Massive problem, and a committed family man crushing. I couldn’t be happier. Now I want to see it up close. Very inspiring!

  17. Zach

    30. Mar, 2011

    Wow! That is a beautiful boulder!

  18. Pat

    30. Mar, 2011

    It is interesting, but I feel like most people have become pretty inured to seeing news about V13 boulder problems. While not necessarily right or wrong, the fact that Pete Lowe is not Daniel Woods, Paul Robinson, Dave Graham, Etc. is probably another reason this post is not as popular as others.

  19. B3

    30. Mar, 2011

    Thanks for all the input! The reason I felt this one stood out is that it is a first ascent of a very tall and beautiful boulder, and was done by a somewhat unknown but dedicated climber. I also think it is great to see climbers who are just out there because they love it, putting up amazing problems on good rock. I thought the second video of him falling showed how tall it was, and the quality was good enough for a quick internet video. I wasn’t upset more people didn’t comment, just curious. Perhaps those who think it is amazing have nothing to say. Sounds like that may be the case.
    V13 is not cutting edge, but I think a V13 of such high quality and one of such height is worth writing about. I also think it demonstrates that not every good climber out there is on 8a, among other things.

  20. B3

    30. Mar, 2011

    @Nietzsche while I would love to write all the backstory, I simply don’t have time. It feels as though B3 could be a full time job but I make no money off it and it can only demand so much of my attention. My focus right now (and has been) climbing problems outside, and with trying to scrape by a living, climb V14, write a guidebook it is challenging to give every subject the full attention I would like to, or that it deserves. I appreciate your comments and think they are reasonable criticisms.

  21. […] more on how the problem got its name check out this post on B3Bouldering and click here for move by move photos of the […]

  22. blurredson

    30. Mar, 2011

    Cool route. Pete’s last name is noteworthy.
    Is he related to other famous climbing Lowes?

    Maybe this has already been mentioned…

  23. bmj

    30. Mar, 2011

    Was the ascent “ground up”-ed (to borrow a phrase from the Brits)? That is, did Pete eschew working it on top-rope?

  24. Anthony Chertudi

    03. Apr, 2011

    Pete’s uncle is George Lowe, George is cousins to Greg and Jeff Lowe.

  25. big poppa chosscrush

    04. Apr, 2011

    just to correct an inaccuracy of the comments regarding noteworthiness…. while anything under v14 might not be cutting edge news for other people, EVERYTHING i send, irrespective of grade, IS internationally noteworthy.

    i know you meant this, but just neglected to include the caveat for an economy of words.

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