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Midnight Lightning 

Hueco: V8 Font: 7B

Type:  Boulder
Original:  Hueco: V8 Font: 7B [details]
FA: Ron Kauk, 1978
Page Views: 51,377
Submitted By: Peter Franzen on Jun 21, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (34)
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Kurt Smith, 1985. No pads or spotters! Photo by Bl...

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What can you say about such a classic boulder problem that can possibly do it justice? First sent by Ron Kauk who worked it for over two months in 1978 with fellow hardman John Bachar, this line up the Columbia Boulder stands as a true milestone in modern rock climbing.

People have rated this from V7 to V9, and if you can't mantle it's going to feel downright impossible.

Start on the series of polished opening crimps, fire a right hand up to a good undercling crimp, move the left hand up, and then get ready to fly out to the Lightning Bolt hold with your feet kicking in the air (although if you're over 6ft. or so it can be done as a static move). The bottom moves are powerful but it's the infamous mantle that will throw most suitors back down into the dust. Trust your spotter and believe...


Right in Camp 4. Look for the chalked lightning bolt on the rock. You can't miss it.


Crashpad, spotter

Photos of Midnight Lightning Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: John Bachar, 1979 Photo by Bob Gaines.
John Bachar, 1979 Photo by Bob Gaines.
Rock Climbing Photo: John Bachar on "Midnight Lightning". 198...
John Bachar on "Midnight Lightning". 198...
Rock Climbing Photo: Another shot of the kid, 1987  photo by bob gaines
Another shot of the kid, 1987 photo by bob gaines
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climber falling off midnight Lightning
Unknown climber falling off midnight Lightning
Rock Climbing Photo: Gary Reno
Gary Reno
Rock Climbing Photo: Midnight Lightning
Midnight Lightning
Rock Climbing Photo: First crux. October 2011.
First crux. October 2011.
Rock Climbing Photo: Brad Gobright tops out.
Brad Gobright tops out.
Rock Climbing Photo: Jerad Friedrichs on Midnight Lightning
Jerad Friedrichs on Midnight Lightning
Rock Climbing Photo: Gary Reno
Gary Reno
Rock Climbing Photo: Henry on Midnight Lightning
Henry on Midnight Lightning
Rock Climbing Photo: This was back in 2007.  Super fun movement.
This was back in 2007. Super fun movement.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bob Horan on Midnight Lightning.
Bob Horan on Midnight Lightning.

Comments on Midnight Lightning Add Comment
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By Craig Childre
From: Lubbock, Texas
Jan 2, 2008

"In 1980, Jon Frank was the first Oklahoma climber to go to Yosemite Valley. . . The locals were amused to see Oklahoma plates pull into their parking lot, and when Jon opened his mouth the amusement turned to laughter.

"Gol-ly!" said Jon. "Look at those boulders!"

He eventually got to within one or two moves of the top of Midnight Lightning, the most notorious--and visible--boulder problem in Yosemite and one that still has only half a dozen ascents. The snickers subsided." - Oklahoma Rock by Doug Robinson

Part of Oklahoma's climbing history...this is one of the more famous boulder problems...probably due to the fact that it was the first to achieve some respect for their climbers who happily returned later

"But they had left their mark on Yosemite, the climbers' arena. This past spring, Rick McUsic and three of Oklahoma's younger climbers--the next generation--pulled into the climbers' parking lot. Seeing the Oklahoma plates, a few of the normally jaded locals held back respectfully for a few moments, then rushed over to greet the newcomers, eager for news of Duane and the boys."
By Adam Stackhouse
Mar 25, 2008

Video of a climber falling then pushing through the mantle.
By Jasin Nazim
Dec 2, 2008

For ultimate beta on camp 4 check out Corey Rich's Photosynth with national geographic:

with millions of images you can check out the big picture and the tiniest crimp in 3d.

Its pretty cool stuff
By Andy Liu
From: Eastern Sierra
Oct 10, 2011

By John Martin
From: Kearns, UT
Mar 24, 2012

By skinny legs and all
From: Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Apr 8, 2013

The first female ascent of Midnight Lightning was by Lynn Hill, though she used a toprope to suss the moves, but this was before the days of crashpads as we know them today. Little Lynnie started trying it in 1995 and completed it in 1998. Lisa Rands was the second female to climb the Lightning in the early 2000's. Followed by Angie Payne then Ally Dorey sent in May 2006. I bet this problem has seen less than a dozen female ascents. I think Alex Johnson has done it, as well as Thomisida Pidgeon and perhaps Alex Puccio. Does anyone know of any other females who have done it?
By Matt Haig
From: Bishop, California
Apr 23, 2013

By Nate Flynn
From: United States
Aug 8, 2013

I tried this route the last two times in the valley and I can't get off the ground, any tips?
By Tyler Alves
From: Sacramento, CA
May 8, 2017

Just watched the Lynn Hill version of ML and noticed that her feet don't cut on the move to the lightning bolt crimp. So strong!

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