Andrew Graham on Alien Baby Left V5/6

There’s something about Misty Mountain that brings amazing people into my life. For example, just last week when I was at Priest Draw for a quick bouldering circuit I ran into two strong climbers from Chattanooga. I had finished my rounds, but thought I’d take a walk and kill some time. As I walked past the Anorexic Roof I noticed a young couple working Carnivore (V8) and Anorexic (V6). “Mind if I join you?” I asked.
“No way, come on,” the man said. He scurried underneath the boulder chalking holds and exclaiming how amazing this boulder was. I laid down my pad. “Nice pad!” he said. “Never thought I’d see a Misty pad in Flagstaff.”
“You from Boone?” I asked. Turned out the couple was from Chattanooga. Andrew went to Appalachian State University for his undergrad. We knew a lot of the same people at Misty. We spent an hour or so taking turns working the classic problems and sharing stories of Boone. We both agreed Espresso News was the best coffee shop in the country. We could be friends!
A couple days later I joined Andrew and Haley for a day of bouldering at the Anvil Boulders in Sedona. It was a typical bright, sunny spring day with a slight breeze. At each boulder Andrew would freak out and blurt, “Where are we? I’ve never seen anything like this!” Literally, he said this all day long. I’d never seen anyone so excited about climbing.
The highlight of the day was watching Andrew take down Alien Baby Left (V5/V6). It’s a powerful climb that goes out a steep arête. The features are beautiful and smooth to the touch. It’s the type of problem you can try over and over again until you get it. Andrew kept falling at the jump to the lip. He’d rest a couple minutes then try again. Around the fourth of fifth time he managed to stick the lip move. It felt like it was going to go. But it wasn’t over. When he traversed slightly right for the mantle he was no longer over the pads, but instead, over a group of broken blocks. I was filming and Haley was focused on spotting. Andrew stalled. Was it going to go? I made the executive decision to leave the camera and move the pads myself. I moved the pads and returned to the camera just in time to film Andrew making the final moves.