Cody Roth FA's Flipping the Bird (9a)

20 April 2023

Cody Roth has made the FA of Flipping the Bird (9a) in Arco. On Insta he comments, ”The name is inspired by both the crux move that tore a huge hole in my middle finger, and by those far braver than me on the front lines in Ukraine and Iran, as well as the LGBTQ community here in Italy that stands up to Meloni, her goons and her party’s absurd policies and dangerous ideology." (c) Fabian Poels

How does it feel stepping up your game and doing your third 8c+ and harder, at 39, in the last month?
I did my own on research and I read, on the internet, that a segment of the population spontaneously combusts when they turn 40, so I'm anxiously trying to get it all in before October, just in case ;-). Honestly, I'm just trying to take it in stride. If it's all I get this year, I'm more than okay with that. In mid January I took four weeks off due to chronic elbow tendonitis, I didn't think then that I'd be where I'm at now.

What are your strengths and talents making this possible? You work a full-time management position at Vertical-life and climb just three days a week?
Three if I'm lucky! Maybe my talent is not overthinking it and being comfortable not being in control. The night before I did this climb, we had friends over for dinner, I probably had one cocktail more than what would have been ideal, and I went to bed later than I should have. I wasn't even sure we were going to Grottosauro the next day. Growing up, my mom always told me showing up is the most important part. I didn't believe her when I was younger, but now I see what she means. Oftentimes you get something over the line in spite of and not because of, and the less you worry about yourself and every little detail, the more open you are to every possibility. As for my work, I'm really lucky to work with an amazingly talented and kind group. My work keeps me balanced and it feels good to contribute and to be appreciated beyond just climbing. Vertical-Life also allocate some flexibility in my schedule, so I'm lucky in that regard too.

What motivates you in climbing?
I think it's the friendships, curiosity, surprise and discovery that keeps me going.

When is your next vacation and where? Is it about time to raise the bar to 9a+?
I'm going back to the US to see family in May, but I probably won't have much time to climb. I'd love to paddle some rivers in Scotland later this summer and my wife and I have a couple summer concerts on our radar. I wouldn't rule out going back to the Frankenjura and trying Action Directe a little more, but it's a little hard to line up with the weather there. There's plenty of things around Arco and Italy that give me my climbing fix. As for 9a+, I might have already done that with my FA of, M.E. I eat Dust, six years ago. Doing another would be nice, but it's not a must for me. Honestly, if you told me I could either do Action Directe or a 9a+, I'd probably choose Action Directe; and I'd still view that as raising my bar.

You bolted this one ground up? Is there still potential around Arco?
I did. I'm a bolting dilettante, but I enjoy going ground-up whenever feasible, and contributing where I can. The 8mm removable bolts make it a lot easier and safer nowadays, and the hole they leave is nearly invisible in steep terrain. I was hiking with my dog this winter, when I noticed that maybe there could be just enough features to add a line where I did. Around Arco, there's plenty of potential still. It's just a matter of hiking and discovering something completely new, or coming back to known places like this with a fresh set of eyes.

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