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a Ed Webster follows the difficult third pitch of Primrose Dihedrals on the first free ascent of the route—one of the finest and most spectacular free climbs in the country, if not the world. The ascent would be an eye-opener into new possibilities for desert free-climbing, ascents that have come to define desert climbing today. Ed Webster collection/AAC Library

Primrose Dihedrals

Just a few years later, in 1979, Ed Webster came to Moses and, in an epic solo adventure with pitons and aid, established a second route on the formation, the Primrose Dihedrals. A talented free climber, he could see that the cracks he had been methodically aiding were mostly hand-jam width. He returned, a couple years later, with Steve Hong and a rack, not of pitons but of newfangled Friends, and in a few hours they transformed Primrose Dihedrals into a free-climb that to this day is one of the very best, not only in the desert, but on the entire continent. Friends work best in parallel cracks, and Webster, Hong, and their partners knew that the desert was just stacked with many, many thousands of such cracks. Their eyes were opened to new possibilities; the familiar desert landscape was an exciting and novel place, all over again.