Possibly the hardest aid climb has just been done on the Fisher Towers near Moab, Utah. (Russell and Ryan just got back from climbing Fisher Tower.)
I like this part:
“A total of 13 days was needed to complete 315m of climbing, some pitches taking as much as 17 hours to overcome.”
Prior to this climb, the hardest aid route was rated A6. This route is rated A6+ ; at least until someone else climbs it and downgrades it. Unlike most climbs on the tower, they did not put in any bolts for their belays, relying on the hooks you can see below. Another article here.
Here’s their bivouac tent on the wall; more photos here including the umbrella they used for shade while climbing.
There was another recent new hard aid climb done in the same area and that story is here. They used 25 of these peckers in a row (hey, that’s what they’re called!) on a 90 foot pitch.
So imagine these little beaks are what holds you to the wall and you have no other natural rock holds for hands or feet. Fun, huh? Anyone wanna try this here?