A tired and soggy Mark Stevenson (left) and Rich Mayfield, hiking up Clogwyn Du’r Arrdu in Wales for the fourth time during their 35-day odyssey. Photo courtesy of www.hardrockchallenge.org.uk.
Is it newsworthy to climb 60 routes graded 5.10 and easier? If the routes are the 60 climbs in the classic British book Hard Rock and they’re climbed in just five weeks during one of the rainiest U.K summers in memory, it’s a remarkable achievement. Only two climbers are believed to have completed the quest before now, and each took 10 years to do it. Rich Mayfield and Mark Stevenson ticked their 60th and final route, Moonraker at Berry Head, at 1:55 p.m. on August 17, exactly five weeks after they started.
Hard Rock, a compendium of stories about classic British routes, was edited by Ken Wilson and published in 1974, and it’s still the bible for U.K. climbers working their way through the grades. The book covers famous routes from the northern tip of Scotland (Old Man of Hoy) to Land’s End in Cornwall (Bishop’s Rib). Most of the climbs are 5.8 to mid-5.10, plus a handful of aid climbs, including the wild Scoop of Strone Ulladale on storm-lashed Harris island in the Outer Hebrides. Mayfield and Stevenson drove over 4,500 miles and walked more than 180 miles just to reach the 22,000 feet of climbing they did in the five weeks.
The two men created the Hard Rock Challenge in part to raise money for the British mountain rescue services. So far, they’ve raised more than £5,500 ($11,000).
The closest equivalent challenge on this side of the Atlantic would be climbing all of the routes in Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. No one has done it yet, in part because the book has a couple of real showstoppers: the Hummingbird Ridge of Mt. Logan (no repeats of the original route) and the East Buttress of Middle Triple Peak (a handful of ascents).
How many of the Fifty Classic Climbs have you done? Let us know at:http://forums.climbing.com/forum/showflat.php? Cat=0&Number=4055&page=0&vc=1&PHPSESSID=#Post4055.
Dates of Ascents: July 13–August 17, 2007