Wild British Grit Action


Dave MacLeod sticking the move on Slingshot, the Jerry Moffat boulder problem that starts the route Blind Vision.Photo courtesy of www.hotaches.com.

Wild British Grit Action

Finally catching a break in a dreary winter, climbers leaped into action on British gritstone last week, completing two new lines and a very hard repeat. Scotsman Dave MacLeod couldn’t wait for the good weather and made the long drive south to England’s Peak District three times, only to sit and drink tea in a café below Froggatt Edge between momentary clear spells. During the last of these clearings, he raced uphill to his project, toweled off the wet spots, and after sunset made the second ascent of Blind Vision, an Adrian Berry route originally given E10 7b. The route starts with a Jerry Moffat highball problem called Slingshot, once said to have the hardest move in the world in 1998 (now V11); after tying in at a big ledge, MacLeod carried on up Blind Vision’s poorly protected headwall at E8 6c (poorly protected 5.13).

In better weather over the weekend, James Pearson climbed the “last great problem” at Burbage North, an arête called The Promise (E10 7a). According to PlanetFear.com, Pearson wavered between bouldering the 28-foot problem or leading it, and eventually opted for one piece of psychological pro and no pads. Pearson said The Promise had V11 moves above a terrible landing (if the piece blew).

James Pearson climbing The Promise (E10 7a). That comforting piece of pro is a “crap” slider nut.Photo courtesy of www.hotaches.com.

Wild British Grit Action

Perhaps the weekend’s most remarkable send came when Australian Ben Cossey climbed a direct start to the classic Parthian Shot (E9 6c), the John Dunne route that was gritstone’s first E9—only Cossey did it by headlamp! Despite having tried the route only once on toprope, Cossey wasn’t about to waste the rare decent weather, and he showed up at the crag after work at 8 p.m., toproped the line once more, and then sent it in the dark, placing all the gear on lead except a crucial nest of small nuts in a hollow flake. Cossey started the route with a technical slab called Child’s Play (E7 6c), almost certainly the first time this link-up has been done. Cossey’s brother, Lee, then tried to lead the route placing all of the gear, but got too pumped trying to fiddle in the key pieces by headlamp.

See lots of good photos and accounts of two of these climbs at www.hotaches.blogspot.com.

Dates of Ascents: January 9 (Blind Vision); January 14 (The Promise and Parthian Shot).

Sources:www.planetfear.com; www.hotaches.blogspot.com; www.davemacleod.blogspot.com.

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