On Saturday, September 26, 2009 another great gritstone project bit the dust courtesy of Miles Gibson, who is one of the UK's strongest underground climbers. Dangermouse, weighing in at E9 7a is now one of the hardest routes on grit. And, several hours before Gibson's FA Ben Heason sent the super committing Order Of The Phoenix (E8 6c or 5.13 X).
Below are two videos from these recent ascents at Wimberry Rocks:
Miles Gibson on the first ascent of Dangermouse (E9 7a), a new route at Wimberry Crag in the Chew Valley. Video by Wild Country
Ben Heason making a repeat of a Kevin Thaw's Order of the Phoenix (E8 6c) at Wimberry. Video by Wild Country
Originally graded E9 (but has settled in at E8) Ben commented that, “It looked like a nice line and seemed the cleanest of the harder routes up there. Kevin gave the route E9 6c but I didn’t find that out until after I’d first tried it, that it had been downgraded to E8. Still, with fantastic moves up a beautiful sustained arête I thought I’d persevere.”
Heason continued, “Physically it’s the most sustained hard grit route I’ve done so far with no easy moves on it. The climbing is highly technical, often with tenuous footholds and a crux slap up the arête from a 1-finger pebble (by which time the gear/rope is redundant), culminating with taking a small pebble in each hand to make a super high step to a smeary top-out.”
Heason also added that, “Kevin lead the route with a low side runner in Coffin Crack, in an attempt to avoid the nasty boulder-strewn landing should the worst happen… Even without this it felt like E8 rather than E9 (so long as you trust the pebbles…) My ascent went smoothly but it's probably quite stern for the grade.”
Never the most popular venue due to it’s exposed position high on the moor, with a north facing aspect, which sometimes leaves it almost luminous green, Wimberry nevertheless lends itself to hard routes with two E9s, three E8s and three E7s — it’s not a crag stacked with moderates.