We recently reported on Siebe Vanhee’s ascent of „Gaia“ (E8 6c). Since 2000, the Johnny Dawes route from 1986 has also had a hair-raising dirket exit. Last year in December, James Pearson was able to climb the direct exit with „Harder Faster“ (E9 7a). If you let go of the exit sloper here, you will probably find yourself at the exit. The first ascent of this route was in November 2000 by Charlie Woodburn, and was only repeated once, in 2003 by Toby „Lucky Chance“ Benham. The Australian climber unfortunately died in rope-swing accident in 2015.
Charlie Woodburd said after his first ascent „As I flow through the sequence of moves, I am only partially aware of what I am doing. My thoughts are hazy, in a self-induced state of obedience. The body leads and the mind follows, always one step behind, always in a state of humble acknowledgement, registering the present as it flows, unaware of future or past, free from the savage responsibility of thought. Fear and thought are synonymous and consequently the most frightening part of the ascent coincides with the only moment of dominance my mind has: the decision to go. Concentration is of the essence, the act of forcibly stupefying the senses and allowing myself to follow the drift of my own body. As I climb, I feel as though I am leaving myself behind, and by giving myself up to the movement of the rock, by concentrating myself into the subtle tensions the moves require, I am able to escape the obligation to think, and this, more than anything else, brings me a measure of peace.”
James Pearson thus proved once again that he has nerves of steel. Last year, James secured a first repeat of Tribe, 9a(+), probably the hardest trad route in the world.