Ende Oktober und Anfang November stattete der belgische Bergsteiger Siebe Vanhee, bekannt eigentlich durch die Begehung schwerer Mehrseillängenrouten, wie der Verknüpfung von „Pan-Aroma“ (8c) und „Project Fear“ (8a+) an der Westlichen Zinne in den Dolomiten, dem Vereinigten Königreich einen seltenen Besuch ab, insbesondere dem Peak District National Park. Er hat weniger als drei Wochen Zeit, um die Erfahrung im englischen Gritstone zu sammeln, so viel wie möglich zu klettern und einige der besten Kletterer der Region zu treffen. Trotz des typisch britischen Schlechtwetters konnte Siebe eine mehr als respektable Liste für seinen ersten richtigen Ausflug in den harten Sandstein des Gritstones sammeln, enschließlich des Klassikers „The Master’s Edge“ (E7 6c) mit seiner schon legendären Absicherung und den seltenen Begehungen von „Parthian Shot“ (E9 6c) und
einen Flash von „Gaia“ (E8 6c), der Johnny Dawes-Route aus dem Jahr 1986.
„Many years ago I told myself, I will make a big trad-climbing trip to the UK. I would travel from the Peak
District to the Lake, Pembroke, Scotland, North-Wales, Devon, Gogarth and many more. I dreamed of
climbing the most classic and historical lines and get a taste of this strong British trad-climbing culture.
This year I was able to, at least, begin this ambitious project, with the help of film-maker Andrea Cossu.
We would visit England and capture the essence of Gritstone climbing and its people, resulting in a filming
project we’re calling “Friends of the Grit”.
This two-and-a-half-week trip in October 2021 resulted in an interesting journey, giving us the full
Gritstone experience. We had a great amount of gritstone climbing and inspiring encounters. But also;
lots of wet rock, beers in the pub and indoor climbing sessions at the Climbing Works and Ben Moon’s
schoolroom. Climbs and chats, this is what we aimed for, let me explain. The climbs I had set myself where
some hard classics like The New Statesman, Parthian Shot and Equilibrium. The chats, to learn about the
history and ethics, I would have with any local I could find, but mainly with some myths and strong
gritstone climbers. I met up with Pete Whittaker, Sam Whittaker, Jim Pope, Ben Heason, Franco Cookson,
John Dunne and even had a phone call with Johnny Dawes.
Like we all know, the UK can have a fair amount of bad and wet weather. It was for sure a challenge to
get some good routes done but with a proactive attitude and high motivation I took every chance I could
grab to go outside. The advantage of the gritstone is that it dries very quick. The disadvantage is that for
the hard climbing, you really need the cold and dry conditions. Unfortunately, they never came and two
out of three routes of my list I wasn’t able to climb. Nonetheless, with the help of the locals showing me
the dry rock and best lines, I managed to climb a good list of classics and experience the key
characteristics about this place. I found answers on my questions; Why those strong ethics? Where do
they come from? No bolds and no anchors? What is ‘fall theory’? What about this weird grading system?
Which mindset is the most effective climbing on this rock, in this style without braking a leg? Why not just
climb solo? Is it really that dangerous? … Right now, I will have to disappoint you and not share the
answers on my questions. These Gritstone characteristics and stories will be released in the movie ‘Friends
of the Grit’, coming out next Spring 2022 on the Wild Country and Epic TV channels accompanied with the
full written story.
Thanks a lot to Wild Country and Epic TV for supporting this trip! Thanks to Sam Whittaker and the
Climbing Works Team for letting me train on all those rainy days! Pete for being basically my guide along
the whole trip, on rock as well as in the pubs. Ben Heason, Jim Pope, Franco Cookson, John Dunne and
many more for the climbs and chats. Thanks to the Outside café and shop for entertaining us on the rainy
I was lucky enough to climb the following routes:
• Parthian Shot E9 6c – Headpoint (with preplaced gear in the flake)
• End of the Affair E8 6c – Headpoint
• Gaia E8 6c – Flash Ground-Up
• Masters Edge E7 6c – Onsight Ground-up
• Beau Geste E7 6c – Flash Ground-up
• Ulysses E6 6b – Headpoint
• London Wall E5 6a – Onsight Ground-up!“
Siebe wird von Wild Country, The North Face and La Sportiva gesponsort