/ NEWS: On Form and On Sight - George Ullrich - E7

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UKC News - on 08 Sep 2009
[George Ullrich about to commit to the run-out crux section of The Bells The Bells, Gogarth, 3 kb]"It didn't come without a few heart-stopping moments! A number of handholds snapped on me, and on a couple of occasions caused me to pivot out from the wall like a door opening. This was followed by an uncontrolled scream..."

George Ullrich - on sight on The Bells The Bells.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=49178

Andy Moles - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Handholds snap, and the crux is in an extremely serious position...What if a handhold snaps there, and you're not in a position to control it?

This kind of climbing fascinates me. How do you justify leaving that much to chance? Is the unpredictability of the rock exaggerated?
Lee Proctor - on 08 Sep 2009
Is this the first true on sight of The Bells The Bells, I think Pollit did it back in the 80's after abbing the route first?
In reply to Lee Proctor: No, it has had several on sight ascents.

Cheers,

Jack
Jamie B - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to andy moles:

> How do you justify leaving that much to chance?

Do you need to justify it? Certainly not to anyone else.
Andy Moles - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:

Thanks for that, I love it when people avoid the direct question in favour of condescending pan-ethical bollocks.

An attempt at pedant-proof wording: How does one justify to oneself the decision to attempt a climb on which variables beyond one's control could result in death?
Andy Moles - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to andy moles:

Sorry, that sounded a tiny wee bit grumpy.
Michael Ryan - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to andy moles:
> (In reply to Jamie Bankhead)
>
> How does one justify to oneself the decision to attempt a climb on which variables beyond one's control could result in death?

Only those attempting and climbing such routes can answer that question.

Enty - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to Lee Proctor:
> Is this the first true on sight of The Bells The Bells, I think Pollit did it back in the 80's after abbing the route first?

My mate onsighted it 15 years ago after 6 pints the night before in The Heights.

Enty

Enty - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to Enty:

And he didn't put the side runner in The Cad.

Enty
Will Goldsmith on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Good effort.

Anyone got any idea roughly what french grade it gets?
Mark Lloyd - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to Enty: Putting a side runner in the cad isn't climbing E7 the bells is it ?
Fine effort nevertheless considering the state of the peg
Enty - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to Mark Lloyd:
> (In reply to Enty) Putting a side runner in the cad isn't climbing E7 the bells is it ?
> Fine effort nevertheless considering the state of the peg

No but I think one or two people have claimed it as such.

Enty

Bulls Crack - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to andy moles:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Handholds snap, and the crux is in an extremely serious position...What if a handhold snaps there, and you're not in a position to control it?
>
> This kind of climbing fascinates me. How do you justify leaving that much to chance? Is the unpredictability of the rock exaggerated?

That's the type of climbing that Dave Mcleod has decided not to do - a perfectly good decision!
In reply to andy moles: Hi Andy,

I often climb slightly snappy routes, and I quite enjoy them. Part of the skill is reading the rock, testing holds and moving in a way that minimises the risk of snapping or falling.

I guess you could say the same of very smeary routes - if your foot slips then you fall - is that a variable beyond your control? Perhaps that is why many of today's harder trad routes require more strength and fitness.

Personally for me climbing has always had an element of danger, and that is what attracted me to it I guess. Although often it terrifies me!

I guess I justify it to myself by subconsciously convincing myself that I have the experience or skill-set to either not fall, or protect myself if I do fall.

Whether this is actually true or not is of course impossible to know. 'Accidentally succeeding' on these type of routes can result in a confidence being built up in skills that perhaps are purely down to chance and don't actually exist.

Who knows. But climbing scary routes feels very fulfilling.

And good effort George! Be safe!

Jack
Jamie B - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to andy moles:

> Sorry, that sounded a tiny wee bit grumpy.

It did, but probably with a little justification. I do despair of what John Cox used to call the bedwetting tendency on this forum, but you are clearly not of that. Sorry.
duncan - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to Enty:

> My mate onsighted it 15 years ago after 6 pints the night before in The Heights.

Ah... but has it been onsighted without performance-enhancing drugs!?


Will G asked:

> Anyone got any idea roughly what french grade it gets?

F7a+ (...ish. Reportedly. I ventured no further than the end of the first traverse before realising this was a whole other ball-game than The Cad)

Good effort by Mr Ulrich.
Andy Moles - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Cheers for the response Jack.

> Part of the skill is reading the rock, testing holds and moving in a way that minimises the risk of snapping or falling.

I guess that's the thing; when soloing even very easy things I try not to pull too hard on anything, to distribute weight evenly and always move in balance etc. But to go out on rock that has such a ferocious reputation, where holds are almost guaranteed to break under stress, and with minimal protection, is both very impressive and quite mad.
Mike Owen - on 08 Sep 2009
I just read this news and thread. Well done George. I remember having a frightening time when I did it with very minimal prior knowledge in 1990, to make the 3rd ascent. I had hardly any gear and it was a damp day. A foothold broke near the top and I really thought I was going to die! There was no adequate gear that would stop me hitting the deck. Topping out on The Bells! The Bells! is still, to this day, the most powerful and emotional high I've had during 35 years at it. It's great to read that some young climbers are inspired to do this kind of climbing. Nice one.
Mike Owen - on 08 Sep 2009
I should add, without side runners or skyhooks just for the record. Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things....
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GuyVG - on 08 Sep 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Good summation I would say of a strange fascination
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

> I guess I justify it to myself by subconsciously convincing myself that I have the experience or skill-set to either not fall, or protect myself if I do fall.

I try to do exactly the same ice climbing, although I have quite a hard time convincing even myself! :-) I remember one of the description to a Gogarth Route in Steve Ashton's lovely selected guide to N. Wales from the early 90s finished with the the sentence "Ice climbers will understand".

> And good effort George! Be safe!

Yep - a brilliant effort and great for a punter numpty such as myself who likes to wear a helmet see yet another well 'ard climber choosing to wear a lid also.



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