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Topic - Tony Willmott; Philatus

johncoxmysteriously - on 17 Jun 2013
I did Philatus at the weekend and I thought it was an extraordinary route for 1965.

First of all, itís pretty hard, but also in a style that wasnít so common then; most hard routes of that time are a series of problems between hands-off rests. Philatus is sustained from the first move to the last with no really good rest en route. It reminded me of Howling Gale at St Govanís East (although harder, despite their respective guidebook grades).

Second, although itís reasonably well-protected nowadays (again despite what the guidebook says, although I suppose itís true that the gear has to be looked/worked for and fiddled in, which my leader did quite well), I canít think it had any gear at all in 1965. Although the guidebook says it used to be A2. I donít quite know what A2 used to involve in the early 1960ís. Maybe it could be protected a bit with pegs? Though there donít seem to be any traces.

I donít know much about Tony W; in fact Iíd forgotten he started at Swanage. Like most people I know of him best for Baggy Point and Amanita, but itís hard to tell how hard Amanita was at the time because one doesnít really know how much aid was involved. And the Baggy routes are much more in the style of the time. I know TW had a reputation as a brilliant technical climber; to judge from Philatus this is well justified.

Anyone on here make an early ascent of Philatus and know what it involved at the time? Or anyone with reminiscences of TW?

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