/ NEWSFLASH: First British Onsight of Strawberries for McClure

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UKC News - on 15 Jun 2014
Steve McClure's Hand Picked Malham, 4 kbBritain's top sport climber, Steve McClure has recently made the first British onsight ascent of Ron Fawcett's classic Tremadog test piece; Strawberries, E7 6b...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68980
Kemics - on 15 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:

The term 'legend' is quite casually thrown around but McClure really does qualify!

I love the image of him bumbling around crags self deprecatingly and quietly crushing!
DrGav - on 15 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:

Looking forward to the write up. Superb!!!!!!!
JimboWizbo - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:

Excellent
GrahamD - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:

Bloody good effort to avoid picking up beta over all these years !
old skool on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:

I've always been at a loss to explain why this route is usually described as "Ron Fawcett's classic Tremadog testpiece". Surely it should be "Stefan Glowacz's classic Tremadog tespiece", particularly in view of the prevailing ethics at the time Fawcett climbed it?
Days on Rock - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to old skool:

Good effort that man. Well done!
John Dunne - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News: Did johnny Woodward place the gear on a clean lead or yo yo it ,be interesting to know.

Bulls Crack - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to old skool:

> I've always been at a loss to explain why this route is usually described as "Ron Fawcett's classic Tremadog testpiece". Surely it should be "Stefan Glowacz's classic Tremadog tespiece", particularly in view of the prevailing ethics at the time Fawcett climbed it?

What? Yo-yoing?

Ron's route - Glowacz flashed it - covers it I think
SteveRi - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to John Dunne:
Have you seen what's in this feature..? http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=1117
John Dunne - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to SteveRi: i get in now

old skool on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to Bulls Crack:

No, not yo-yoing in the accepted sense. The ropes were pre-clipped into a very high piece if I recall correctly. In other words, most of the route was top-roped.

Michael Gordon - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to old skool:

The article mentions it.

I guess if the ropes were left in place it's still technically a yo-yo, albeit over a long time and on (originally) pre-placed gear. If the ropes were removed then it ain't a yo-yo no matter how you define it.
Michael Gordon - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:

Great stuff. I always wondered if Steve had tried it as he seemed a good candidate. Any idea why it took him so long (to get round to it)?
FactorXXX - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to old skool:

No, not yo-yoing in the accepted sense. The ropes were pre-clipped into a very high piece if I recall correctly. In other words, most of the route was top-roped.

Didn't Fawcett just simply climb the route without pulling the ropes?
In which case, it's a Yo Yo.
Unless of course, you mean he abbed down and put his ropes into pre-placed gear?
I'm pretty sure he did the former.

old skool on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to FactorXXX:

I believe he left his gear in place, pulled the ropes and went home. He then returned the folowing weekend, abbed down, clipped the ropes into his gear, "top-roped" back to his high point and led the last few feet to the top.
But it was a long time ago so if anyone knows better feel free to correct me.

Michael Gordon - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to FactorXXX:

Depends if he decided to leave his ropes and gear in place for a whole week or not.
Skyfall - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:

Excellent ! Steve was the obvious candidate - sports strength with a stated liking for hard 'safe' trad routes. Now if I'd put some money where my mouth is and popped down to the bookies a few years ago .... :)
old skool on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

"So, on Sunday morning, my third day on the route, I abseiled down and replaced the top three runners I'd placed the day before, clipping my ropes through them, so I would have the benefit of a top rope (...)"
Ron Fawcett, Rock Athlete
The Pylon King on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to old skool:

Wow! so Ron didn't do the FA?
Michael Gordon - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to old skool:

Thanks for that.
Michael Gordon - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

That's the trouble with yo-yos etc, there's too many grey areas. At least with headpoints it's pretty cut and dried - no matter how long you spend on it, eventually you've got to do lead it all clean from the ground.
Enty - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:

Why is this news? I onsighted a 6a+ today which is 8 grades less than my best redpoint. Strawberries is 10 grades less than Steves best redpoint -ergo I'm a better climber than Steve?

E
1poundSOCKS - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Is it a grey area? Sounds like it wasn't a yo-yo.
leon on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to old skool:

> I believe he left his gear in place, pulled the ropes and went home. He then returned the folowing weekend, abbed down, clipped the ropes into his gear, "top-roped" back to his high point and led the last few feet to the top.

> But it was a long time ago so if anyone knows better feel free to correct me.

in his book he says he abseiled down the route & pre-placed the gear he had placed the previous day & clipped his roped into them.
Skyfall - on 16 Jun 2014
Classic UKC this. 90% of posts almost unrelated to the fact that, finally, a Brit has onsighted Strawberries.

Well done Steve.
The Pylon King on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to Skyfall:


It's 100% related and more interesting than just saying "Well done Steve"

Obviously well done Steve, awesome effort, but the history of the climb is very interesting to those who don't know about it.
Post edited at 22:53
1poundSOCKS - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to Skyfall:

There's at least one post that's 100% wrong. :)
Skyfall - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

I'm well aware of the history but still a little surprised about the lack of enthusiasm for a British onsight, at last. Have a look back at all the positive comments about the recent foreign onsights - and what do we get this time?
john arran - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to Skyfall:

I don't see what he fuss is about - surely E6s get onsighted every day.

;-)






Nice one Steve. I avoided trying this for so many years (decades?) I'm pretty sure I missed my best chance of getting it onsight - a bit daft really but I think I was afraid to blow it and always thought there would be a better day later.
1poundSOCKS - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to Skyfall:

I can only speak personally, but I'm still a bit gutted I didn't get my chance.
Skyfall - on 16 Jun 2014
In reply to john arran:

I was trying to read between the lines there and was thinking Steve was implying on the border of E6/7.

Easy really :)
Ewano on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:

Did Vector and as I was abbing off as he had a look at the bottom crack then retreated and did cream. Wondered if he wad going to go for it but unfortunately had moved to the pass before he went for it, Gutted! Would have been been awe inspiring to watch!
SteveRi - on 17 Jun 2014
To suggest Ron didn't do the first ascent is nonsense. I hope you're being impish and I'm being unusually straight-faced. It was a phenomenally hard route (English 7a!) and remains a fierce undertaking. Ron did what he did and wrote it down. Historical perspective and all that.

Well done Ron, well done Steve.

jon on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to SteveRi:
Absolutely. Leading climbers have always pushed the limits, not only of technical difficulty but of ethics. Ron's actions on Strawberries were only a tad developed from the accepted yo-yo ethic of the time and should be seen in context. People who judge by applying todays ethics are completely missing the point. Though if you were replying to old skool (it wasn't clear on your post), one wonders why someone with a user name of old skool would suggest that it isn't Ron's route.
Post edited at 10:39
GrahamD - on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to Enty:

> -ergo I'm a better climber than Steve?

Only if you had more fun, apparently

1poundSOCKS - on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to jon:

Whether you agree it was Ron's ascent or not, I don't think today's ethics are anything to do with it are they? I am assuming that yo-yo ascent was a valid first ascent in those days, it was the ethic of those times. Any judgement is based on whether it was a yo-yo or not. Ron pushed the boundaries and got away with it.
GeoffRadcliffe - on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:
Test piece not tespiece.

I thought that it might have been corrected by now - unless it's an obscure word that I am unfamiliar with.
Post edited at 15:34
In reply to GeoffRadcliffe:

Thanks, corrected.

Jack
The Pylon King on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Well, this thread is certainly interesting and i learnt a few more things about the history of climbing. :)
jon on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

I thought that's what I said, no? What I meant about yo-yoing was exactly that - it was acceptable then but it isn't now. Bit like if Brown was now criticised now for having placed pegs back in the 60s.
wrapped in bacon - on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:
We were there! Watched him do it - it paused our climbing for the duration!
A fine effort - and a running commentary on the gear and route from his second!

Just a great pitty my camera was in the car at Erics!
Post edited at 17:37
1poundSOCKS - on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to jon:

Is anybody criticising yo-yo tactics then? I might have missed it.
jon on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Well yes, fifth post, 'old skool' said

> I've always been at a loss to explain why this route is usually described as "Ron Fawcett's classic Tremadog testpiece". Surely it should be "Stefan Glowacz's classic Tremadog tespiece",
1poundSOCKS - on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to jon:

I suppose it depends if he means a yo-yo wasn't acceptable at the time, or if he means a yo-yo was acceptable, but it wasn't a yo-yo. Either way, he is referring to the 'prevailing ethics at the time'.
Fraser on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:

Great effort! I wonder if he even bothered doing up his laces.
shark - on 17 Jun 2014

I don't know why people get there knickers in a twist about yo-yoing. If you fail and lower to the ground and pull your ropes instead of leaving the ropes in place then reclipping the gear is scarcely any harder. The hard bit was getting the gear in in the first place.
jon on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Well the prevailing ethics at the time accepted yo-yoing. Ron only slightly bent these by putting his ropes back where they were the previous day - he could simply have left them there, after all. So as far as he was concerned it was a (extended perhaps!) yo-yo. As I said, the top climbers of all generations have always pushed what is acceptable - and largely got away with it due to their status. Ron's bolts on the Cad and Cubby's on the Tunnel wall are other examples. Just to make my position completely clear, I strongly applaud these actions as they enabled climbing to move on, much like the acceptance of sport climbing did, and offer no criticism at all (just if anyone gets any other idea...)
FactorXXX - on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to old skool and Michael Gordon:

Thanks for clarifying the style used.
To me, Fawcett's claim to the first ascent still stands. He apparently made it quite clear how he did it and like many climbs, that style has been improved upon on subsequent ascents.


LeeWood - on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:

I'm surprised any route of such renoun can be onsighted; the beta must get around.
Mick Ward - on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to LeeWood:

> ...the beta must get around.

I'm sure it does but... if the man says 'Strawberries onsight', hey, that's good enough for me.

I mean we're talking about someone who (if memory serves me well, and it may well not) binned his first F8b 'onsight' (in the eyes of others) 'cos he'd had a brief play on it six(?) years previously.

And some of us can't even remember what we were doing last week!

Aye, that shy young lad from the North-East who casually despatched my project all those years ago has certainly come a long, long way.

Mick

Michael Gordon - on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to shark:

Did he definitely place the gear on lead on the earlier attempt? The UKC article doesn't really make this clear either way.
chickenman - on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to FactorXXX:

Quite a few of the cutting edge routes of the Strawberries era were done in a similar style. The problem with yo-yoing is that the moment you don't immediately lower to the deck after a fall you get into the realms of trying moves on the rope, dogging in gear above your head etc. I still believe that a ground up first ascent (without too much of the above)is a far better ascent than a Headpoint because it confronts the 2 biggest challenges in Trad, namely reading the rock and upward commitment when you can't see the next piece of gear above you.
The business of leaving your gear clipped above you certainly makes sense on a sea cliff if you don't want expensive gear landing in the drink.
1poundSOCKS - on 17 Jun 2014
In reply to jon:

I wasn't judging Ron's ascent, I'm not that bothered, he got the credit and that's all that counts. I was just querying why you thought people were judging him by today's standards.
shark - on 18 Jun 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Did he definitely place the gear on lead on the earlier attempt? The UKC article doesn't really make this clear either way.



You can see him placing the gear here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKc_LkFJrGI
Tyler - on 18 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:

Now we've settled the issue of the first ascent are we going to now discuss the second ascent and the attempt to rename it as Peaches.....
old skool on 18 Jun 2014
In reply to shark:

I don't think that footage is from the 1st ascent though. "Pushing the Limits" was filmed a couple of years later.
jon on 18 Jun 2014
In reply to old skool:

> I don't think that footage is from the 1st ascent though. "Pushing the Limits" was filmed a couple of years later.

Yes, you're right. Here's a photo I took the weekend prior to the first ascent. http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=136092 You see the road isn't finished in it. As for Peaches Tyler, there was no move to rename Strawberries. It was the other way around. It was a well known project in N Wales at the time and it was generally referred to as Peaches (to go with Cream, obviously) before Ron climbed it. Ron just had his own ideas for the name. Good job JR didn't get it first...
slinky wizard - on 18 Jun 2014
In reply to UKC News:
In the pic I think Ron's wearing Eb's which didn't have sticky rubber !
neilh - on 18 Jun 2014
In reply to slinky wizard:

And woolly socks--
ads.ukclimbing.com
Andy Say - on 18 Jun 2014
In reply to slinky wizard:

And on the youtube video he is wearing those godawful Hanwag boots with nice thick fluffy socks which must have pushed the grade a bit further up :-)
jonathan shepherd - on 18 Jun 2014
In reply to Andy Say:
That's what i thought, he says whilst cleaning "On route as hard as this you need everything going for you." and he's wearing hanwags! I have to say i had a pair of these at the time and they were the comfiest boots i've ever owned but useless for friction moves.
shark - on 18 Jun 2014
In reply to old skool:

> I don't think that footage is from the 1st ascent though. "Pushing the Limits" was filmed a couple of years later.


I didn't know that.

I have consulted his autobiography and it says "..I abseiled down and replaced the top three runners I'd placed the day before, clipping my ropes through them.."

By his own admission what he did was far from ideal. It was also no worse than many other ascents credited to those using similar tactics. The style he employed was known by all and sundry at the time and since. The first ascent belongs to him. Do you seriously think otherwise? - a bit like Bouvier when he tried to rename Tequila Mockingbird after he redpointed it.
Ian Parsons - on 18 Jun 2014
In reply to slinky wizard
> In the pic I think Ron's wearing Eb's which didn't have sticky rubber !

Until about 1983 nothing did.
johncoxmysteriously - on 19 Jun 2014
In reply to jon:
>As for Peaches Tyler, there was no move to rename Strawberries. It was the other way around. It was a well known project in N Wales at the time and it was generally referred to as Peaches (to go with Cream, obviously) before Ron climbed it. Ron just had his own ideas for the name.

Surely someone (Jerry, I thought, though it does seem a bit early) did it shortly afterwards in what he claimed was better style (which it was, no doubt) and therefore the FA (well, maybe....) and sought to rename it Peaches. No? That's what I seem to remember from the mags of the day.

> Good job JR didn't get it first...

Ain't that the truth! Although he did call Bananas something perfectly respectable. Still, JR and anything and cream sound like a combustible combination.

jcm
Post edited at 00:24
Ian Parsons - on 19 Jun 2014
In reply to shark:

<- a bit like Bouvier when he tried to rename Tequila Mockingbird after he redpointed it.>

Ah oui; Gandalf Le Magicien 7c, if I recall. Who's even heard of that these days? (Ok - apart from assorted geriatrics like present company!)


Tyler - on 19 Jun 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> Surely someone (Jerry, I thought, though it does seem a bit early) did it shortly afterwards in what he claimed was better style (which it was, no doubt) and therefore the FA (well, maybe....) and sought to rename it Peaches. No? That's what I seem to remember from the mags of the day.

That's what I was obliquely referring to, it was Jerry only from what I recall in the old guide he didn't climb it in better style but dogged it, he was very young and unaware of the ethic at the time I think "I only rested because I was tired" or something.

Ian Parsons - on 19 Jun 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

No John; Jon's definitely correct - the name "Peaches" was already around before Ron did it. Although I've no idea whether somebody subsequently tried to resurrect the name.

Tyler - on 19 Jun 2014
In reply to Ian Parsons:

While we're on the subject of renames which didn't catch on anyone know why Tiger Mountain or let them eat Jelly Beans didn't catch on?
johncoxmysteriously - on 19 Jun 2014
In reply to Ian Parsons:

Well, I'm not saying it wasn't. I think it was around after as well though. ("the first lead, therefore ascent", no?)

Consulting the guide, I see that in 1989 Mark Pretty et al thought that Big R's was 'something of a non-ascent by today's standards', and both they and Leigh M in 1983 pointedly say that J Moffatt made an ascent in 1981 but in no better style, and 'a further ascent' in 1982.

jcm
Ian Parsons - on 19 Jun 2014
In reply to Tyler:

Hmmm. No idea about Jelly Beans, but was Tiger Mountain one of the Cave Routes?
Ian Parsons - on 19 Jun 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

I suspect I've probably blundered into the middle of a discussion without knowing precisely what was being discussed, so should probably retire. At the time, however, I can't recall any doubt as to the route's validity, and that it was Ron's.

Having watched Johnny W's ascent in the late summer of 1982 I had rather hoped to be able to shed some light on the tactics employed, but realise that I can't remember either whether or not he pulled his ropes before doing it. Everything was somewhat eclipsed by the enormous fall he took at the end of the penultimate attempt, pretty much the whole height of that headwall; "Take in...tight....tighter....pull me off", or words to that effect. The amazing thing was that he appeared entirely relaxed about the whole procedure.

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