click to enlarge As reported earlier this month at UKClimbing.com, on Sunday April 29th, Dave Pickford (28) of Bristol climbed a major new route at St Govan's Head in Pembroke The Brothers Karamazov E9 6c. Mike Robertson of Wareham, Dorset, the UK's deep water soling guru and a friend of Dave's said that Dave is “a major force in UK trad climbing.". With recent ascents by the likes of Dave Birkett, Dave Macleod, Jack Geldard,Pete Robins, Ben Cossey and James Pearsons, high-level trad climbing in the UK is very much alive.
Dave has solved another last great problem in the south when on May 20th he climbed the diagonal line on the wall left of the classic Kafoozalem (E3) at Bosigran after two days of effort, solving one of the last great problems on Cornish granite. Teahupo'o weighs in at E8 7a, although Dave told us that the 'move' was perhaps ungradeable. Teahupo'o follows the striking arching seam/crack across the wall until it joins the upper part of Kafoozalem. It offers technical and sustained climbing of exceptional quality, the crux is an 'all or nothing' horizontal dyno for an undercut to gain the seam.
The so-called 'Diamond Face' had been previously top-roped by both Mark Edwards and Ken Palmer, using a desperate mantelshelf to gain the first part of the undercut seam. Dave's solution - which may only be possible for climbers with a arm-span greater than 6ft 4in - uses a small crimp on the extreme left hand edge of the face to facilitate the 1.5 metre dyno for the seam. This move is well-protected by a side-runner in Beaker's Route (HVS 5a), up which Teahupo'o starts. After the crux dyno, a meaty E7 6b/c lies ahead before the sanctuary of Kafoozalem is reached. Technical and balancy moves lead out right into the seam, protected initially by a poor downward-pointing knifeblade. A fall from here could be serious as the peg may rip and the gear in Beaker's Route and the ground are the same distance away from one another! Once in the seam proper, solid protection and brilliant sustained climbing lead swiftly into Kafoozalem.
Where the name comes from?
Teahupo'o is the name of an infamous reef-break off the south eastern coast of Tahiti in French Polynesia, and is widely recognized as having some of the heaviest waves in the world. On the weekend of the first ascent of the Diamond Face, an immense north-westerly groundswell off the Cornish coast caused by unseasonal storms produced seas normally seen only in winter. The whole of Porthmonia Cove turned into a boiling cauldron of water, with massive waves regularly breaking over the top of Porthmonia Island. Teahupo'o is a celebration of the combined forces of earth and ocean that form our sea-cliff adventures. See the photo here.
Dave Pickford is supported by Karrimor, DMM and is a photo-journalist for the UK climbing media. You can view some of his work at www.davidpickford.com/