Impact Day E8/9 Climbed Twice Today by George Ullrichby Mick Ryan - Editor and Tom Dixon Feb/2008
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George told UKClimbing.com that day that he planned to go and take a look at another Dave Birkett route, Impact Day E8/9 6c on Pavey Ark, this weekend (16th/17th Feb). See photo of Pavey Ark on Sunday 17th here.
Just over four hours ago George just did that, but he led Impact Day not just once. After his first successful ascent he went back up for another ascent without pausing for a breath according to his belayer, Chris Stirling, so that George's friend, filmmaker Dave Gill could get video footage from a different angle. Chris also said that George made the route look like an E4 and had only minimally practiced the route on a shunt. We shall verify these details after we have talked to George and report back (he was unavailble just before I wrote this report).
Tom Dixon who phoned through this news - from the Ambleside, Cumbria to Saratoga Springs, NY where I'm based for 3 weeks - said that after watching George this past year, he is convinced that George will be at the vanguard of a new trad climbing renaissance by young climbers in the UK.
Last October Dave MacLeod, intent on repeating all Dave Birkett's hard trad routes in the Lakes, made the third ascent of Impact Day proposing a grade of E8 6c. This climb nearly had on a onsight flash by Ben Bransby who fell from the finishing moves.
UPDATE WITH PHOTOS: Later I spoke to George and he said that he practiced the route late on Saturday afternoon managing a clean top rope once. On the walk up to the route on Sunday, as mentioned on the forum thread associated with this news report, a sheep did take a tumble landing near George and others, one chap being very lucky, the sheep exploded on impact, with blood and guts everywhere. George thought he may have found a new sequence for the crux dispensing with a knee bar and using a small sidepull out right. The bottom half of the route is the bold crux protected by an alien, a peg and a skyhook, if you fall from a 6b move and the skyhook rips you are on the floor. The sanctuary of a break is reached, see photos here and here and more gear before the crux, where a fall would be long but not deadly. George said it was the best route he had ever done. And yes he did do the route again for the camera saying, "on the second ascent I was not intending to climb the route clean and did have a rest at half height."
And what next?
"In the next few months before I go to the States I hope to try many more of Dave Birkett's routes and want to have a look at John Dunne's route Breathless on Great Gable."
George Ullrich is sponsored by Evolv Rock Shoes, Prana and Metolius