'A Totally Strange Day' - 550 routes for Randall and Whittaker

by Tom Randall and Mick Ryan Jul/2008
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+Route no.430 after 14 hrs of climbing: Pete Whittaker soloing Mantelpiece Buttress Direct (HVS 5b) at Stanage Popular, 142 kbRoute no.430
20th June 2003: John Arran and Shane Ohly managed to climb over 500 Peak grit routes in a day. John climbed 536 routes and Shane 502, in 18 hours.

The challenge was set.

Five years later, John and Shane's challenge was met head on by Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker (you may remember these two from a rare ascent of Ray's Roof a few weeks ago - UKClimbing.com report )

Tom Randall reports on this epic day:

"On Tuesday, 15th July, we both went out with the aim of repeating John Arran's and Shane Ohly's 500 routes in a day challenge. More importantly, we were both pretty psyched to beat John's world record of 536 routes in a day soloed. I'm glad to say that we were boxed out of our minds, but cranked out a full 550 routes each.

Probably one of the weirdest things that I've attempted in terms of climbing and probably only similar in feeling to doing an El Cap route in a push. It was a totally strange day as well because we went through the full range of emotions and full range of energy levels!

We started at Warncliff at 4.30am, which was followed by Burbage, then Birchen, then Baslow and finally to the crown of the Peak - Stanage. We were climbing for 17 hrs and 1min (which includes a 30 min break for the rain to stop and the climbs to vaguely dry out again!).

Highlights and lowlights of the day include:

Both of us falling off Wednesday climb at Burbage and sustaining minor injuries on a wet hold after only a 100 or so climbs done.

Downclimbing the "Baslow Corner" at Baslow, which is a fully overgrown heather-fest! Not exactly easy!

Sat in the rain at Baslow, wondering if the previous 320 climbs were in vain and slowly going mad. We broke the madness by climbing the greenest and wettest chimney we could possibly find!

Toping out for our 537th climb at exactly the same time, by simul-climbing a big wide chimney.

Realising after 540 routes that Hard Severe was my total max grade that I could contemplate and feeling so sick that I couldn't work out whether it was the exhaustion or the shear amount of chocolate hobnobs I'd eaten...

Finally spraying champagne of over Pete's head at the end of a very, very long day with friends and family there to carry our weary bodies to the pub. (See photo)

It was an interesting day and I'm so impressed that John and Shane had the vision to do it in the first place - many thanks to John for passing on the tactical beta a couple of years back when I first started to consider this. Also big thanks to friends and family who came out to shout us up a few more climbs and to Nick Smith for taking photos."

Pete Whittaker is sponsored by Five Ten, Patagonia, Tendon Ropes, Naked Ape and The Edge Climbing Wall.

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