On the 31st July, Rob Mirfin (Mirf) made the first ascent of Cornelius E8 6c / Highball V9 at Ina's Rock, Staffordshire.
Rob first saw the line 12 years ago, but although inspired by the superb wall and amazing looking prow, he assumed that it was too hard for him. He visited the crag again last year and as no-one else had beaten him to it, thought he might as well have a look for himself.
"I tried the upper section on a shunt and realised that with the right mental attitude it would go. Due to the overhanging nature of the bottom section, I couldn't reach the holds from the rope so had to try them ground-up with the help of bouldering mats. The start of the route is brilliant - around V9 and on slopers, heelhooks and crimps. The next section is about V6; a powerful rockover from a fragile crimp to a sloper, hang this (scary, nearly lost it here), tricky match on a crimp and then a blind grope round the arÍte to a good rugosity and a long move to lovely flutings."
"Not sure about the grade Highball V9 maybe? Definitely hard E8 for a matless ascent or soft E8 with mats. Whatever grade it's a superb route with superb moves and I had lots of fun trying it."
Ina's Rock is described in the UKC crags database by Andi Turner:
"The amazing geology of the crag is apparent upon arrival. The large overhanging upper section is the cross section of an ancient river bed. The buttress is in two contrasting sections; the lower hard yellow sandstone, the jutting upper bunter pebble bed - awesome! There is no bouldering here at present, but a keen eye and big brush might reveal some good problems and there are certainly some interesting looking craglets scattered in the vicinity. The best routes are Ina's Chimney (S), Inaccessible (E5 6a), Atlas (E2 5c) and Ground Support (E1 5b) with a couple of highball-ish E5's right again on good sandstone. Inaccessible must rank amongst one of the best E5's in the county and undoubtedly the best on this obscure rock type anywhere. The climbing is superb throughout, a real experience and a must-do-tick for anyone capable of this grade."
Rob Mirfin has added another good reason to visit this obscure but wonderful venue.
See an excellent photo of Rob bouldering by Jon Read: UKC Photo