James Pearson climbs Devon Project - E12 7aby Jack Geldard & David Simmonite Sep/2008
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"In an audacious and serious piece of climbing James Pearson has succeeded on one of the UK's most incredible lines and at an equally stunning grade of E12 7a.The route, dubbed The Walk of Life, is located on the dramatic steep slab of Dyer's Lookout on the North Devon coast and is without peers in terms of commitment, difficulty and danger.
The final words are with James, “The Walk of Life pushed me further and made me dig deeper than any other route I've climbed before. The route is the hardest I've ever climbed and far harder than any other route I've tried. When compared to other routes that I've experienced, and my previous first ascents including The Groove at Cratcliffe, which in hindsight I feel I undergraded, The Walk of Life is at a new level."
For a full report and photos see the Climb Magazine website.
James' route The Walk of Life takes a direct start to an old Ian Vickers E8 Dyer Straits. James has been blogging about his attempts on the line on his North Face blog. A post from last week reads:
"This route, which started off as a small idea in a mixed up mind, has grown into the biggest and most difficult challenge of my life. I have had to give, and will have to continue to give, more than ever before but if nothing else, this will make the final ascent even more satisfying. If people gave up when the going got tough the world would be a very different place."
James' grade of E12 7a will of course raise a few eyebrows. Far and away the biggest number given to a trad route, The Walk of Life must be around F8c+ climbing with a 'death fall' potential to warrant the grade. You can see a grading table up to E11 here: Rockfax Grade Table.
The only other route in the UK that could compare is Dave MacLeod's Ben Nevis masterpiece Echo Wall, which Dave has refused to grade.
Congratulations to James in what must have been a truly emotional experience. We will bring you more details of the ascent when we get them.
James is sponsored by The North Face, Wild Country and Five Ten