Kevin Jorgeson Grounds Up Parthian Shot E9 6c

by Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com Oct/2008
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+one of the Americans about to fall off the crux, 97 kb
Parthian Shot, ground up!
Kevin Jorgeson, 24, one of the USA's top climbers renowned for his highball bouldering and solos (he's also climbed sport 8b+) has ground-up'd Parthian Shot E9 6c at Burbage South, the gritstone testpiece set by John Dunne 18 years ago in 1989 and made infamous by Seb Grieves' recorded ascent in the iconic climbing film Hard Grit.

Climbing from the ground-up means no top rope practice, starting from the ground and pulling your ropes when you fall, until you complete the climb. Similar to how many of us climb! An onsight ascent is ground-up but done on the first attempt, with no falls. Parthian Shot has only been led after top rope practice, by climbers who know all the moves and have them wired; a top down approach, a style known as headpointing.

Kevin, over with fellow American tradsters, Matt Segal and Alex Honnold, has already headpointed another John Dunne route (first ascent in 1987), New Statesman E8 7a, at Ilkley, taking the uber fast time of two days. The New Statesman has not yet had a ground-up ascent (Oct 20: New Statesman and Ulysses - Visiting Americans).

Over the last week, several climbers including Brits Ben Bransby and Pete Robins, as well as the American team have been trying to climb Parthian Shot from the ground up.

Ben Bansby even got beta advice from Tom Briggs, on the UKClimbing.com forums (forum topic) this morning, as regards the suggested finger configuration in the crucial pocket. Tom headpointed Parthian Shot two weeks ago.

Multiple falls have been taken and the crucial-protection shipwreck flake, around half-height, has been well and truly tested as successive suiters took the 30ft plus fall when trying the pocket move before the final slab (see photo).

This afternoon, after a couple of days effort, Kevin Jorgeson succeeded on what has not been done before - a ground up ascent of a confirmed E9 grit route.

It must have been harrowing for Kevin on that final attempt as he climbed above his highpoint, sport 8a climbing, to territory unknown and moves that he could easily blow.

Wills Young, one of the authors of Bishop Bouldering stated: "Kevin has taken things to a new level."

I can vouch for that, some of the first ascents that Kevin has done in the Bishop area are not only near the limits of physical difficulty, but are bold in the extreme: there is constant danger of serious injury or worse. Good experience for the UK's technical and bold gritstone routes and done in impeccable style, Royal Robbins and John Bachar would be proud.

Kevin is sponsored by Marmot, Asana Packworks, Sterling Rope,Black Diamond, Superfeet, Raw Revolution and Five Ten.


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