Jordan Buys - Widdop Wall 2nd Ascent

by Jack Geldard and Alastair Lee Feb/2009
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+Jordan Buys on Reservoir Dogs (E8 7a), 111 kb
Jordan on nearby Reservoir Dogs. Widdop Wall takes the rippled wall to the right. © Alastair Lee
On 31st of January, Lancashire climber Jordan Buys crimped his way to the second ascent of the infamous Gritstone route Widdop Wall (E9 7a). First climbed over ten years ago by John Dunne, this rippled wall of Gritstone has until now repelled all would-be repeaters.

The route breaks down in to two obvious halves; a desperate and fingery highball problem leads to a line of sloping holds. Here gear can be arranged in two round holes which are both shallow and uninspiring. The upper wall follows, first on tiny crimps, then on gritty slopers on the apex of the buttress.

Jordan commented after climbing the route:

"This is by far the most challenging and inspiring route I have ever climbed on gritstone and I would confirm the grade of hard and sustained E9 7a / French 8b / 5.13d R."

Photographer and film-maker Alastair Lee (Posing Productions) witnessed the ascent and gives us some background:

"On an admittedly pre-mature lead attempt in 2004, Jordan decked from the final sloping holds of the route, luckily surviving the ground fall relatively unscathed. Then in November 2008 he revisited the line, taking advantage of  the winter's superb conditions, making good headway with the moves. Further attempts came on Christmas eve and boxing day, where a combination of less than ideal conditions and food poisoning (he did look pasty) meant a couple of failed lead attempts, although this time the strange shot-hole protection held a short fall or two."

"The route had now become an obsession and with talk that James Pearson was also looking at the line, the race for the second ascent was on! Jordan spent most of January working hard on his stamina/power endurance (this is a VERY sustained route) between frequent visits to the crag, which was generally covered with snow, fog or getting blasted with rain.

"Last Saturday things finally came together and after a couple of false starts and with the light fading, Jordan topped out after a stunning piece of climbing (some of the best I've seen!)."


Jordan has an exceptional Gritstone ticklist including; French Duke (E9 7a, first ascent), Reservoir Dogs (E8 7a), Carmen Picasso (E8 6c, virtually onsight - one pre-placed nut), The New Statesman (E8 7a) and Obsession Fatal (E8 6c). He's no slouch on the boulders and on sport routes too. See a stunning photo of Jordan in action at Malham (UKC Photos Page).

Jordan is also keen to emphasise that this route is more about the difficulty than the actual danger. The route certainly isn't 'safe', but is relatively small and has a reasonably flat landing.


Jordan Buys is supported by Boreal and BoulderUK


Alastair Lee is a leading photographer and film maker. You can view more of his work in his UKC Photo Gallery. His website Posing Productions has a selection of films and images, as well as more information about Alastair and his photography.
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