George Ullrich - Hard Trad in North Walesby Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC May/2009
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North Stack Wall is famous for it's bold crimpy wall climbs, many of which (including The Clown) were first climbed by John Redhead back in the early 1980's.
The Clown is considered the easiest of the E7's on this wall and has had many onsight ascents, however it is still a fearsome lead, with bold, snappy sections interspersed by harder, but better protected climbing.
Overlord was first climbed by an on-form Steve Mayers in 1992, just after he completed his ascent of Nightmayer (E8), a blank wall climb below Overlord on one of the most famous walls in the country - the right wall of Dinas Cromlech. Steve originally graded Overlord E7. James McHaffie made the first repeat of this route two years ago and suggested an upgrade to E8 after he had to resort to top-rope inspection to complete the route.
George Ullrich climbed the route after top-rope inspection last week making the third overall ascent of this bold, blunt arête.
James described the route after his ascent in 2007:
"The first five metres is unprotected E5 climbing, leading to a peg and wire. These are passed rapidly by a host of dynamic 6b slaps leading to the next runner (a poor downward pointing peg)... I got more and more pumped placing the last runners, two poor skyhooks. The crux lies above and the peg/hooks lie between you and a quick ride down Cenotaph Corner... The skyhooks flew off as I convulsed up side-pull edges to the sanctuary of the top. Sucking in the summit feeling I thought about Steve 'sandbagger' Mayers and his 'onsight-able E7"
Both Steve Mayers' routes Nightmayer and Overlord are yet to see an onsight ascent.
George Ullrich starred in the recent film Call It What You Want by Steep Media in which he travelled America climbing some hard and bold routes. You can read a review of the film and find out a little more about George in this UKClimbing Review.
In the video below is George attempting to flash the gritstone E8 Gaia at Black Rocks.