The well known and feared Kaizen (Font 8B+) has seen its first repeat at the hands of Blackpool strong-man Sam Davenhall.
Kaizen, at Woodwell in the South Lakes, was first climbed by John Gaskins in 2001 and had until now seen off all would-be repeaters. Gaskins' problems are amongst the hardest in the UK, and the bald-headed-boulderer from Lancashire is held in extremely high esteem by those engaged by hard UK bouldering. His very top ascents weigh in at a slight notch above Kaizen (Font 8C), but Kaizen itself is considered a very big tick:
"This is a fine effort as the line has seen attention, although no serious seiging, from a number of strong climbers over the years, and up until now has repelled all comers. This is undoubtedly a stiff proposition – hats off to Sam. " commented local bouldering aficionado Greg Chapman.
Aaron Tonks witnessed Sam's ascent of Kaizen and commented:
"Sam had been trying Kaizen on and off since early this year and had been giving it serious attention since August, albeit with a forced one or two week lay-off after he fell from the last move and missed his mat, badly bruising his backside. The rest obviously did him good as he did it on his first return. He said he felt completely wasted after the ascent and has not climbed a great deal since. I am not sure how Gaskins did it originally, but a block fell off from the start soon after and Kaizen was then thought to be impossible. Rumor has it that Gaskins has repeated it again recently, at the same grade.
It's not often that I see Sam wobble on problems, but he did a little on this and it looked completely desperate."
Sam Davenhall has been climbing well recently with ascents of The Aarinator Font 8A+/8B (pictured), which is a direct version of Cloning Technology at Woodwell, plus a repeat of Gareth Parry's Super Submarine (Font 8A+) at Craig y Longridge, and a new direct start to The Priory (Font 7C+/8A), again at Longridge.
Thanks go to Aaron Tonks and Greg Chapman for help with this report.
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