Big Issue for Gaz Parry - E9 6c

by Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC Apr/2010
This news story has been read 11,725 times

Gaz Parry placing the gear on abseil on The Big Issue - Pembroke, 171 kbGaz Parry placing the gear on abseil on The Big Issue - Pembroke
© Gaz Parry Collection
Gaz Parry has repeated the stunning Pembroke testpiece of The Big Issue E9 6c at Bosherston Head.

Gaz elected to climb the route in a 'sporty' style by pre-placing a selection of wires on abseil to have insitu protection for his ascent. The route was originally climbed by John Dunne in 1996. John placed most of the gear on lead, but there was a certain amount of stuck wires and a peg.

"I climbed it with all the gear in place so as a sport route really. All the old insitu wires are gone now and the peg is possibly very poor after 14 years in a sea cliff. All the wires are good and it is a safe route." commented Gaz after his ascent. The route is very steep and physical, making placing protection very strenuous.

Super-fit Steve McClure made the first repeat of this route some years ago.

Steve commented after Gaz's ascent that it is a logistical pain to remove gear between attempts (abseiling and jumaring in and out of a hugely overhanging sea cliff) and the most logical way is to climb it like Gaz did:

"That's the way I'd climb it now. Good effort to Gaz." he said.

The route takes the main challenge of the perfect, steep limestone wall at Bosherston Head in Pembrokeshire and features hard climbing of around F8a+.

The route was first conceived as a bolted line, but never completed until it was climbed in a more trad style by John Dunne on 1996.

Pembroke was going through a time of controversial first ascents and bolts were used on some routes. All these bolts have now long since been removed and all Pembroke climbs are now bolt free. John's name for the route; The Big Issue refers to the debolting of the line.

Route Time Line:

  • Pre 1996 - route bolted by Pete Oxley
  • 1996 - First ascent (placing gear) by John Dunne
  • 2000 - First repeat (placing gear) Steve McClure
  • 2000 - Repeat (on insitu gear) by Adrian Berry
  • 2010 - Repeat (on insitu gear) by Gaz Parry
John did place one peg on the route which is now in a dubious state but is adequately backed up with natural gear slots. Commenting on the peg, on the difficulty and on the style, Gaz said:

"I would say the climbing is HARD F8a+ with lots of bad feet and side pull pockets. Ste Mac said "beware of the peg, it is old and short", just like him I suppose. The meat of the route is the 20 moves to pass the peg and continue to the high break. Even the last move to the jug is droppable."

Gaz would like to thank Mike from the Castle Climbing Centre for holding his ropes.

Gaz Parry on top of The Big Issue - Pembroke, 147 kbGaz Parry on top of The Big Issue - Pembroke
© Gaz Parry Collection
A Bosherston Head page from the new Pembroke Rockfax Guidebook, 200 kbA Bosherston Head page from the new Pembroke Rockfax Guidebook
ROCKFAX, Apr 2010
© Rockfax

Pembroke (Aug 2009)

Pembroke A latest edition of the ground-breaking Pembroke guidebook, first published in 1995 to widespread acclaim. This full colour edition shows Pembrokeshire in all its breath-taking...
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More Info On Bosherston Head, Pembroke:

Bosherston Head

Pembrokeshire, WALES

Climbs 91 – Rocktype Limestone – Altitude 5m – Faces all

Most Popular Climbs:
Keelhaul E2 5c, Star Wars E4 5c, Baker's Door E1 5b, Preposterous Tales E2 5b, Poltergeist HVS 5a, Sunny Corner HVS 5a, Ghost Ship E3 5c, Intensive Scare E2 5c

Pembroke Vol 4 Range East - Saddle Head to St Govan's (2011), Pembroke (2009), Pembroke MiniGuide (2006),
Out of print: Pembroke (part two) (1996), Pembroke (1995)

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Gaz Parry is sponsored by DMM , Five Ten , The North Face and runs his own company Epic Adventures.

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