James Pearson on first ascent of The Return of the Jedi (HXS 7a) Matlock Bank Quarry
UKC News, Mar 2011
© David Simmonite At the end of last year James Pearson made a fleeting visit back to his native Peak District to climb an old gritstone project. The line - a sharp arete in Matlock Bank Quarry is now called Return of the Jedi and features F8a+ climbing with poor protection and a bad landing.
Commenting about the difficulty on his blog, James said:
"HXS 7a explains as much, or as little as you need to know. In other money it is perhaps F8a+ to toprope and would be a fierce little offering with a couple of bolts – from the floor to the ledge it is slap slap slap, no time to stop and chalk! With enough pads and big balls you could possibly consider the bottom section a highball boulder, but the top of the route is pretty far from the floor and still has a tricky move. I chose to take a rope and place some (bad) gear..."
James has recently had a personal best in sport climbing too - with an ascent of the F8c+ route called Love 2.1 at the granite venue of the Zillertal in Austria.
James described the route for UKC:
"2.1 is the logical extension to 2.0, which makes a 90deg turn to finish up the line of weakness after the 20m of 8c. 2.1 continues directly up the wall, via a final 7c boulder, to a delicate slopey exit at the very top of the cliff. The thing that made this really interesting for me, was how much easier Love 2.0 now felt than when I made my ascent last year. A multi day and multi try siege, became a first try effort climbed in (relative) control. Its nice to see how effective a structured training program can be, and puts me in good spirits for my return to England next month to try my project..."
James also flashed 2 F8b's on a recent trip to Croatia, his favourite was a route called Avatar:
"I was particularly pleased with my flash of Avatar, an amazing route at the steep cascade of Pandora. Long and steep, no sneaky no-hands rests, and the crux at the very, very top. If the pump finds you, there is no escape, and with an original grade of 8b/+, it was certainly a fight to remember." he told UKC.
Good luck with the project in the UK James... wherever it is!
VIDEO: James Pearson climbing Return of the Jedi - HXS 7a
You can keep up to date with James on his new website: www.realbigpimp.in