Shauna Coxsey Climbs Pilgrim - V12by Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor Jun/2011
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It is thought this is the hardest boulder problem climbed by a woman in the UK.
Shauna is the current British Bouldering Champion and has previously climbed other hard Welsh boulder problems such as the V9 Jerry's Roof in the Llanberis Pass and the V10 Lou Ferrino in Parisella's Cave. She also redpointed the classic F8a sport route of Raindogs at Malham when she was just 16.
Pilgrim links the start of the Left Wall Traverse (V8) in to a reverse of the crux section of Cave Life (V9) to reach the starting holds of the steep and reachy Rock Atrocity (V9), which it follows in full - see the video of Shauna below.
Pilgrim is the first half of the mega-problem Pilgrimage (also known as 'The Big Link'), a very long V14 from Malcolm Smith that crosses the entire cave.
Ormes legend Chris Doyle commented to UKC on Shauna's recent success:
"Pilgrim is definitely 8A+ - it's a step up from the 8As in the cave! I think Shauna's ascent is really significant as it is a big step up from what has been done by a woman previously on British soil. The problem is full on power endurance all the way to that heartbreaking last move."
North Wales based cave dweller and limestone pervert Pete Robins knows the dark recesses of Parisella's like he knows the opening times of the Llanberis fish and chip shop. He was particularly impressed with Shauna's effort and told us:
"Pilgrim, the initial half of The Big Link, is a great problem in its own right because its perma-dry and pure power endurance. This is an especially awesome achievement from Shauna as she has to cut loose on the crux, where most lank their way through. Where will you go from here Shauna? Second ascent of Pilgrimage?"
How long did Pilgrim take you?
"I was trying for a few sessions, I think about six, about a year ago and managed to get to the last move TWICE! But then injury, exams and life in general conspired to keep me off the rock. When I finally pulled back onto to it, it took one session to remember the moves, a session of practising where I slipped off the final hold after feeling pretty strong on the whole problem - watching the video of that effort really frustrates me - I had done the problem, I wasn't pumped or tired, I simply just didn't pull deep enough to get the last hold which I tickled with my fingertips but then just didn't bear down enough...and slipped off, so many bad words were used! But I then got it second go on the next session, it all came together like it realistically should have done the previous session, but it was still sweet, so I think nine sessions overall."
Which bit did you find hardest?
"There is one move on Rock Atrocity, to the flake, that I find really hard as I have to jump into it. Reversing the arch seemed okay with the beta I used. The climbing on Pilgrim is all about just having your sequence as short as possible, dialled so you don't even have to think and just keeping the motion continuous, its not a climb for hanging around and shaking out!"
What is your previous hardest boulder problem?
"Answering this question is actually a little bit embarrassing, its V10 but I have been climbing V9 since I was 15. The way my life has panned out has kept the indoor comp scene easily available to me, getting outside to really get my teeth into a wide variety of problems has just not been possible for me - I really have done nothing on grit! Additionally I have been concentrating on exams and finishing college for a while now so haven't had chance to get much done outdoors or really focus on anything that isn't revision, Parisella's Cave has just been easy to get to as so many scouse climbers head there weekly."
Thanks Shauna and well done!
Shauna Coxsey is sponsored by Five Ten
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