British climbers James Pearson and Hazel Findlay have teamed up with Austrian Hansjorg Auer and Caroline Ciavaldini of France for a two week road trip around Britain. The four talented climbers have been ticking hard routes, and it seems their pace hasn't been slowed by damp weather at a few of their venues.
Highlights so far include:
Whilst Hazel, James and Hansjorg are all experienced trad climbers, Caroline Ciavaldini is more used to sport and competition climbing (at which she excels). However she had her first taste of the British trad experience last year in Pembroke with James Pearson where she climbed the steep E8 Point Blank ground-up as one of her first ever trad routes.
Hazel Findlay commented on Caroline's efforts, as well as the team's many falls in Northumberland last week:
"We started with two days in Northumberland. In terms of climbing, the most productive event was James' flash of Crisis Zone, E7 6C. Caro also showed amazing form at ticking off a number of trad routes, from E2 to E6, picking up trad skills at a remarkable rate. It terms of footage, perhaps the most productive event was catching Hans, James and myself take ground sweeping, neck-jerking falls off tiny pieces of rock. My fall off the 'direct' of Charlottles Dream (E7), Back Bowden was especially entertaining as I narrowly missed Hans' head along with the ground. James' fall off 'Off the Rocks' E8 6c, was also pretty brutal."
Since the Northumberland fall-fest, the climbers have been in North Wales, where Hansjorg made the third ever onsight ascent of Strawberries, the classic hard route at Craig Bwlch y Moch, Tremadog. The route, notoriously difficult to onsight, but relatively safe and with good gear, repelled James Pearson on his first attempt, but Hansjorg slipped in for a clean onsight later that day. The team also visited Gogarth where Hazel showed a cool head with a casual onsight of the bold and snappy wall climb The Cad (E6) at North Stack Wall (see video below). Whilst being quite physically easy for the E6 grade, The Cad features dangerous climbing with long run outs above marginal gear.
Hazel Findlay onsighting The Cad (E6), Gogarth
UKC News, May 2012
© Matt Pycroft / Hotaches
After North Wales the team, travelling together in a huge truck, headed to Pembroke, where Hansjorg flashed the very steep E7 The Big Softy, just to the side of the desperate E9 route The Big Issue at Bosherston Head.
VIDEO: Hazel Findlay Onsight on The Cad (E6) Gogarth, North Stack Wall
The whole event has been labelled The Odyssey, and is being filmed by Hotaches Productions. You can keep up with what is going on on the Hotaches Facebook Page.