The route tackles the famous arete to the side of Elder Crack and was first climbed by Steve McClure back in 2004, and repeated not long after by Steve Dunning. The grade HXS is due to the route being relatively safe (unless the arete cuts your rope!), but very very hard, therefore difficult to assign an E Grade to.
There's more photos and a video of James to come, but whilst we wait for those, check out...
VIDEO: Steve McClure on the first ascent of Elder Statesman HXS 7a
Your theory is correct as a general trend, but there are some exceptions. It's perhaps because it's towards the limits of possibility that there are fewer ways to do a 7a move, rather than because of some intrinsic... Franco Cookson - 21 Feb 2013
looks like james used some different beta from Steve McClure. He seems to have in his right hand the hold that McClure has in his left before the swing round the corner. That's interesting because I always in my own... M0nkey - 21 Feb 2013
The bottom half of the route is hidden in that photo, what looks a bit like the ground is actually some rocks in the foreground. These might give you a better idea of where the belay would have been standing:... deepsoup - 21 Feb 2013
Cheers for that. The clip only has 31 views, including me. That went under the radar. Interesting how the style of movement differs between McClure and Dunning, will be interssing to see the clip of James. Jimbo C - 20 Feb 2013
Presume Dunning's repeat is captured here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjURGAfd4hs "It took Steve three days but he managed to top rope it clean on his second go. Unfortunately he didn't have any large cams so... Alex Thompson - 20 Feb 2013