Unfamiliar Ground-Up for Minaby Duncan Campbell - UKC Nov/2013
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Mina Leslie-Wujastyk has recently made a ground-up ascent of Unfamiliar, E7/8 6c, at Stanage Plantation. Unfamiliar takes the left arete of the pinnacle overlooking the Plantation boulders. Mina climbed the line on her second session, climbing the lower section above pads, before clipping a pre-placed runner in the break.
Mina first headed out to try the line with David Mason and Ethan Walker (both successfully leading the route that day) last week, finding the climbing to be insecure and difficult. Mina described her first session on her blog:
"At first, I really struggled with the beginning section, not finding the body position and failing to commit to rocking up onto the arête. Call me a wuss, but even with pads it felt insecure, like you could pop off in any direction and tumble down the hill... My highpoint that day was the top pocket and the left arête, not being able to make myself do the foot moves. I jumped off from there and went home annoyed with myself for being scared... I was determined to go back in a better headspace."
Mina headed back a week later, having spent all her time since her last session thinking about the route, the moves, visualising success. On returning to the Plantation, she found much of the route wet, but decided to sit it out to see if it would dry up. By the afternoon it looked a lot drier so David Mason abbed the route, pre-placing the gear and chalking the holds for Mina.
After a couple of tries, Mina reached her high point, and immediately commited, arriving at the break and the gear. Unfortunately she could no longer reach the good foothold used by others to get a good rest. Pressing on, she soon found herself at the mantel onto the slab, in addition to being pumped, some of the footholds were still damp. As she began to mantel, both feet popped, having narrowly avoided falling off, Mina composed herself and topped out a very happy lady.
Mina commented on the style of her ascent of Unfamiliar:
"I climbed Unfamiliar ground up, above pads with pre-placed gear. Ground up because I had not got to a point where I felt a rope was needed to work the moves (but I would have considered it later on had I not had success). This ties in with trying it above pads – ground up is much safer and more achievable that way. I essentially saw the climb as a boulder problem that had a bit of gear at the top rather than a potentially leg-breaking trad route above no pads... Regarding the pre-placed gear, I have very minimal gear placing experience and was not confident placing the gear on lead. So it was another personal decision. Placing gear is a skill and an art and I have the upmost respect for experienced trad climbers... Lastly, the style in which I climbed it is exactly the same as many other ascents of this route, including that of Ethan, Dave, Ned etc so perhaps times are changing and there is simply more than one way to skin a cat."
Mina then went on to comment on the grade of her ascent:
"I am a boulderer; I see it more as a highball 7C with some gear at the top than an E7/E8 really. Pads definitely make it safer, that's for sure. Perhaps, gritstone grades need to be more malleable to take into account style now?"
You can read more about Mina's ascent of Unfamiliar on the BMC Website
Mina's ascent was captured by Nick Brown of Outcrop Films and will be featured in the Stone Kingdom Series