VIDEO: Whittaker Climbs Sleepy Hollow, E10

by Duncan Campbell - UKC Dec/2013
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+Pete on Sleepy Hollow E10 7a, 38 kb
Pete on Sleepy Hollow E10 7a
UKC News, Dec 2013
© Andi Turner

Last weekend, another of Staffordshire Grit's Last Great Problems was climbed, the direct start to Headless Horseman, E1 5b, at The Roaches. Climbed this time by Pete Whittaker, it is a very bold and technical line, first tried by Simon Nadin, Pete has graded it around E10.

Pete is no slouch on Grit, having previously climbed hard routes such as; Dynamics of Change, E9 7a,  A Little Peculiar, E6 7b, and Baron Greenback, E9/10 7a, to name but a few. Pete has named his route Sleepy Hollow, and graded it E10 7a, commenting;

"I'm not the best at grading and always find it really tough to grade first ascents. You always have an idea of what you think its going to be when you are working it, but then when you do it, it feels fine and you think 'oh that was ok maybe its not that hard'. That happened with Baron Greenback and I got back on it maybe 6 months after doing it and was like 'crikey, that is actually pretty tricky!!' Maybe this new route is E10 7a at a guess, I don't know."

UKC got in contact with Pete and asked him a few questions about Sleepy Hollow:

Headless Horseman Arete has been a well known about, and well-tried Last Great Problem for some time now, with many people trying it on top-rope, why do you think no-one has gone for the lead until now?

Pete: I'm unsure who has actually climbed it on toprope, apart from Simon Nadin, who apparently did it in a oner back in the day. I don't know of anyone else who has done it in a oner. Quite a lot of people have tried it and done all the moves or linked sections together. I don't know why nobody has lead it before, you'll have to ask them, though it is quite thin and on/off, so maybe thats why.

What made you decide to try the line? Has this been a long-term project, or something you recently got psyched for and did quickly?

Pete: It hasn't been a long term project to try and do it, I think I just decided I wanted to try it. When I abbed down and saw some holds I knew straight away it was possible.

Could you give us some insight into what the climbing and protection is like?

Pete: The climbing is thin, crimpy, pebbley and droppable on any move really. the protection is good but you place it on the starting ledge and go from there so it would be a tumble or big fall if you fell from the final moves. I also used pads where I placed my gear on the starting ledge. After the hard section there is good protection and the climbing eases.

You can watch the film on BMC TV:

Pete Whittaker is sponsored by: Climb On, Five Ten, Patagonia, Sterling Rope and Wild Country


Forums ( Read More... | 26 comments, 21 Dec 2013 )
Good effort, big grade. What E grade would moves around Font 8a+ in the leg breaker or worse fall zone get? (Just in case one of Northumberlands finest did such a route on the 1st Dec but was too modest to grade...
Smith42 - 19 Dec 2013

Yes, looks like you nearly had to chuck him a head-torch - but if 40 mph gusts aren't deterring him a bit of dark's not going to put him off! Congrats on your recent project by the way. Probably good to get that one...
chrishedgehog - 19 Dec 2013

To be fair every piece of rock at the roaches that day was gopping wet, the 'Sleepy Hollow' arete included, right up to the last hour of sunlight. The only reason it dried was due to that horrendous wind blowing...
Souljah - 19 Dec 2013

Very impressive we were at the roaches for about 2hrs that morning waiting for it to dry out, we eventually gave up about hlf 12 and went the stride. I didnt believe John when he txt me and told me this had gone down...
Adam Moroz - 18 Dec 2013

Great ascent and great name!! And just to put it in context, as it's hard to tell on the film, Pete reckoned it was harder than Walk on By 7c+ at Curbar...which as we all know is pretty flippin' tricky..!!
Richie Patterson, Wild Country - 18 Dec 2013

nice one pete. it was awesome to witness the real event. oh and thanks for spelling my name right.... then say it wrong!!! which isant the first time either. think an eastern invasion is due this winter.
northy1983 - 18 Dec 2013

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