James Pearson and his wife, Caroline Ciavaldini have been travelling around many different parts of Europe recently, sport climbing, bouldering and trad climbing. Whilst in Turkey James made the first ascent of Cobra Crackinette, E8 7a, and Caroline made the first ascent of Jamesinade at E6 6b, both featured in the video below.
James and Caroline started their travel at Meteora in Greece, then headed to the Greek island of Kalymnos, after Kalymnos, they spent some time exploring various areas in Turkey, before heading in to Italy. James explains a little more about their time in Turkey:
"After our time exploring Bafa, and later discovering Sakarkaya, we were sure that with all that rock, the perfect lines were out there, waiting. We hiked a lot, in fact, several days were lost in those never ending boulders, eternally tempted by the unseen potential around the corner, or over the hill. We walked past a lot of good walls, and even more routes you would be “happy” to climb back at home, but the possibility of something perfect kept us ever marching forwards, yet always aware time was slipping away."
Despite the endless possibilties and temptations of what could be around the corner, the pair were very aware that if they did not decide on a project, they may spend the whole of their stay searching for the impossibly perfect project. Caroline decided on a project first, a high, looming wall of golden rock, split by several disjointed cracks. James commented further on Caroline's route:
"The first day of climbing saw Caroline realize her project, and her first ever new route! From conception, to cleaning, then climbing. The result was a very 'English' style trad route, following a discontinuous crack, protected by spaced and sometimes suspect gear - Jamesinade, E6 6b."
Finally, James discovered a piece of rock that was close enough to perfection to be further investigated, finding a large, steep wall, split by a crack, reminding the pair of The Cobra Crack in Squamish. It took James a little longer to realise his project, and after the first day he had worked out the moves up the crack and the wire placements, which although good, had to be placed blindly adding to the difficulty of leading the route. James climbed the route on his second day.
Caroline commented further:
"By the end of Day 2, James was motivated for a lead attempt, and after passing the crux with a few more problems than expected, found a way to keep it together, place the final nut, and run it out to the top. Cobra Crackinette is now, as far as we know, Turkey's hardest traditional route, weighing in at a tough E8 7a. It’s an amazing line that strangely climbs more like a face than a crack, but make sure to wait for the shady part of the day if you want to keep any skin."
James Pearson on Cobra Crackinette, E8 7a
UKC News, Jan 2014
© FotoVertical (Video Still)
However, whilst James and Caroline had been working their trad projects, they had found an amazing boulder:
"We could hardly believe the positive, solid features spaced up the steep brown wall! The boulder could have come directly from Switzerland, and the visible holds and features hinted at something very high, very hard, but probably possible!"
On the last day of their stay in Turkey, they decided to have a look at the boulder. Whilst abbing and cleaning the line, James found not only was the slopey crux at the top, but also that it was a lot higher than they had originally thought, and with a poor landing. Caroline commented on James' first ascent of Into The Light, highball 8A:
"After a few tries to understand the beginning sequence, James committed to the upper section but lost his courage just before the lip, jumping back down to the pads. After a few more tries and falls from lower down, he regained his highpoint and stuck the move to the lip whilst I frantically rearranged the pads below. Turning the lip, the morning sun blinded his eyes, and we all held our breath as he scabbled uncomfortably onto the top of the boulder.
Into The Light is somewhere around Highball 8A, and a fine addition to the already excellent boulders of Bafa and Sakarkaya. For someone with the required power, there is a possible sit start that adds a similar number of moves and difficulty, which would surely add up to something very hard indeed!"