Ethan Walker Climbs Two 8B+'sby Duncan Campbell - UKC Apr/2014
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Ethan's first 8B+, Belly of the Beast, was first climbed by Chris Webb-Parsons (UKC News report). It is in essence a low extension to Keen Roof, 8B. Chris originally graded the problem 8C but visiting Italian Stefano Ghisolfi repeated the problem, utilising the two knee-bars available, feeling it to be closer to 8B+ this way.
Ethan spent many sessions trying to link the start into Keen Roof, finally returning well rested on the 10th of April, a day of perfect temperatures to find the crag wet due to condensation. Fortunately, after an hour or two it had dried enough to begin attempting the problem once again. Ethan commented on the day:
"I was feeling solid, stuck the lip, screaming as I came into the match, heel went up, another power scream to latch the next hold and then another even louder than the last. It felt the hardest I have ever ever tried on a climb. One move from the finish though and it all came to an abrupt end. Every ounce of my power and strength squeezed from my body. Annoyed but buzzing at the same time, it did the world of good for my confidence. I knew it was game time.
Within 20 minutes it was in the bag on my second try of the day. Still a huge fight towards the end, but being more warmed up and with the extra confidence in myself, it made those final moves feel a little more steady. It was still probably the hardest I have ever had to fight on something."
Below is a video from Jon Clark of Ethan attempting Belly of the Beast:
Over the Easter weekend, Ethan managed to successfully climb his second 8B+ with an ascent of Dan Varian's Dandelion Mind (UKC News Report) at Badger Cove. Ethan managed to climb the problem on his second session, having fallen on the second to last hard move on his flash attempt.
Ethan commented on Dandelion Mind, saying:
"I guess it does suit me to a degree this style. It is a very basic, short boulder, you could almost describe it as a typical 'board' style problem. The crux involves a hard deadpoint slap to a small but fairly positive side-pull before another big lunge to a decent sized sloper. I used different foot beta than the previous guys to climb it, which for me made so much more sense and without a doubt helped me stick the move much easier. Having a bunch of mates behind me, shouting encouragement was a massive help and I feel that also was a BIG factor in me maybe trying that little bit harder and giving that extra couple of percent on the final moves.
It is just a real quality boulder problem in a super nice and quiet setting. Makes a change to climb at a new venue and on decent rock. Like I said, it wasn't the plan to try it yesterday as I was supposed to be on a double rest day! It feels great to have managed it on my 2nd session, but I'm more pleased about the fact that I did it then and didn't stick with the plan of trying it today! As it is currently hammering it down outside and looks totally grim!"