Arya, 7B+ FA for Jemma Powell

by Duncan Campbell - UKC May/2014
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+Jemma Powell making the first ascent of Arya, 7B+, Rhiw Goch, 144 kb
Jemma Powell making the first ascent of Arya, 7B+, Rhiw Goch
UKC News, May 2014
© Alex Mason

North Wales-based Jemma Powell has just made the first ascent of a hard new problem at Rhiw Goch in the Conwy Valley. Jemma has called the problem Arya and graded it 7B+, though feels it may well be harder.

Six sessions after first trying the line with warm temperatures preventing numb fingers, Jemma topped out on one of the hardest boulder problems she has ever done. Jemma described the day:

"It was sunny and I was able to climb in a T-shirt. I knew I wouldn’t have many goes in me, as my skin was still thin. It never properly healed the whole time that I was trying the problem. Just before my third go of the day I thought of some of the things that Kieran King had said to me during our last session. I brushed the holds (what I like to call a psychological brush) and for the first time, I consciously looked at all of the top holds before I set off. For some reason, I knew I was going to do the problem on this attempt."

Jemma first tried the problem in early March after flashing the line to the left, Moria, 7B. Jemma's first few sessions were thwarted by poor skin and difficulties with her Raynaud's phenomenon as she explained further:

"I suffer quite badly with Raynauds, which affects my circulation. Consequently, I often find it difficult to thaw out my fingers. They go white and numb and often don’t get warm again until I’m back in the car. It is at this point that I sometimes wish I am at home, cuddled up on the sofa and watching a film with Max and Alex. I often have an intrinsic battle at times like these; where I feel guilty that I’m not at home fulfilling my duties as a Mum."

Jemma has called the line Arya after a character in the popular series 'Game of Thrones', Arya is a fiercely independent woman, reflecting the fierce, crimpy nature of the climbing and also it being independent from other lines on the block. Commenting further on the grade, she said:

"I've only given Arya 7B+, as I haven't done any 7Cs yet. I do think it might be harder. I have been doing 7Bs and 7B+s fairly quickly. I flashed Moria, 7B, and I did Wonderwall, 7B, in the Crafnant valley in about five goes. Arya took six, skin ravaging sessions."

Jemma Powell making a hard move to a thin slot on Arya, 7B+, Rhiw Goch
UKC News, May 2014
© Alex Mason


Forums ( Read More... | 22 comments, 27 May 2014 )
to me its more inspiring to read this bit of news about a problem in the UK, that is a reasonable climbing objective to a mere mortal than to hear about Ondra onsighting some 9a, somewhere I'll never go and never be...
BedRock - 27 May 2014

Interesting that no one has actually mentioned anything about the line, the aesthetics and the actual 'feel good' factor that people get from putting up a first ascent in a beautiful part of the country. That boulder...
Simon - 27 May 2014

It's not about the grade, it's supporting someone who's out there making hard FAs, potentially with the added benefit of inspiring some of the other strong girls to get out there as well. Most FAs are put up by men, I...
Ramiel - 24 May 2014

Well done Jemma. However, this crag is in the Lledr Valley. The Afon Conwy is a few miles away! As it's only about a mile from my house I'll have to go and and have a look. Well done Jemma. However, this crag is in...
lostcat - 24 May 2014

The news article might have benefited from pointing this out then. I was like others a bit sceptical about whether it was news...these little details means it surely is noteworthy. FWIW, well done Jemma.
Mutl3y - 23 May 2014

Like John said, it is quite possibly the hardest FA by a woman in the UK. I don't think pointing out this fact is unfair. If a country or region had its first 9a put up by a man (or woman), would that not be news? Even...
Alex Mason - 23 May 2014

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