The new route Point Blank (E8 6c - F8a) tackles the smooth wall left of From A Distance at Stennis Ford, Pembroke and marks a good run of form for the Bristol based climber Dave Pickford.
Pickford has recently been out at Gorge du Tarn, getting in shape and onsighting F8a's. On returning home he found himself firing on all cylinders with his hard-won limestone fitness. Intrigued by the blank looking expanse of rock left of the classic E7 From a Distance, he abseiled down the line and discovered an "outrageous line of holds leading out into the heart of the wall" just after the second crux of From a Distance.
He abseiled the route several times over a couple of days, then led the route, placing all gear on lead. The wall was climbed by long moves from crimps and slopers to "a 'point-blank' shot for a shallow pocket" that marks the end of the difficulties.
Even with his recent sport climbing success, Point Blank was no push over, and a surprise pump saw Dave nearly take the monster fall from the top crux. Pickford has estimated the physical difficulties of the route to be around F8a, and although the route has some long run-outs, says:
"Fortunately, the huge and featureless drop zone means you'll only clock up mega air-time should you fall from the final crux at 38 metres!"
Dave, in his own words; "never one to under sell a route", thinks this is one of Pembroke's finest hard routes and a "future classic".
The new Rockfax Pembroke guide is due to hit the shelves later this summer. Point Blank has just made the pages. You can view the Stennis Ford page here.
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