Sheffield Physicist and knee-bar connoisseur, Alex Barrows has just made the 4th ascent of Kaabah, an 8c+ extension to Mecca, the classic 8b+ of Raven Tor, Miller's Dale. First climbed by Steve McClure in 2004, Kaabah has seen repeats from Paul Smitton and Ryan Pasquill.
Having first tried the line last year after redpointing Mecca Extension, 8c, the loss of a hold crucial to Alex's sequence prevented a redpoint. However, heading back up the route this year with some beta from Ryan Pasquill, a new sequence came together and the route seemed a possibilty. Commenting on his blog on the hold loss Alex said:
"Fortunately before I was able to do it the hold was pulled off! I say fortunately because Kaabah was now restored to it's original, harder, better state."
The successful ascent came on an unexpected day in which conditions were good, but Alex was feeling tired due to training more than usual in the week, believing Kaabah would be wet as it had been during the week:
"I didn't want to be too excited, hugely psyched only to fail miserably. I could feel there was a risk of not enjoying this go, and I needed something in my head to remind me not to worry too much, to focus on enjoying the climbing and having fun trying hard... The whole way I wasn't expecting much, sometimes that's what you need."
Commenting on the difficulty of Kaabah, Alex said:
"It's basically a slightly harder version of Mecca, to a decent rest then a 13 move 7Cish boulder problem with some pretty small and sharp crimps... definitely the hardest thing I've done on a rope. It's easier than Pilgrimage though, which gives me confidence in saying my method for that must be 8c+ in route grades, something I was a little unsure about for a while."
Guy Van Greuning recorded the ascent on film:
Alex Barrows is sponsored by: Climblox and Scarpa
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