In this series of interviews, we whisk off some of Britain's best climbers to a lonely desert island (we might give them a belayer to take along, if they're lucky...) and asking them to regale us with tales of their eight favourite routes of all time, before singling one out to have as their "Desert Island Climb." Alongside their chosen route, our climbing castaways will be asked to select a book and a luxury item to take to the island.
Our fourth castaway is 19 year-old Wiz Fineron. Originally from Wales, Wiz moved to New Zealand in 2007 where he made the transition from a talented and enthusiastic youngster to a full-blown hardcore climber. Now loosely based in North Wales, highlights of his career to date include nabbing the first British ascent of the multipitch Silbergeier 8b+ in Switzerland, ascents of Mind Control and Pati Noso 8c+ in Spain and a tick of Riverbed 8B in Magic Wood.
Despite his young age, Wiz has certainly sampled some of the best and hardest routes out there all over the world. Here are his top 8 climbs so far...(there are a couple of easier ones too!)
"My book would be Jerry Moffatt's 'Revelations' and my luxury item would be my Crocs. So practical, comfortable and obviously very cool..."
The Groove Train 8c - Taipan Wall, Grampians, Australia
The most beautiful wall in the world, one of the best lines in the world and amazing climbing on perfect rock. What is there not to like. A route that I have dreamed about climbing ever since I first visited this wall back in late 2012 and to finally go back this year and do it was a dream come true. In terms of hard sport climbing, I believe it's going to be hard to find anything better!
Silbergeier 8b+ - Ratikon, Switzerland
A route I knew very little about when the idea first came about but is now still one of my proudest climbing achievements to date. Another outstanding line on perfect rock in an amazing setting. It was my first route of this style, a great challenge and an unforgettable learning experience.
Somalia 8c FA – Arapiles, Australia
A route that really opened my eyes to what I was capable of in sport climbing. It was my first route of the grade (having only just done my first 8b+ a few weeks earlier) and my first ‘First Ascent’. It was the first route that I really experienced what ‘redpointing’ was all about, going through all the stages like falling off after the crux moves, self-doubt and dealing with time pressure, to finally getting it done on my last attempt of the last day of my trip. Another unforgettable experience. With its reputation as the hardest route in the area and having only seen one repeat by Alex Megos since, this route stands pretty high on my list of climbing achievements.
Arete des Cosmiques AD - Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix, France
Yes - to all you Alpine climbers out there, this route is a doddle and I'm sure most of you could do it in your sleep but for a simple sport climber like myself, this was an amazing experience. Having never worn crampons before until we stepped off the chair lift onto the ridge the morning before (I most definitely did not get caught on my own trouser leg and fall over within the first 5 steps) and having never used an ice axe before, this was a completely new and challenging experience to say the least. With a full taste of the fast changing alpine weather going from too warm for jackets to a complete white-out and gale-force winds within just a few minutes I experienced it all. Thank god I had the most trustworthy ginger ninja mountain guide holding my ropes at the other end...
Shosholoza F8a/+ - Rocklands, South Africa
It’s the perfect boulder. The only line on the bloc with just enough holds at just the right distance apart to create some of the most enjoyable hard moves I've done. They are the type of moves that everyone tries to create when bouldering indoors. When I first did this problem there was no hesitation when asked to do it again for the camera 5 minutes later!
Serpentine 8a - Taipan Wall, Grampians, Australia
Another world-class route that takes a perfect line right to the pinnacle of Taipan wall. This was my first ‘flash’ of the grade and I can’t think of a better route for it. I'll never forget the feeling (and the pump) as I quested my way into the unknown up the heart of the most awe-inspiring cliff in the world, and to finally top out on such an amazing route. Only to quickly find out that there are no anchors and the only thing left to do was jump.
Wizard of Ice 20/6b+ - Mount Arapiles, Australia
Known to be the world's hardest grade 20/6b with many stories of hardcore climbers being spat out of it, I thought it was about time I experienced what this climb was all about myself. Still buzzing from my 8c FA a few hours earlier I thought this would be a great way to round off my trip. A bit of adventure is always good right? I soon regretted this as I repeatedly slid out of this offwidth style crack and found myself hanging there absolutely beaten and flabbergasted. How can anyone climb this thing? All this was made even more frustrating once I finally arrived at the top and began belaying my partner, who raced up it in a matter of minutes making what I guess a grade 20 trad climb should look like. Damn.
I have avoided this style of climbing ever since and this remains my longest standing project to date. Still undone.
Punks In The Gym 8b+ - Arapiles, Australia
Another world-famous route of the highest quality. With a load of history behind it, it was a great feeling to top this one out within only a handful of tries and to claim this route as my first of the grade. This was the first route where I realised how much specific training can benefit your climbing and help you achieve your goals. With a bit of time and effort, anything is possible.
Wiz's Verdict: "Out of all these amazing routes I think it is safe to say that Groove Train would definitely be the route that I would take with me to my desert island. It just has it all, quality, beauty, length, difficulty - physically and mentally, and is just a pure joy to rock climb. If all I had to do on a desert island was to climb this route, I think it would take quite a while for me to get bored! Amazing."
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