Tom Livingstone and Tony Stone have climbed The Longhope Route (E7 6c) on St. John's Head, Hoy, established by Ed Drummond & Oliver Hill in July 1970. Tom and Tony have made the second free ascent of all 23 pitches, after Dave Turnbull and John Arran in 1997. It shares much of the Long Hope Direct E10 6c, first climbed by Dave MacLeod and Andy Turner in 2011 and repeated by James McHaffie and Ben Bransby in May 2013.
Tom and Tony were initially hoping to go to the Alps, but poor weather forced them to turn to 'bigger' objectives in the UK. Tom has sent in a short report of their ascent below.
A free ascent is when each pitch is led free but usually different climbers lead different pitches. The way I read it Tom and Tony made the 2nd free ascent, regardless of who led any particular pitches, and congratulations to them both too!
In reply to UKC News: Cheers Rob - your article was very helpful! Mucklehouse wall is cool but it's a shame the rock isn't like Australia... but then I guess, it would be in Australia!
Lone Rider - yeah, that's preferable and a good idea, but the best weather and least midges is typically May/June.
Jonny Taylor - good spot!
Adam - Cheers, and yeah the full free onsight ascent awaits. Now that would be impressive! Caff's such a sandbagger, it's at least E5 6b
John - Thanks, and good effort to you and Dave for freeing the route and putting up a few things on the island. What a place!
Supersonic - I didn't free the crux pitch. Tony and I tried it, and I thought I would certainly be able to do it with a bit more practice, but Tony was psyched for the lead and we didn't have all day etc etc., so he led it and then we continued swinging leads. I guess I'm not perfectly happy with our ascent because it took two days and wasn't onsight or ground up, but hey, sometimes you've got to settle for losing and going back for a rematch. It was a good adventure.
Well done. I am really happy that John and Dave’s FFA has been repeated after nearly 20 years. Great that you guys had the courage and enthusiasm to launch out. You never know how it will turn out. Easier or harder, epic or a cruise, another adventure. And you got to the top which is what it is all about.
That nut at the start of P18 was from the ‘70s, both I and Dave T worked on it for a while. It was the main crux of the pitch for Dave not to be able to use it. Nice to hear the hair is returning to the traverse on P17 to help concentrate the mind.
I hope someone takes the original line from the top of the Vile Crack out left along the Forever Traverse into the centre of the wall before tackling the Unconquerable Flakes into Hospital Corner home to the insatiable, twirling, bi-emitting fulmar to get a real flavour for the place, sort of ‘in your face’. Not as direct, but more central on the Wall and classic, and probably pretty easy nowadays.
I noticed that Alex Mason and George Ullrich had repeated the Limbo Traverse, P3 my topo, to my surprise, ‘like a sand crab’, see Alex’s blog, http://alexmasonclimbing.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/the-long-blog-post-part-ii.... . I had assumed that the other guys had taken a higher traverse line. It must have been quite scary considering the sandy nature of the overhanging sand dunes. Perhaps not really surprising how impossible changes to easy over the years. Even so one could go with an unpleasant whoosh, there. Their picture tackling the Unconquerable Flakes seems to me to be way above the real ones which are well below the Main Overhang and are more ‘heevy’ than balancy, and solid.