As reported yesterday, James McHaffie and Ryan Pasquill onsighted John Dunne's The Great Escape E8 (6b, 6c, 6b) at Cioch na-h-oighe on Arran at the weekend. Since its first ascent in 2001, the route had previously just two known repeats - by Scottish climbers Dave MacLeod and Iain Small. This latest onsight is made even more significant with the possibility that it is likely the hardest traditional onsight in Scotland to date.
Great-looking route, amazing onsights, and interesting interviews.
However, it does slightly feel like there's an elephant in the room by not addressing some of the original questions about the FA. Even if any doubts have since quelled (I've know idea if they have), it feels like an important part of the route's history to mention. I'd certainly be interested to know more, as someone who didn't climb much back in 2001 - half my lifetime ago!
Very good news that on sighting is still alive at least by a few climbers such as McHaffie and Pasquill Makes all the difference to an ascent that is not practiced to death and fully chalked up like an indoor climbing wall.Hope the trend continues into the future and brings some of the "stars" back down to earth.
Yes but the sentiment was rather negative though. The way to inspire the future generations is by showing and describing the rich experience of onsighting rather than talking down the other styles people choose to climb in.
> Its just that onsighting on the higher grades has almost been sent to the history books.
Nonsense. For many reasons:
1) If you only onsight or even trad climb all the time you don't stay strong/fit enough to onsight the routes you're on about. Both Caff and Ryan are 9a climbers, that's what allows them to operate at the very top level in trad. That level of sport climbing takes huge training and commitment. You don't get that fitness climbing trad, but when those at that level "have a break" from sport climbing these are the results you get.
2) There's a good number of people out on-sighting/flashing/ground up on E5+ on a regular basis. The Top ascents page ( http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/topascents.html ) only lists those that are logged. Many of the people doing such routes don't log stuff on here.
3) Onsighting at that E8+ level is mentally demanding, for most routes, it's confidently on-sighting >8a on trad (see point 1) and not the sort of thing you can do daily
4) The routes available to on-sight/flash/ground up at E7+ are limited and are specific to a climber, and might require specific conditions etc.
5) People are ultimately in it to have fun, not kill themselves (hence why stuff like Indian Face still hasn't had a flash)
There's quite a few attempts happening here and there, but for E8+ try Jordan on Chicama (he'd on-sighted 2 or 3 E7s that week already + loads of E5/6s), Pearson on Something's Burning and Muy Caliente, McClure on loads of stuff, Dawes Rides a Shovelhead, Strawberries etc. List goes on....
If John Dunne went back and did it a second time with Dave Simmonite nearby for photos, then it must be pretty clear that John did it? I think some people called john Dunne a liar because they didn't think anyone not from Sheffield could do hard stuff :p
That's interesting. I didn't interpret John Dunne saying he'd been back with David Simmonite taking photos as him saying he'd climbed the route in one go again (as many mag pictures are staged, understandably), but you might well be right. If so, it's doubly impressive.
The controversy from back then could all be cleared up by now - I don't know, and it doesn't mention it here. For that reason, it's the type of detail I'd personally have liked to be included in what was otherwise a good and interesting article.
John was a master of courting publicity by encouraging controversy over whether or not he'd actually done the routes he claimed. This is but one of many examples. Without doubt he was physically capable of climbing them. I think it's a shame he chose to cloud many of them in a veil of intentional doubt but it's his choice and if as a result there are many people who remain doubtful it's hardly unexpected. The positive side of it is that he's cleaned and left quite a lot of great lines for others as a result.
I thought from hazy memory that the initial 'controversy' was over style: I thought there was some gnashing of teeth and wailing into 80 shilling over the fact that pre-inspection and cleaning had been used as opposed to a more 'traditional' ground up approach favoured by the Scottish purists. After that it was inevitable that 'doubts' about the ascent were expressed in some quarters.
Cubby's article linked above does have a 'give the rock a chance' plea regarding pre-practice, but certainly the question of whether Dunne actually climbed the line has much more potential for controversy.
I think that's right, if i remember correctly some local climbers said they would have done the route themselves but had decided against top rope practice and had left it for the 'next generation' to onsight.
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