This week's Friday Night Video features Steve McClure making the second ascent of Neil Gresham's Olympiad (E10 6c/8b) at Shrinkle Haven, Pembroke. Opting to take a different approach to Neil, who climbed the route as an 8b deep water solo, Steve placed gear for a grade of E10 6c.
Yeah, I was a bit concerned by the big sideways pull on what looked like one crucial piece even through I knew the outcome.
He set off with two ropes and must have dropped one after the traverse in from the left and I guess he didn't want to set off with 3 ropes.
I'm sure Steve had assessed the placement carefully and was happy with it.
I’ve climbed a fair amount with Steve and his usual traits of initial self doubt and then ability to turn it on is well portrayed in this film. To do it after a day and a bit practicing in greasy conditions and leading it first go is amazing.
It’s easy to shrug off anything Steve does because of his amazing sport accomplishments ie 9b redpoint (after a long siege) compared to 8b which is 6 grades less. However, I think it’s an interesting exercise to bring it down to a mortal level by taking ones own hardest redpoint and subtracting 6 grades (which in my case would be 7a+). By applying that would I be up for doing similarly intimidating and runout 7a+ route after the same level of practice which hadn’t been done on gear before and then having the commitment to get it first go because of a “conditions window”? My personal answer is no.
Also great achievement for Neil doing it DWS style in the first place.
Interesting comments. I honestly didn't expect to get this one though at the time, it felt HARD! The '6 grades thing' is hard to predict though too as I think it is different as the grades go up. For example, when I try and 8a (8 grades down from total max) I have to REALLY try hard and can for sure fail onsight. For a 7b redpointer, I doubt they have to try that hard on a 6a. An 8b could also even stop me on redpoint, but for a 7b redpointer, I'm sure a 6b would never be a stopper.
Actually, I made a mess of that! The wire needed to be extended with a long sling (120cm). That would have been my plan. However, I was 100% sure before I set off that I was NOT going to do it. And this wasn't a case of reverse psychology or anything like that (which I may have used before). I'd been faffing on the route an hour before and could not even do the moves as it was damp. But I wanted to at least do the very bottom traverse in to see what it was like. I was aiming if possible to get to the big pod 1/3 of the way through the hard bit knowing I'd fall after that. Basically I didn't bother taking the sling. Luckily I took the wire! In the time I took to get ready and traverse and climb the conditions totally changed, and I found myself at the wire thinking; I either drop off without clipping the wire onto good gear in the pod below (scary), clip it and lower off (a single not so awesome wire), or press on without clipping it at all (actually the best option! Though a fall from the crux would be very close to the ground), or clip the wire and go, now knowing if the wire pulled out through drag or in a fall, I'd maybe hit the ground from the crux due to the extra rope in the system). Tough set of choices! Lesson!!! Always prepare for every outcome. In this case I expected to fail but succeeded (but will never know what would have happened if I fell). Still, it didn't sink in, as on Lexicon I expected to succeed and failed, and my gear had not been sorted the way it should be (again - this time just rushing it). I ended up ripping gear and on one badly loaded snap-gate!
Thanks for taking the time to reply. It sounds reasonable, the kink looks less than ideal. You were very brave to carry on! Lucky you have the guns to back it up! I’m often curious when I watch videos of trad climbs how gear is arranged and why. I thought as I watched this video what would happen on a hard run out trad route and you dropped the crucial gear, what would you do?! Anyway I really enjoyed watching the video and it’s got me psyched for spring and summer to hurry up and trad season can commence!
Sorry for all the trouble.
I met Steve along time ago at PyB during their Marmot Rocks meet there when I was doing a 1:1 outdoor top-roping course but even though we bumped into each other a few times at various climbing walls I never actually climbed with him.
I have read his book and reviewed it ion GoodReads.
SteMac is truly legendary and a really genuine guy.
At one time he suggested we should climb together.
I also wondered that.
I also noticed that Steve, whilst abseiling, has some part of his rig made out of sling knotted out of spectra. I'm sure it's not load bearing so probably not super important but I've heard for 25 years that you can't knot dynema securely - hence my surprise. I think it's just tat to pull the rope in closer but not sure.
> pre-placed gear near the top? does this count?
I asked Steve about that. They are in-situ threads from before - I’d guess put in by Neil. In situ threads are still fair game on trad and fairly common in Pembroke.
Unless I'm missing something that's not what I mean. It looks like a normal dynema sling that has been cut open and then tied in a tape knot. I've screen grabbed it. It looks like Steve is backed up on the main rope through his grigri, but clipped in directly to the dynema sling with the knot in it. Could be totally wrong though - but it just looks like a tape knot with two ends sticking out.
you may be right there, I'm not totally sure. But first of all I'm not 'backed up' by the rope and grigri, that's my main abseil rope and the thread is there to keep me into the rock as its so steep. I think that's why they are there - to keep in when on abseil. I have re-belayed on the thread to keep me in more. The threads there are super tiny, like 6mm holes that maybe a sling won't go through - I didn't place it. There are 2 up there from what I remember. When I went for the lead I was happy with the insitu gear.
depends on how you define '7b redpointer'..... is it ability to redpoint 7b in half an hour, or 7b in a bunch of days. Most think of it as what they can achieve after a bit of a project effort (like a few days or even more than a few). We had this unwritten rule where you had to do 3 of a grade (ideally different styles) to call yourself a 'redpointer' or 'onsighter' of that grade. One was not enough!