/ NEWS: The Return of the Gaskins .. and Mark Leach

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Michael Ryan 12 May 2008
The South Lakes strongman, John Gaskins, perhaps the most powerful climber in the UK is back climbing again after a lay off. John is author of the world's hardest short sport route, Violent New Breed 9a+ and the boulder problem, Walk Away Sit Start Font 8c/V15 at Fairy Steps, both unrepeated - not to mention his 2006 solo of a hard grit route at Thorn Crag given Font 8b. Consider that the neighbouring route, The Last Temptation is E6 and this route, called A Moment of Clarity is just as high, E10 or E11 anyone?

Gaskins gave up climbing for a while and some say it was due to being accused of lying by the German climber, Markus Bock after Gaskins made quick repeats of Bock's hardest problems, including Gossip, Font 8c in 2004.

Greg Chapman at www.lakesbloc.co.uk broke the news.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/
the real weeman 12 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Good to see theyve seen the light again, i wonder if there's any particular motivation for their return aside from simply missing the sport... projects?
Andy Farnell 12 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: This mysterious 8B grit route at Thorn, does anyone have a name or photo of it?

Andy F
Paz 13 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

That's amazing tf that actually got to him. Is this not just you embelishing the facts Mick? I thought we established at the time that Bock was just mistaken (if he admits it) or full of shit (if he doesn;t). Bock only observed Gaskins fail on a font 8b if his after 15 mins ish after JG'd already had a full day's bouldering in the Jura. But presumably MB did't know this, and was duly surprised when JG sent it the next day (in about an hour wasn't it?). This was crystal clear at the time, has MB really not apologised since? I hope Marcus and Simpson are happy with where their accusations have got them.
Richard Bradley 13 May 2008
In reply to andy farnell: 2nd mention in a week. Would be nice to know what it is. Sounds nails.
Andy Farnell 13 May 2008
In reply to andy farnell: Ok, so I should have read the article properly, the route is called 'A Moment of Clarity'. I tried google and the only reference is the UKC news!

Andy F
Mick Ward 13 May 2008
In reply to andy farnell:

> ...the only reference is the UKC news!

The modern equivalent of, "I read it in Mountain"??

Mick
Michael Ryan 13 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ward:

It is route number 7 at the Upper Crag.

http://www.lakesbloc.co.uk/sei/s/1284/thorn%20crag%20routes%20mk2.pdf

Described there as:

"7. Project (E?) - Surely one of the last great
problems on grit, this awesome 18m prow
contains some of the hardest and most
protection less climbing in the country. *** "

And now climbed - Font 8b R/X



Andy Farnell 13 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Has project 13 (E?) has an ascent yet? That upper break looks like it'll take lots of gear, but with some rather hard climbing to get there.

Andy F
Andy Farnell 13 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Why wasn't this given greater coverage in the climbing new when it's an obvious contender for the 'hardest route on grit'?. Maybe because of it's distance from the Sheffield mafia???

Andy F
Michael Ryan 13 May 2008
In reply to andy farnell:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com) Has project 13 (E?) has an ascent yet? That upper break looks like it'll take lots of gear, but with some rather hard climbing to get there.
>

Greg Chapman is the Thorn Crag expert. He may be able to answer your second question also, about publicity.

Andy Farnell 13 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: In some ways the reporting of this reminds me of the reporting of High Fidelity (Highball 8B) at Caley. Another contender for E11 as it's a long way up, although the fall is safe with pads.

Andy F
Paz 13 May 2008
In reply to andy farnell:

At the risk of coming up with a load of rubbish I shall implausibly and unjustifiably linearly project from only two examples and prove you wrong. highball 7a ish is E5 - tierdrop. highball 7b>= E6, 7c>= E7, 8a>= E8 (Rnegade Master? Samson?) 8b is therefore E9 or E10 max. Correct to plus or minus a font grade. Or something. But you know there's enough confused people who're convinced by the notion that E9 and E10 have to be death to make E11 look a bit big for an 8b. Trad grades go up disproportionately high for doing something sustained like Rhapsody, even more so if it's bold like it is, than they do for highballs, and rightly so IMHO.
Andy Farnell 13 May 2008
In reply to Paz: Bolt protected 8B = F8c+ (Hubble). Trad hard but safeish 8c+ = E11 (Rhapsody), so very highball 8B = ...?

Andy F
Paz 13 May 2008
In reply to andy farnell:

Both examples you quote have got stamina elements, which the trad system rates highly, so E9 or maybe 10.
galpinos 13 May 2008
In reply to Paz:
> (In reply to andy farnell)
>
> Both examples you quote have got stamina elements,

This problem is 18m (? Mentioned higher up the thread), Hubble is only (admittedly a very hard)10m, so this new "problem" might have more of a stamina element?
Andy Farnell 13 May 2008
In reply to Paz: BTW for High Fidelity, Moon thought it very close to 8B+, so is clearly hard, and if you've stood under it, high enough to require a fair bit of stamina. See http://www.moonclimbing.com/VideoDetail.aspx?ID=36
for details.

Andy F
Alasdair Fulton 13 May 2008
In reply to andy farnell: Trad grades for highballs are nonsense really though....surely a boulder grade, plus height/height of crux, plus any details of how dodgy the landing is are sufficient?

What trad grade would "the fly" get?
Alasdair Fulton 13 May 2008
In reply to Alasdair Fulton: Oh, just noticed it's 18m high......that adds a bit more complexity! Surely that's not survivable even with big mats and spotters?
Andy Farnell 13 May 2008
In reply to Alasdair Fulton: High Fidelity's not that high...

Oh, the Gaskin's thing, that's high, very high, surely a route?

Andy F
Richard Bradley 13 May 2008
In reply to andy farnell: Where is the crux and what is the climbing like above?
Lemony 13 May 2008
In reply to Richard Bradley: Surely even if the crux was getting off the ground and then it was "easy" at 18m high it would always be a route it would just have a boulder problem start.
Andy Farnell 13 May 2008
In reply to Richard Bradley: I have no idea where the crux is as there's so little info around about it.

Andy F
Richard Bradley 13 May 2008
In reply to Lemony: Yes but if the crux was getting of the ground followed by HVS climbing it would be less dangerous for JG than if the crux were high. Therefore a lower E number?
Paz 13 May 2008
In reply to galpinos:

Yes of course, it does indeed sound amazing, but I think I was responding to the claim that high fidelity might rate E11.

Of course, if you (or anyone else) kow of any 18m high boulders at Caley (hidden in the woods maybe) then I think I'm not the only one who might have a passing interest.
cleofis99 14 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.php?id=80633

Thats a picture of andi on the last temptation, you can clearly see the side of the arete which is meant to be the top part of the route. as for what its like, some of the guys who have been over there said hard........ very very hard.
Greg Chapman 14 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Just to clarify, I think it's a bit of an overstatement to entitle this news item "The Return of Gaskins" - very Daily Star. He's been doing some climbing and having a bit of fun training, I feel we're unlikely to ever see the return of the free talking Gaskins of yesteryear, even if he climbs 8c+ he probably won't tell anyone. Such a shame.

Also to stop any of the pointless and unqualified guesswork in terms of A Moment of Clarity the facts are pasted below in the form of a selection of extracts from emails I exchanged with John (mid 2007) regarding A Moment of Clarity.

Climb: A Moment of Clarity (Fb8a+/b/E?)
Crag: Thorn Crag
Date Climbed: February 2006

The prow right of Last Temptation (high boulder problem or route?). I climbed it as a boulder problem, after top rope practice. All the hard climbing is in the first few metres (and moves) leading to a high but "easy" finish. It may settle down in grade if/when it loses that initial, and typical Thorn Crag gritiness. Grade-wise I think/thought that it is about 8a+/b, I'm not really sure.

I climbed the arête on its’ left i.e. the Last Temptation side (so more above the flat-ish and higher ground rather than the jumble of blocks).
After working it over various days I rationalised that the only moves I would fall off were at a bouldering height and directly onto mats, in fact I practiced falling off these moves near the start while on a rope but with enough slack to hit the ground/mats to test whether it was more a boulder problem or a route. The day I did it I went up there primarily to work it but did it first go on a shunt, so felt that I had to give it go.

The top half of Moment is pretty reasonable and comfortably easier that Font 7a, from memory I'd have thought it was maybe UK 5c-ish. As with the bottom half I climbed the upper rib on its' left which enabled me to use the horizontal breaks in the wall between Moment and Last Temptation. I think a route grade is really difficult to attach to it, well it is for me but then I've never been that motivated by grades.


The reason I never reported the information originally was to avoid the likely insinuations and conjecture about his ascent and why he hadn't reported it for over a year, so please don't start. Incidentally I would take the comment about the top section being "easy" and "5c" with a pinch of salt...

A decent topo image - https://secure.mmm.co.uk/sei/s/1284/844.jpg

In reply to the query about the project 13 on the old routes topo: It's been done at E2-ish.
Chris F 14 May 2008
In reply to Greg Chapman: Good Knowledge Greg. Thanks
Michael Ryan 14 May 2008
In reply to Greg Chapman:

Thanks Greg.

Mick
Richard Bradley 14 May 2008
In reply to Greg Chapman: Cheers Greg. So E13 then?

Shame John took the bad comments from Bock to heart so much although as long as he is enjoying life.

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