Samson E9 7b now a highball boulder problem?

© Chris Craggs/Rockfax
Samson, the 1997 Jerry Moffat route at Burbage, originally given a grade of E9 7b has been soloed by John Welford. The route was originally protected with large cams in the adjacent off-width, Goliath. Welford, 42, of Sheffield practiced the route on a top rope then soloed the route with a large mat at the base and two big gun spotters in the form of Neil Bentley and Jon Barton. Welford thought the route to be Font 8a as a highball boulder problem or E7 7a as a route.

Rockfax guidebooks created a controversy in 2001 by putting the route in the Peak Gritstone East guidebook at E6 7a. You can see the details here at the Rockfax route database. This was based on information received from Stuart Littlefair and Tom Briggs who had both tried unsuccessfully to repeat the route. Perhaps with a runner in Goliath (which was supposedly not used by Moffatt on the first ascent) the grade of E6 7a wasn't so far out after all.

Full report with a photo at

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18 Apr, 2006
Jerry won't be best pleased!
18 Apr, 2006
More debate on the Peak Grit East grade controversy here - Alan
18 Apr, 2006
I did wonder when I saw the chalk last monday... Totally cool that Welford soloed it... that was what I was thinking when I was trying it a bit. As much because of the grimness of taking a short, swinging fall if you had a cam in Goliath (I doubt you'd fall off the moves after the crux if you could do the deadpoint). It's still a very sloping landing though, so it's a ballsy solo at Font 8a. It also explains why I couldn't do the move ;-)
18 Apr, 2006
Soloed above several mats, that is, I think that's inherent in his treating it as (very high looking) highball.
18 Apr, 2006
42 ?? shit I'll have to find another excuse !
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