Increasingly known for her strong bouldering (up to Font 7c) and sport climbing (F8a) CV, Katherine Schirrmacher has transferred these skills into a rare female headpoint of a gritstone E7.
On 18 April, Katherine climbed Balance It Is (E7 6c) at Burbage South, after top rope practice and leader falls onto the crucial RP. The route follows a steep and rounded arête and involves a sustained sequence of tenuous laybacking, with poor smears for the feet. Katherine had her fair share of 'Headpoint nerves' and took two falls before success. She described the experience as "stressful", especially as she was being filmed [See Hot Aches Productions Blog] at the time, though she was motivated by the quality of the climbing and because it required more than just finger strength.
Ascents of gritstone E7s are still a rarity amongst women climbers, with other notable leads being Airlie Anderson's groundbreaking climb of Master's Edge in 1994, American, Lisa Rands' ascents of E7s and E8s End of the Affair, Gaia, Shine On and White Lines, and Lucinda Hughes' headpoint of Kaluza Klein. Katherine meanwhile, has her sights set on a the Cullin Ridge at the end of May and more traditional climbing in the UK this summer, as well as working towards her Mountaineering Instructor Award and continuing her climbing coaching.
Dave Brown and team of Hot Aches were there for Katherine's ascent which will feature in their new climbing film, Committed. They have an account and pictures of Katherine on Balance It Is at their blog hotaches.blogspot.com