Impact Day E8/9 Climbed Twice Today by George Ullrich

© George Ullrich collection
On Valentine's Day we reported that 19 year old George Ullrich of Kendal made a Valentine's Day ascent of Dave Birkett's Dawes Rides a Shovel Head E8 6c on Raven Crag, Langdale.

George told that day that he planned to go and take a look at another Dave Birkett route, Impact Day E8/9 6c on Pavey Ark, this weekend (16th/17th Feb). See photo of Pavey Ark on Sunday 17th here.

Just over four hours ago George just did that, but he led Impact Day not just once. After his first successful ascent he went back up for another ascent without pausing for a breath according to his belayer, Chris Stirling, so that George's friend, filmmaker Dave Gill could get video footage from a different angle. Chris also said that George made the route look like an E4 and had only minimally practiced the route on a shunt. We shall verify these details after we have talked to George and report back (he was unavailble just before I wrote this report).

Tom Dixon who phoned through this news - from the Ambleside, Cumbria to Saratoga Springs, NY where I'm based for 3 weeks - said that after watching George this past year, he is convinced that George will be at the vanguard of a new trad climbing renaissance by young climbers in the UK.

Last October Dave MacLeod, intent on repeating all Dave Birkett's hard trad routes in the Lakes, made the third ascent of Impact Day proposing a grade of E8 6c. This climb nearly had on a onsight flash by Ben Bransby who fell from the finishing moves.

UPDATE WITH PHOTOS: Later I spoke to George and he said that he practiced the route late on Saturday afternoon managing a clean top rope once. On the walk up to the route on Sunday, as mentioned on the forum thread associated with this news report, a sheep did take a tumble landing near George and others, one chap being very lucky, the sheep exploded on impact, with blood and guts everywhere. George thought he may have found a new sequence for the crux dispensing with a knee bar and using a small sidepull out right. The bottom half of the route is the bold crux protected by an alien, a peg and a skyhook, if you fall from a 6b move and the skyhook rips you are on the floor. The sanctuary of a break is reached, see photos here and here and more gear before the crux, where a fall would be long but not deadly. George said it was the best route he had ever done. And yes he did do the route again for the camera saying, "on the second ascent I was not intending to climb the route clean and did have a rest at half height."

And what next?

"In the next few months before I go to the States I hope to try many more of Dave Birkett's routes and want to have a look at John Dunne's route Breathless on Great Gable."

George Ullrich is sponsored by Evolv Rock Shoes, Prana and Metolius

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17 Feb, 2008
I saw him practicing it when we were doing Astra yesterday. We backed off though to give him some space and to get to the warm side. It was freezing on the eastern buttress. Proper good effort and what an amazing achievement in febuary. I'll buy him a pint if i see him again (if he's not in training).
17 Feb, 2008
Wow, he must've enjoyed the route to want to go back and do it again! Amazing effort.
17 Feb, 2008
It was Frezzing and he obviously wasn't put off by the sheep incident (exploded after tumbling down Pavey). I imagine it is quite common in the lakes but it was rather sobering!
17 Feb, 2008
"Last October Dave MacLeod, intent on repeating all Dave Birkett's hard trad routes in the Lakes, made the probable second ascent of Impact Day proposing a grade of E8 6c." Some bloke called Dunne has this entry in his climbing CV on his website... "Age 31 : 1999 : In April visited California and Nevada climbing at Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Bishop Red Rocks and Zion. Made the 2nd ascent of Impact Day, E8 6c on Pavey Ark, Langdale.Spent August and September attempting new line on Great Gable." ;-)
18 Feb, 2008
Cheers Peter, updated. And talked with George earlier, so will update again.
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