Dave Birkett has again proven himself to be one of the leading lights in British traditional climbing. Last week he was rescuing sheep in Langdale, this week he's onsighting sandy, scary E8 arêtes.
Birkett, known mainly for his desperate Lakeland head-points is actually a superb all round performer, with several other hard trad onsights and various desperate sport redpoints to his name. He is the author of several super-slate routes in the Lake District, such as Caveman F8b+ (possibly F8c - unrepeated) in Cathedral Quarry as well as the more well known death-routes such as the infamous If 6 Was 9 that went for many years without a repeat until Dave Macleod dispatched it last year. Birkett's ascent of My Piano at Nesscliffe was captured on video and will feature on the new film by Posing Productions: Onsight (Trailer Here).
Nesscliffe is one of Britain's unsung climbing gems:
"A stunning undervalued crag that has some of the very best lines anywhere in the UK. Just walk into the main quarry, look up at the soaring arête and corner climbs then take a sharp intake of breath. It is very easy to set up top ropes and work routes before the head-point, I just can't understand why this place has not had more press as it is certainly one of Britain's climbing treasures."
Lee Proctor, UKC database comments - 13/05/2005
My Piano slices up the huge, bold, square-cut arête, making Archangel at Stanage look like a boulder problem. It features a hard start and sandy, technical climbing in a very run-out position. According to Al Lee who filmed Birkett extensively for his film-profile 'Set in Stone', Birkett is in amazing shape;
"He's really fit at the moment - in really good shape. Even fitter than when I filmed him on all the Lake District routes. Really impressive."
We wish Dave the best of luck with his new house-build project and hope that he'll still get time to knock off the odd cutting edge route!