John Dunne Describes New Ilkley Super-Route

© Mick Ryan -
John Dunne was at Ilkley today and he witnessed Ryan Pasquill climb the wall to the left of The New Statesman. Here's what he has to say:

"The front face of the Cow has long been considered the last great, unclimbed line on gritstone. The wall has attracted the attention from some of the World's top climbers for over 20 years.

I first tried the line in 1987 after making the first ascent of the New Statesman and have attempted the moves on many occasions over a 21 year period but was unable to succeed on the route. The wall has been tried many times by climbers including Steve McClure, James Pearson, Steve Dunning and Jerry Moffatt to name but a few. My dedication to the route and the pedigree of the other climbers who have tried it demonstrates the quality and extreme difficulty of the route. Both Moffatt and Dunning thought it would never be climbed, making Ryan's achievement even more impressive.

 At the start of the route a long dyno is followed by a move to very small edge, after this a huge rock-over takes you over to a small crimp. This is followed by a long move to a good hold and finally easier climbing takes you to the top.

After splitting his finger last week high on the route Ryan returned today to finish off the job. Ryan made the climbing look effortless and in typical Pascal fashion shrugged it off as no big deal. Having climbed for almost 30 years this stands out as the most impressive piece of climbing I've seen.

In the current climate of big numbers and sponsorship chasing, it's really refreshing to see Ryan out there just doing the business, totally in it for the love of climbing. There was a bunch of climbers out there today doing their stuff but one took it a whole lot further. The experience felt raw and uncut.

With an 8c+ under his belt and now the first ascent of this World class line the sky's the limit for Ryan.

As for the grade I think this is purely academic, but one thing's for sure this is the hardest route on grit by a long way.

Great effort Ryan!"

John Dunne

John Dunne runs the Manchester Climbing Centre (MCC). There's lots going on at the MCC at the moment, including a Chris Sharma lecture and the BMC Leading Ladder. You can find out more in this UKC Premier Post.

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10 Jan, 2009
An excellent report. It really puts things into perspective about how great an achievement this is. What with Elder Statesman, The Groove and now this having been climbed, there aren't that many 'Last Great Problems' now left, but I don't think that will stop the likes of Ryan from finding new and ever greater challenges. A superb start to 2009.
10 Jan, 2009
Hate to repeat myself but WOW, what an stunning piece of climbing, it must have been amazing to watch, great effort.
10 Jan, 2009
Where have I heard that 'this is the hardest line on grit' before!
10 Jan, 2009
JP couldn't do it anyway..
10 Jan, 2009
Fantastic. Hope he doesn't grade it. The more consensus (over time) the better.
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