Northern Ireland Trad Action

Ricky Bell on his new route - Freshly Baked (E7 6b), 160 kb
Ricky Bell on his new route - Freshly Baked (E7 6b)
© Craig Hiller
The Trad season has has started with a bang in Northern Ireland. Ricky Bell has climbed his first new route of the spring in glorious sunshine. Freshly Baked (E7 6b) tackles the steep wall left of Infidels on the East Face of Lower Cove and was climbed after cleaning.

Commenting after the ascent Ricky said: "It was a perfect day. Sunny and with no wind and we were the only people in the Mournes. Saw a couple of birds of prey too which was nice. Freshly Baked is a really cool line with quite contrasting climbing on it. The bottom half is really safe and quite sustained and the top is pretty bold but the climbing is quite handy - big reaches between big flat holds at the top of the wall."

The following day saw a return to slightly more inclement weather, stopping Ricky from attempting one of his many other projects, but allowing him to nab the second ascent of Easy Lover (E7 6c).

Describing the conditions, Ricky said: "Craigy and I arrived at Cove on Friday after the hour walk in. Conditions were very different form the day before. Misty and cold... ...It was wet. Nightmare!"

Easy Lover was dry enough for an attempt, and after finding a crucial cam placement and working the moves, Ricky was ready for the lead.

Ricky Bell runout on his new route - Freshly Baked (E7 6b), 153 kb
Ricky Bell runout on his new route - Freshly Baked (E7 6b)
© Craig Hiller
"I had a wee rest for about half an hour and had a coffee, then tied in and lead the route. The route climbed so well – it was a perfect little head-point experience. Matching the pocket was quite hard as I put my middle two fingers in it instead of my front two. The rest of the route climbed really nice. Long moves on side-pulls and crimps on the steep wall on perfect rock above that good cam."

The route was originally graded E7/8, but with the discovery of a new cam runner, not used on the first ascent, Ricky said:

"So nice and such a good route and good find by Andy. I think placing the cam made the route E7. It's a really good line."

Ricky has several other projects lined up for this season, from the do-able to the impossible and, like all of us, has his fingers crossed for a dry summer.

"I'm psyched for the next spell of good weather!"

More info on the Scarpa Blog

Ricky Bell is sponsored by Marmot, Scarpa and Zero-G Climbing

Thanks go to Craig Hiller for the photographs and Martin Panton for help with this report. 

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