Rob Fielding has recently hit a run of good form and has ticked several hard and high-ball problems and routes in the North East as well as climbing Dawes Rides a Shovel Head (E8) on Raven Crag in Langdale in the Lake District.
Penrith-based Rob and his partner Sally have recently had another baby, and Rob has been juggling family life with work and climbing:
"It's not as easy to fit in climbing these days, but I just need to start wondering about one of big Dave's routes to get fired up. I always think that Andy Earl is a bit of an unsung hero, in terms of the number of five star new routes and highball problems he has put up over the years – so basically, there's plenty to go at up North!" said Rob.
Dawes Rides a Shovel Head (E8 6c) is one of big Dave Birkett's routes and tackles the smooth headwall on the biggest section of Raven Crag Langdale. The lower wall is just over vertical and passes twin pegs and a possible RP placement, before reaching a large horizontal roof, which it tackles directly via a long move for a wild and fitting finale.
"I thought the pegs were good, so I didn't bother with the RP, but then I did abseil down and get it sorted before I did it, so it's easy to be brave!" commented Rob.
As well as classic Lakes E8's, Rob has been busy over in Northumberland.
He also managed to squeeze in an ascent of Endless Flight Direct (E8 7a) at Great Wanney, which he thought might be possible for someone to climb ground up:
"It's immaculate climbing up a hugger prow and then an awkward, but well protected move to reach Endless Flight (E5) – it's all about the awesome initial prow, which would work quite well as a ground-up highball for Dan the man Varian (if he didn't fall off!). I've heard it mentioned at font 7C+ but I'm quite good at hugger prow style climbing, so I couldn't really comment on that, but definitely top top quality. I cleaned and worked it on a rope."
Rob has also been up to Ravensheugh and dispatched The Magician, a highball Font 8A first climbed by Andy Earl.
"It's quite highball up a superb arête with a bouldery start and then delicate and high moves up the arête. There is a moment when you could move away from the arête after the boulder problem start, but once you steel your will to following the line of the arête, it's stunning. Again I cleaned it and checked out the moves on a rope – I'd be quite surprised if it had been repeated ground up, following the arête all the way to the top, but I could be wrong; it would be difficult to commit to staying on the arête, if you were climbing ground up unless it had been cleaned first; so now is the time to get to it!"
RELATED VIDEO: Andy Earl making the first ascent of The Magician - Font 8A: