This news broke on the UKC forums some days ago - read the thread here: UKC Forums.
Ryan Pasquill has got the grit season off in style by bagging the first flash of Knockin' on Heaven's Door at Curbar.
After a two month trip to the Frankenjura where his attempts on Action Directe (F9a) were hampered by rain and 'not being able to get any weight on me feet,' Ryan was eager to get back on the gritstone slabs. And arriving at Curbar on Saturday, he was in no mood to ease back into it gently.
Ryan climbed the route with knowledge of the moves and gear from Neil Kershaw, who made a headpoint ascent of the route earlier in the day. A top-roped ascent of the route from similarly dimensioned friend Pete Hurley found that for someone of Ryan's stature a lunge would be easier than Neil's rockover sequence for the last hard move.
After an uneventful and assured ascent, Ryan said: "I was a lot more scared than on both End of the Affair and Gaia. I'd say it's definitely worth E8."
"Placing the pegs for the first time on lead wasn't ideal. I placed them slightly to the left of where they should have been. I didn't trust them at all."
The route is currently graded E9 6c for a solo ascent in the new Froggatt guide. In hindsight this does seem slightly daft when there is gear. And as Neil and Ryan demonstrated, it can all be placed on lead.
Neil said: "We started up Knockin', made a short traverse left to the bomber cams in a hole just beneath the lip (which Born Slippy climbs a variant start to reach, not really required), then came back along the traverse and finished as per usual, hand-placing a peg on the way (on lead).
"I believe Alex Honnold headpointed the route with the same cams below the lip although without the hand-placed pegs and reckoned E8 6c. Both myself and Ryan think that is about right. You could argue that should the hand-placed peg hold then it's more like E7 6c, but it's probably sensible to assume it will rip. The back-up plan of the Born Slippy gear would almost certainly prevent a groundfall with a decent belay.
"Ryan certainly wouldn't have tried to flash it without the good low gear, although the way to reach it isn't obvious. It was a fantastic effort by Ryan, especially given his recent grit experiences, i.e. none!"
The route was first climbed on the 2nd of March 1988 by Andy Pollit and graded E9. The pre-clipped 'hand-held' peg used on the first ascent was later discovered to have actually been placed with a 'hand-held' hammer. Ron Fawcett repeated the route in similar style and suggested E7 to be a more realistic grade. It was soloed by Ben Tetler in 1999.