FRI NIGHT VID: James Pearson - Grit Project - HXS 7a

James Pearson on first ascent of The Return of the Jedi (HXS 7a) Matlock Bank Quarry, 118 kb
James Pearson on first ascent of The Return of the Jedi (HXS 7a) Matlock Bank Quarry
© David Simmonite
At the end of last year James Pearson made a fleeting visit back to his native Peak District to climb an old gritstone project. The line - a sharp arete in Matlock Bank Quarry is now called Return of the Jedi and features F8a+ climbing with poor protection and a bad landing.

Commenting about the difficulty on his blog, James said:

"HXS 7a explains as much, or as little as you need to know. In other money it is perhaps F8a+ to toprope and would be a fierce little offering with a couple of bolts – from the floor to the ledge it is slap slap slap, no time to stop and chalk! With enough pads and big balls you could possibly consider the bottom section a highball boulder, but the top of the route is pretty far from the floor and still has a tricky move. I chose to take a rope and place some (bad) gear..."

James has recently had a personal best in sport climbing too - with an ascent of the F8c+ route called Love 2.1 at the granite venue of the Zillertal in Austria.

James described the route for UKC:

"2.1 is the logical extension to 2.0, which makes a 90deg turn to finish up the line of weakness after the 20m of 8c.  2.1 continues directly up the wall, via a final 7c boulder, to a delicate slopey exit at the very top of the cliff.  The thing that made this really interesting for me, was how much easier Love 2.0 now felt than when I made my ascent last year.  A multi day and multi try siege, became a first try effort climbed in (relative) control.  Its nice to see how effective a structured training program can be, and puts me in good spirits for my return to England next month to try my project..."

James also flashed 2 F8b's on a recent trip to Croatia, his favourite was a route called Avatar:

"I was particularly pleased with my flash of Avatar, an amazing route at the steep cascade of Pandora.  Long and steep, no sneaky no-hands rests, and the crux at the very, very top.  If the pump finds you, there is no escape, and with an original grade of 8b/+, it was certainly a fight to remember." he told UKC.

Good luck with the project in the UK James... wherever it is!

VIDEO: James Pearson climbing Return of the Jedi - HXS 7a

You can keep up to date with James on his new website:

James Pearson is sponsored by Wild Country, Five Ten, The North Face, Adidas Eyewear


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