The route, a relatively recent addition from Dave Pickford, has seen a few repeats and an onsight ascent from James Pearson earlier in the year. Steve's effort differs from James' in that Steve had no prior knowledge of From a Distance, an E6/7 that forms the first half of Point Blank. James P had onsighted From a Distance prior to his ascent of Point Blank.
Steve then took a trip to the Lake District on a photo shoot for Keith Sharples' climbing calendar, where he visited Raven Crag Langdale and onsighted Dawes Rides a Shovel Head (E8 6c - some people have suggested a down grade to E7) and flashed the probable second ascent of the very difficult Eulogy Direct (E8 6c). Both of these routes were first climbed by Cumbrian legend Dave Birkett.
Steve, talking to UKC, said:
"The day in the Lake District was all about getting photos for Keith's calendar. But I had always wanted to do Dawes Rides a Shovel Head, I've been going to Raven Crag Langdale since I was five years old and I remember climbing Trilogy when I was about 18 and looking rightwards at the steep face and seeing it as the main challenge of the crag. I found Eulogy Direct much harder than Dawes Rides a Shovel Head."
Steve went on to say:
"The route in Pembroke was probably the biggest deal for me though."
Keith Sharples was on hand to capture the Lake District action on his camera and has written a report on his blog, an extract of which is below:
"Long story short; Steve warmed up on Trilogy, then effortlessly on-sighted Dawes Rides the Shovel Head without his boot laces even done up! I captured both dangling from the top lip of Trilogy. Job done, I thought, my rope provided an easy ab off – or so I thought. Not so; Steve wanted more and after abbing down Eulogy Direct he tried in once more and only flashed it. Heck, crag ticked in half a day and pics in the can – result!
Day Two started in typical Lakes fashion – poring with rain. Still, we were literally just a stone's throw from the wettest place in England, the bottom of Borrowdale. Following a warm-up on Falcon's we hiked up to Bowderstone. Steve had onsighted Hell's Wall yonks back so Inferno E7 6c was his target. I've never seen him jump for a hold before but he did and he got the wrong bit of the jug and was spat off the on-sight. To say he wasn't happy was an underestimate! The first go red-point, followed by an immediate retro-flash of Hell's Wall – for training – left Mark and myself dreaming!"
Thanks go to Keith Sharples for his help with this report.