Jules Littlefair has climbed Predator, a long 8b at Malham. The route, first climbed by John Dunne in 1987, tackles the left-hand side of the main lower wall. She joins a select band of UK females who have climbed this route including Emma Twyford (UKC news report) and Jenny Woodward (UKC News report).
I asked her a few questions about her ascent:
It was 2 grades harder than anything you had done before, what made you choose it?
I chose it because I wanted a challenge, and the line really appealed to me. I had seen people on Predator a lot over the years and everyone told me it was amazing so I had always wanted to do it.
How long were you working the route?
I first got on it in spring 2010 just to see what I was up against, but I didn't start working it properly until May this year. I've been working it on and off since then.
Was there any section that gave you more trouble than the others?
There was a move at the end of the crux that threw me off a lot, but that was partly a mental thing. I kept getting up there fresh, but would fall off anyway. I did a lot of mental training as well as physical in order to get the route done, including working out how to get through this move.
The very first move off the ground gave me some trouble at first too because I cannot reach between the holds so I had to learn to jump. So it was a bit of a move that most people don't have to do.
Predator is a long stamina pitch, did you do any specific training designed for this route?
I train with a coach out in Barcelona and he sends me weekly training plans. We worked on strength, power endurance and stamina for this route as I was lacking in all areas to begin with. I think Predator requires quite a lot of power endurance because the crux is 15 moves long.
How did the successful ascent go?
The funny thing is that I cannot remember it much of it! I can remember setting off and the starting holds were beginning to seep and felt really wet. The next thing I properly remember is being in the rest after the crux just before the top. I can remember shaking out, and then pulling over the final bulge to the chain. I think I was in the zone and it's all a complete blank. Luckily though there were several people at the crag who will vouch for my ascent!
How did you feel afterwards?
Really, really happy! And tired too!
I am going to chill out for a bit, and then we'll see. I'd like to try and do a few more quick ticks, and then maybe get another project in the spring-time. We are off to Spain at Christmas so I am focusing on staying fit for that at the moment.
Jules Littlefair is sponsored by Rab and Podsacs