The steep sandstone route was first climbed by Andy Earl back in October of 2003 and is graded E9 7b.
Photographer and climber Mark Savage commented on his blog:
"It was fantastic to witness Dan's ground-up ascent. Not only was it a bit of climbing history, but he gave it everything he had. Completely inspiring. He is one of the strongest boulderers in the country, and I can pretty much say without any doubt that he is the king of highballing. I've never seen anyone so unconcerned with falling off hard moves high above poor landings."
Dan commented on Twitter:
"Managed to achieve a dream and ground upped Dark Side today, bit of a special crimbo pressy to myself."
Ground-Up ascents of E9s are, well, pretty rare. We can think of Parthian Shot at Burbage, which was climbed ground-up by visiting American Kevin Jorgeson, and also James Pearson's second try ascent of Muy Caliente! in Pembroke (E9/10) but not any others. Anyone know?
We hope to have more info from Dan soon. You can check out the Beastmaker Blog here, and although Dan hasn't posted his thoughts on The Dark Side at this point, he may well soon.
Thanks go to Mark Savage for the photos.
Dan Varian likes hanging off Beastmakers in the hope it'll make him stronger.
Dan is supported by Big Stone the UK Distributor for Five Ten , Arc'teryx , Edelweiss and Smart wool