Mina Leslie-Wujastyk tells us about Mecca...
"I had always wanted to try Mecca because it was classic and the climbing looked amazing, what was I doing letting a number put me off?
Eventually I took the bull by the horns and had a go in May this year. My first session went really well and I managed to do all the moves, but only just."
A summer of rain, a long trip to the USA, and several bouldering competitions all meant that Mina didn't have that much time to try the route, but when she did return to Raven Tor, things were looking good. Mina commented on her blog:
"I decided to have at least one session, to re-assess how long it might take and to re-familiarise myself with the moves. The session went well. My climbing has improved a lot in the last six weeks or so and this really showed on Mecca. It felt like a different route and I found myself having a redpoint go that day."
A few sessions later saw Mina clipping the chains on this classic route. Mecca - The Mid Life Crisis was first climbed by Martin Atkinson back in 1988 and was the hardest route in Britain until Cry Freedom (originally graded 8b+, now considered 8c) was climbed by Mark Leach a few months later.
Mina's ascent of Mecca.. is the first of 8b+ by a woman on British soil, and makes Mina the second British woman to climb 8b+ after Lucy Creamer's ascent of Kalea Borroka in Spain back in 2009.
Lucy, who has been at the forefront of British women's climbing for some years, commented on Mina's ascent of Mecca:
"I feel it's a step forward for what's been achieved by women redpointing on British rock. With all the talent we have out there at the moment, I knew it wouldn't be long before a route like this was climbed. I'm sure this will open the door to a lot more climbs of this type and harder being climbed by women. There is such a depth now to British women's climbing and with many of them focusing on bouldering and getting so strong, it can only mean that this type of ascent will become the norm. Good effort to Mina, it's a true milestone for British women's climbing."
UKC has an exclusive video coming up of Mina climbing this route from Nick Brown of Outcrop films, but whilst that is being prepared, why not check out this clip from Stu Littlefair of Andy Harris dropping the last move of Mecca... - unlucky!