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Young Brits Sport Climbing In France 8b and More

© Peter Wuensche

Several of the young GB team members are just back from a sport climbing trip to France, where they visited the crags around the Gorges du Loup area close to Nice.

Buster Martin on Super Mekanik (8a)  © Peter Wuensche
Buster Martin on Super Mekanik (8a)
© Peter Wuensche

Alex Waterhouse on Walou la Voie (8a+)  © Peter Wuensche
Alex Waterhouse on Walou la Voie (8a+)
© Peter Wuensche
Ellis Butler Barker described the trip:

"Loup is a very scenic gorge with beautiful hills and not far from the French Riviera of Nice. The most iconic crag is Deverse which currently has 6 9a's and many high 8's, it is a huge overhanging wall which has been developed by many strong locals. Mesa Verde is a vertical and slightly overhanging crag mainly on small edges and tufa's. The wall is right next to a river and has a wide range of grades.

The original plan was to spend most of our trip at Deverse but when we arrived it was clear that there was no way that this was going to happen as it was dripping wet across the entire length of the wall and only 5 routes were dry. We had to start looking for dry crags to climb on and we found Mesa Verde."

When they did find dry rock, the team made the most of it. Ellis Butler-Barker climbed New Power Generation (8b), Super Mekanik (8a), and flashed Situation Explosive (F8a).

Ellis comented:

"My first 8a was just over 5 weeks ago and my previous hardest send was F7b. The end of the trip marked two years since I started climbing, so I managed to do F8b, flash F8a, boulder Font 8a and onsight Font 7b+."

Fellow young Brit Buster Martin did New Power Generation (8b), L'Ogre (8b/8a+ - hold break possibly bringing the grade down), Walou La Voie (8a+), New 8a+ (8a+), Super Mekanik (8a), Situation Explosive (8a) and Petit Poucet Extension (8a).

Alex Waterhouse did L'Ogre (8b/8a+ - hold break possibly bringing the grade down), Walou La Voie (8a+), flashed Arrowhead (8a) and Super Mekanik (8a).

Ellis Butler Barker on New Power Generation (8b)  © Peter Wuensche
Ellis Butler Barker on New Power Generation (8b)
© Peter Wuensche
Jonny White and Will Smith also did New Power. Will also did L'Ogre and Orgasmatron (he said F8a+ for both of them).

When asked for more info on the routes, Ellis Butler-Barker told UKC:

"New Power Generation (8b at Deverse) is a very short but very powerful route on okay pockets with the odd pinch and undercut.

L'Ogre (8a+ at Mesa Verde) is an extension to Petit Poucet (F7c+) which carries on through the bouldery roof above.

Situation Explosive (8a at Mesa Verde) is another short and desperate line which has a technical slab/vertical start which then leads to a very hard moves off of awful holds to an okay sloper. Then a few more hards moves out of the overhang to an easier finish which has a potential heartbreak move just below the lower off.

Arrowhead (8a at Mesa Verde) is a long route on small holds; a very tough route to flash."

Well done guys - gret efforts!


Ellis is sponsored by Mammut , Dartrock Climbing Centre , Liquid Grip and Infinity Pro .

Buster is Sponsored by Lyon Outdoors, La Sportiva, Petzl, Beal and Liquid Grip.

Alex is sponsored by The Barn Climbing Centre and Tiny Climb.

Ellis blog: ellisbutlerbarker.wordpress.com
Buster's blog: Bustermartinclimbing.blogspot.co.uk
Alex's blog: Alexwaterhouse.blogspot.co.uk


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I grew up with a background in sport, competing in gymnastics and then rugby from an early age. I got into climbing when I was around 14 or 15. Straight away I knew that I was in love with the sport, I bought some shoes...

Ellis's Athlete Page 16 posts 1 video

Buster Martin is only the second Brit to tick a confirmed 9a+, with his ascent of First Ley in November 2019. In 2018, he redpointed Rainshadow 9a not long after taking a 4-year break from climbing.

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19 Apr, 2013
You've got all the blog links linking to Ellis's blog Ellis blog: <a href="http://www.ellisbutlerbarker.wordpress.com">ellisbutlerbarker.wordpress.com</a><br /> Buster's blog: <a href="http://www.ellisbutlerbarker.wordpress.com">Bustermartinclimbing.blogspot.co.uk</a><br /> Alex's blog: <a href="http://www.ellisbutlerbarker.wordpress.com">Alexwaterhouse.blogspot.co.uk</a></p>
19 Apr, 2013
"My first 8a was just over 5 weeks ago and my previous hardest send was F7b. The end of the trip marked two years since I started climbing, so I managed to do F8b, flash F8a, boulder Font 8a and onsight Font 7b+." Sh*t the bed! Nice one guys!
19 Apr, 2013
That picture appears to have been rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise. Please tidy up your photo presentation.
19 Apr, 2013
How old are these guys, the article only says young, when you're my age that could mean anyone up to 35 :-) The report missed out the most impressive climbing feat from the trio; from Ellis' blog:Training wise I have been very successful; 1-5-9 on small rungs is feeling easier each session I don't know many who can do 1-5-9 , never mind consistently
19 Apr, 2013
Ages: Alex 15 Buster 16 Ellis 16
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