Team GB Member, Ed Hamer, has recently had an excellent run of form on the rock, flashing The Traverse of the Gods, 8b+, at Craig y Longridge in Lancashire, last year, and then flashing Kalea Borroka, 8b+, in Siurana this year.
On the 7th December, 2013, Ed headed to Craig y Longridge and managed to flash the 100m long traverse of the entire crag, named The Traverse of the Gods, and graded 8b+, a feat only managed once before, by Steve McClure in 2011.
Then Ed headed out to Siurana, Catalunya, for the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, culminating in a very impressive flash of the classic 8b+ at El Pati, Kalea Borroka, a super-steep and very long endurance route. Commenting on his Twitter account, Ed said:
"What a crazy trip to Spain! Main goal for the trip went down so I couldn't be more happy! A flash of the famous Kalea Borroka, 8b+, on El Pati"
Gaz Parry caught up with Ed to ask him a few questions about his flash of Kalea Borroka and what his future plans are:
Gaz: Woah, 8b+ flash! What did that feel like?
Ed: To tell you the truth it felt fantastic. Everything went smoothly and I just kept climbing. On the first half of the route I didn't really take it seriously as I thought '8b+ flash would be ridiculous (for me anyway)'. But, as I gradually got higher, and eventually punched through the crux I started to get really worried, as I knew that all the harder climbing was complete, but there still seemed to be a few small crimps up ahead before the chains.
I tried to get as much back as possible and in the end it was enough... just!! Clipping the chains was a very surreal moment and I will never forget it! I have recently joined the Scarpa and Edelweiss UK team which has worked out really well so far and I'm really looking forward to working with them into the future.
Gaz: Could you do harder... 8c? Maybe Fabelita?
Ed: For me to have any chance to flash an 8c, I would have to become much stronger and fitter which I hope is possible. It is always such a fine line when flashing and onsighting as everything has to become exactly right in that moment.....There are a few routes which could be on the cards to have a good flash burn on, but who knows? We will see!
Gaz: Sport or Grit?
Ed: I Love trad climbing on the gritstone as much as I do sport climbing abroad or in the UK. Living in the heart of the Peak District is totally awesome and I am in no hurry to move on!
Gaz: Did you do any special preparation for the trip?
Ed: I have spent many sessions indoors rolling around the circuit board at The Climbing Works, as well as a few specific fingerboard exercises at home in the lead up to the Siurana trip. For a long while now I haven't even touched a fingerboard but decided a few months back to start using one again which I think has helped loads. I have never gone on a diet as I think that's a waste of time and it doesn't seem to work for me. I tried to cut out sugar in my tea a few weeks back and that lasted about 2 days!
Here is a photo of Hazel Findlay climbing Kalea Borroka back in February 2013:
Gaz: You had another trip to spain last month, how was that?
Ed: That was another interesting trip. The start was dreadful, I was falling off 7b’s and was just feeling totally out of breath. After then lowering the grade ever more, I started working up again and eventually hit the 8’s and from then onwards it went very well. It was only a 6 days trip but I was for sure happy with how I climbed on the second half... This gave me a real boost in confidence...
Gaz: So, Canada on Thursday, whats the plan, when are you back?
Ed: I will be heading out to Canada this Thursday to train with some of their team members for around 5 weeks. I am hoping to try and gain a little more strength and fitness during my time out there.
You can follow Ed's climbing on his blog: Steepstuff.blogspot.com