Naomi Buys has recently had an excellent week where she headpointed 3 E7s. Within 7 days, Naomi led; Gathering Sun at Nesscliffe, Birdsong at Hawkcliffe and the FA of Overlooked at Newchurch Quarry.
Naomi's first E7 of the week was Gathering Sun, E7 6c at Nesscliffe, a sandstone crag near Shrewsbury. Having first tried it a couple of weeks prior to her ascent, and finding it difficult with a reachy crux at the top, Naomi struggled to imagine linking it all together on top-rope let alone leading it.
Upon returning two weeks later, Naomi felt confident enough to go for the lead, placing the gear as she climbed. On her first attempt she fell on the top crux move, but after watching Jordan Buys flash the route, she was inspired to have another go, smoothly topping out this time. Commenting on her guest blog post on Jordan's blog, Naomi wrote:
"As I topped out, I thought to myself “That was the most physically and mentally demanding trad route I have ever lead”!"
The next day, Naomi headed to Hawcliffe to try Birdsong, E7 6c, a route which has a stern reputation for shutting people down. After trying the route on top-rope throughout the day, Naomi managed to climb all the moves but couldn't link them together in one go. Deciding she needed to rest, Naomi headed back after a few days of rest, once again managing to climb the route on her second lead attempt, feeling that Birdsong had been her hardest trad lead to date. Naomi described her successful ascent:
"I clipped the pegs and then began the long, 17-move V7 sequence - now, this climb might be considerd “safe”, but I was not relishing the idea of the big fall that would have occurred if I had blown any of the final few moves of this section. It’s pretty run out! I was surprised and relieved to reach the one-tensed-bumcheek rest ledge, just the final terrifying V4/5 boulder problem arete to go. I very nearly messed this up, slapping wildly into an undercut, but recovered and enjoyed the juggy topout"
Naomi's final E7 of the week was a new route at Newchurch Quarry, Naomi named the route Overlooked and graded it E7 6b. Naomi first tried the line at the beginning of the week, due to persistant seepage preventing her from trying the route earlier. After working the moves on top-rope, Naomi headed back two days after climbing Birdsong ready to start attempting to lead it. This time, Naomi climbed the route on her first attempt, saying:
"It was like leading a very steep and pumpy F7c, except I wouldn’t have wanted to fall off it. Thankfully I didn’t, and as I topped out I was thinking “That was undoubtedly the most physically and mentally demanding trad route I have ever lead”!"
Overlooked takes the left-hand line of a steep wall in Newchurch Quarry, Naomi described how the route climbed:
"the start is a crimpy ramble up to a cruxy deadpoint move, followed by some steep crack laybacking and powerful dynamic moves to a niche. From here, wiggy footless arete climbing may lead to the sanctuary of a hanging block. A combination of confidence in my sequence, controlled breathing and trust in the speed of my belayer enabled me to pluck up the courage to go for it."
You can read more about Naomi's E7 week and follow her and Jordan's climbing on Jordan's blog: JordanBuysClimbing.tumblr.com