Katy Whittaker has climbed Mecca - The Mid-life Crisis 8b+ at Raven Tor (Miller's Dale) - achieving her second 8b+ redpoint and becoming only the second woman to climb this route after Mina Leslie-Wujastyk's ascent in 2012 (UKC News Report).
Having ticked China Crisis 8b+ at Oliana in March this year (UKC News Report), Katy currently appears to be focussing her attention on hard sport ascents, despite her strong background in trad climbing with ascents up to E8.
Katy spent the spring months trying Mecca when she arrived back from Oliana, almost completing the route but not having the time or correct conditions. She returned at the end of August and spent roughly seven weeks working the moves.
Commenting on her choice of the route, Katy claims that she wanted a local project to get stuck into: "Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and Ryan Pasquill persuaded me to try it. Mina and I both had projects at the Tor and she had done Mecca already. It was fun to try it with her there, she gave me endless encouragement and beta!"
Being a power-endurance route by nature, Katy says Mecca wasn't really her style, but that she wanted to work her weaknesses: "It was really hard work! In the beginning I could only link 2/3 moves then I would be totally powered out."
After having spent session after session falling off the crux, Katy built up her fitness by making links, eventually overcoming the crux and being able to push on to the top.
She added: "I am going to Canada with work on Saturday, then Spain on holiday after that, so I had a time limit on Mecca - I am so relieved I got it done just in time!"
How did it compare with China Crisis? "I can't even begin to compare it. China Crisis was a 35m endurance test and Mecca is a 12m strength and power endurance route. I also spent the winter training hard for China Crisis as I only had three weeks to complete it, whereas for Mecca I didn't train specifically for it, I just trained on it."
What's next for Katy? "A nice grit season hopefully!"
Neil Mawson reported the ascent on Twitter:
Mecca was first climbed by Martin Atkinson in 1988 and was the hardest route in Britain unti Cry Freedom (originally graded 8b+, now considered 8c) was climbed by Mark Leach a few months later.
Watch a video of Mina Leslie Wujastyk climbing Mecca here.