UKC

Strawberries E7 6b for Emma TwyfordNewsflash

© Alex Haslehurst

Yesterday Emma Twyford made a headpoint ascent of Strawberries (E7 6b) E7 6b at Craig Bwlch y Moch (Tremadog) in North Wales.

Emma is the first woman to climb this classic and physical route, despite attention from other women, including Hazel Findlay.

Having recently climbed Unjustified (8b+) 8b+/c at Malham Cove and making numerous hard trad ascents such as flashing Bucket Dynasty (E7 6b) at Dove Crag (Dovedale), Emma is on a current run of good form.

Climbing on Strawberries with North Wales regular Dave Evans, she told us: "I felt wasted after my lead. I then tried to second the route after Dave (Evans) had another go, and I could barely climb any of it! What a stunning line though!"

Emma headpointed the route, placing the gear during the ascent except for the first pieces and the last wire - which was wedged in-situ after a friend took a fall onto it. The wire then became "a write-off" after a protracted removal.

Originally climbed by Ron Fawcett in 1980, Strawberries is a sustained classic which remains a true testpiece and, despite its well protected nature, has seen only one onsight by a British climber in its 34 year history when earlier this year Steve McClure climbed it first go.

photo
Emma happy having just climbed Unjustified, 8b+/c, Malham
© Twyford coll.
 

 

Emma is sponsored by: DMM, Five Ten and Rab


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Emma is one of the very best climbers operating in the current British scene. She has flashed both E7 and F8a, headpointed E9 and is the first British woman to redpoint F9a.

Emma's Athlete Page 42 posts 5 videos



Well done Emma!
3 Oct, 2014
Firstly congrats to Emma, well done. Real question: is the grade of E7 6b correct? Reason I'm asking is this is a grade that is no longer cutting edge for men and is (let's say) at the bottom of cutting edge for women. And yet Strawberries has only been onsighted 3 times (I think) and a female ascent is considered newsworthy. I remember people saying it's hard to onsight because of the sequence etc, but surely all this means is that the grade (which is meant to be for the onsight) should be higher. Maybe it should be E8 6b.
Warning: zero direct knowledge speculation starts here Talking to people who've done the route it's a hard one to grade. It sounds like it's French 7c, with reasonable, but not perfect protection, which is a bit fiddly to place. If it were easy to read, and secure climbing, this would put in in tough E6 territory. Since it's a tough one to onsight it deserves the upgrade to E7. As you say, the difficulty of on sighting it would mean pure "onsight" E8 grade might be justified, but this just feels wrong based upon a gut 'how prepared would I be to try the route' feeling. What an amazing year Emma is having - it seems like she's put in top end and memorable performances in almost every climbing style this year. Maybe someone should give her some axes for the winter?
3 Oct, 2014
Can someone remind me what a headpoint ascent is? Thanks.
3 Oct, 2014
The trad version of a redpoint, it was originally coined for use on bold routes where you'd top-rope them to get them wired since you couldn't (daren't) take the falls that you would if you were working a sport route.
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