17 year-old Alex Waterhouse from Plymouth has made possibly the youngest-ever ascent of the seven metre highball Careless Torque 8A/V11 at Stanage Plantation.
Alex initially tried the problem in the first week of December, and had reasonable success, sticking the crux multiple times but still had managed neither the first move nor the top one.
He commented: "I went home and got some new beta from videos of Mina-Leslie Wujastyk and Cailean Harker on it and knew I could do it, so planned to come up after Christmas. The snow was pretty bad on Friday night so we weren't sure whether to go, but took the plunge and set off. We managed to secure a 4x4 and so made it to the crag pretty easily in the end, but we would have had no chance in our van!"
After spending half an hour drying out the snow-filled top jugs, Alex warmed up and got to it: "I couldn't actually do the first move for ages, but once I'd managed the knack of it I was getting it almost every time. I soon got past the crux again and was standing up on the easier upper section, which compared to the crux is much easier but also a lot higher. The problem is about 7m high and on my first go of the day past the crux I dropped the very last move, and as a result took a pretty hefty fall onto my arse."
With some intensive spotting, Alex tentatively tried again, eventually deciding not to go for it. Afterwards he realised that "if [he] didn't fall off, then it wouldn't hurt!" and tried again using different beta, this time with success.
The route was climbed without prior toproping and Alex took about ten falls past the crux over the two sessions.
Watch a video of Alex on Careless Torque below:
Alex is sponsored by: High Sports