The headline might look vaguely familiar, as 17 year-old Billy Ridal has climbed Careless Torque (f8A) 8A/V11 at Stanage in four sessions just one week after Alex Waterhouse made the youngest-ever ascent. Billy is two weeks younger than Alex, and climbed the route just one week after him - resulting in Billy nabbing the youngest ascent with just one week between them!
Billy, from Nottingham, had been trying the problem with Alex after first attempting it one month ago. With poor conditions and wet problems, the prominent and exposed arete of Careless Torque was one of few that dried off sufficiently, allowing the pair to work the moves. Billy completed most of the bottom crux and was pleasantly surprised by his progress after this fortuitous encounter with the classic problem.
"The seed was sown in my mind and so for the next few weeks I was obsessing over it. I think I'm responsible for at least half the views on the video of Mina climbing it!"
Billy returned with Alex a few weeks later:
"Alex messaged me saying that he was coming up to try and finish it off. Both psyched out of our mind we fought our way through the snow to try it. Immediately Alex was making good progress whereas I hadn't quite found the right body position to stand up on the arete. Soon after Alex sent it I split my tip, abruptly ending my session. Alex's send only got me more motivated to get it done and so for the next few days I sat agitated at home unable to focus on anything else."
Finally the following Friday Billy's skin was just about healed enough to climb:
"Conditions looked fantastic, however what I thought was a bit of a breeze turned out to be a gale, friction was fantastic but climbing with numb hands and toes is challenging at the best of times. I made some small progress but essentially just made a mess of my finger skin again."
Undeterred, Billy returned on the Sunday with much better weather and new beta. Having reached a highpoint and taken a fall, Billy's nerves calmed:
"After a false start I sketched my way back up onto the arete with my feet slipping all over the place. More confident this time I decided to try other beta, I felt much more confident and I got a bit lucky with my foot blindly landing on the pebble first time. The sequence went smoothly and I found myself on the top.
What an amazing feeling to stand on top of such a classic line. I have looked up at it for years but never really thought that I would try it let alone do it. A complete dream come true. The only problem is I don't really know what to get on next, it doesn't really get any better than that does it?"
On the topic of the youngest ascent, Billy commented: "I feel quite guilty really but I think that I have beaten Alex by about a week. He is a about two weeks older than me and I did it a week after him."
Watch a video of Billy on Careless Torque below: