Sheffield-based GB Bouldering Team member Michaela Tracy has climbed her first 8A boulder problem at Odin Cave, near Castleton in the Peak District. The Dark Room is a powerful roof problem featuring a tricky sequence of undercuts and kneebars.
Michaela worked the problem over three sessions in wintery Peak District conditions alongside Michael Watson. She commented:
"The main motivation for trying The Dark Room came from Mike actually. It's a pretty obscure problem, in a cave out near Castleton. When we were trying it most of the Peak District was covered in snow, and walking into the cave felt like something out of Narnia - with all these crazy icicles hanging around the entrance. The problem itself is really cool, it's got a lot of moves that feel totally implausible at first, until you work out the right way of moving. I didn't really expect to do it when I did, it was only my third time on it and I felt terrible that day - I didn't even want to go out because I thought it would be a waste of time! But my first try that day I found myself in the post crux knee-bar, thinking oh my god, I'm going to do it."
Describing her emotions after climbing her first 8A, Michaela added: "It felt pretty intense, like a very concentrated, sharp form of happiness - such a contrast to how I'd been feeling the rest of the day. It was cool that both Mike and I did the problem at similar times as well, I don't know how many more times I could have persuaded him to drive out there!"
23 year-old Michaela also recently won the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Nationals event, in which she represented the University of Sheffield and helped her team to win the overall team trophy. She is looking to continue her excellent form on the international circuit, after achieving 6th place in the Bouldering World Championship in Munich last August and winning the 2014 British Bouldering Championships.
Watch a video of Michaela and Michael on the problem below:
Michaela is sponsored by: Scarpa and Climbskin