18 year-old Ellis Butler-Barker has made the second ascent of Brian 8c+ at Anstey's Cove and is now potentially the youngest Brit to have climbed 8c+. First climbed by Ken Palmer in 2003, Brian starts up Poppy 8b+ and runs into the crux of Postman Pat 8b before finishing up Tuppence Ha'penny, 8b+.
The route has been a long-term project for Ellis, who has worked his way through the Anstey's Cove testpieces (including Chimera Extension (UKC News Report)) in preparation for making the step up to Brian - a route which he had been dreaming of climbing since first visiting the Cove in 2012.
Commenting in his blog, he said "I never thought that Brian would be possible for some reason. I think I was partly intimidated by it because it has been rumoured to have been tried by some of the UK’s best sport climbers without any success and having been unrepeated for so long I couldn’t imagine it being me getting that second ascent!"
Ellis first tried Brian in 2014 but felt the need for more specific strength training and made adjustments to his training and diet accordingly:
"I started trying to get into shape for this route; eating much better and more nutritional foods, waking up early before college to go for a run or stretching session and trying new training techniques."
After some more structured campus sessions, Ellis gained the strength required to complete the crux of Poppy, and felt more confident in his ability to redpoint the route in its entirety.
After taking a full rest day, Ellis finally clipped the chains of Brian on April 1st after roughly ten sessions - making him potentially the youngest Brit to climb 8c+. Malcolm Smith climbed Hubble 8c+ in 1992, also aged 18.
Ellis commented in his blog: "I’m so happy to do this route and it hasn’t been an easy process, it's by far the longest I’ve spent on a project and it required me to be a little more tactical with my climbing which is something I haven’t really done before."
Read Ellis' blog post here.