20 year-old visiting German climber Sebastian Halenke has made short work of Transformer 8c at Malham Cove, climbing it on his second attempt and onsighting the classic 8a Raindogs - a route notoriously difficult to onsight with perhaps only a handful of onsight ascents.
Sebastian may be relatively unknown to those outside of the competition circuit, in which he has won multiple World and European Youth titles. He is currently on a short visit to the UK to sample our sport climbing.
Transformer is a rarely-climbed 8c put up by Malcolm Smith in 2000 as an extension to the popular 7a Rose Coronary.
Regarding Raindogs, Sebastian told UKC:
"Raindogs is a rather short route with a lot of open movements on side-pulls, which suits my climbing style pretty well. It felt pretty good from the start, but around the third quickdraw I chose the wrong sequence and had to do a very uncontrolled move standing on bad footholds."
Due to the lack of holds near the top of the route, it is customary to grab the chain in order to clip it and claim an ascent. Sebastian continued:
"Luckily I managed to stick the move without slipping and managed to get to the top chain. In the end I didn't get too pumped but I think it might be not the most grateful route in that grade for an on-sight!"
The 12m long route first climbed in 1986 by Dave Kenyon gets the following description in the Rockfax Northern Limestone guidebook: "One of the UK's most popular 8a routes. Sustained climbing with a draining move to the belay. You only get the full tick if you grab the belay without a quick-draw in place!"
Chris Sharma, Adam Ondra and now Sebastian: we only know about these three onsights, have there been more?
Sebastian complimented the climbing at Malham: "The routes are awesome and they are in fact even great training routes, which is not easy to find on rock!"
Stay tuned for more info and photos from Sebastian's stay in the UK...
Sebastian is sponsored by: Kailas, Mantle Climbing and Scarpa