UKC

New 8c Cheddar Testpiece by Ellis Butler-Barker

© Ellis Butler-Barker

18 year-old Ellis Butler-Barker recently made the first ascent of an old project at Cheddar Gorge North, which he has named Fallingwater and believes to be around 8c in difficulty.

Ellis first tried the route a couple of weeks ago after speaking to Ally Smith, who bolted the line many years ago and was happy for him to try it. The route had since been known as 'Fred's project,' as it was originally strong local climber Fred Mead's locked project before he moved away from the area.

Ellis happy after completing Fallingwater 8c  © Ellis Butler-Barker
Ellis happy after completing Fallingwater 8c
© Ellis Butler-Barker

Ellis named the climb Fallingwater after Frank Lloyd Wright's historical building which overhangs a waterfall. He told UKC: 

"The route reminded me of this as it's very steep and after rain the route often has running water below. Also the cave used to house a few people..."

Regarding the quality of the line, he added:

"Unfortunately the quality of the route doesn't quite correlate to the quality of the Fallingwater structure, however it's definitely worth getting on and I personally think it's a worthwhile test at Cheddar! As for the grade, it felt similar to Welcome to Tijuana in Rodellar and a bit harder than The Death Star, which is also at Cheddar. The style is basically just brutally bouldery, hard slaps between crimps and small pinches, some really cool moves but the holds can be a little sharp!"

Since Ellis climbed Brian 8c+ (UKC News Report) at the beginning of April he has switched focus to training for an upcoming trip to Rodellar and is trying to limit days spent outdoors:

"I've seen huge benefits from this structured approach to training and when I have days out on the rock the gains have been evident."

Over the past month, Ellis has also managed to do 14 boulders between V9 and V12/13 (including his first V11 flash), 11 boulders between V9-V12 in one day and his first couple of 8a onsights in Britain. 

There's just no stopping him, it would seem...


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I grew up with a background in sport, competing in gymnastics and then rugby from an early age. I got into climbing when I was around 14 or 15. Straight away I knew that I was in love with the sport, I bought some shoes...

Ellis's Athlete Page 16 posts 1 video


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19 May, 2015
I am the 'Fred' that bolted this line with Ally Smith. The line has been a project for 9 years and is franky... really bloody hard... Ellis did it in two sessions. TWO sessions. The kid is unreal.
19 May, 2015
19 May, 2015
Ha! That thing... yes. Death by choss.
19 May, 2015
Did you look at anything else on that wall?
19 May, 2015
At Vallis? Not really to be honest. Soon after Ghost Riders I moved to sport as a main focus... Why? Are you developing it?
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