Franco Cookson and Divine Moments of Truth H10 7a Update

© Franco Cookson

We recently reported that a new E10 7a - or H10 as used by Franco to indicate a headpoint ascent - named Divine Moments Of Truth​ had been established by Franco Cookson at Kay Nest, North Yorkshire. We got in touch with him to find out more information about the route.

Franco climbing Divine Moments of Truth H10 7a  © Jake Hampshire
Franco climbing Divine Moments of Truth H10 7a
© Jake Hampshire

Having previously been bolted and remaining an aid line, Franco was keen to free the climb:

"Judging by the snaking nature of the line, it seemed to be searching for the blankest and steepest way up the wall and presumably made for a long pitch by Moorland standards.

"The challenge for me was to take this aid line and turn it into a free one. It's the closest thing to a last great problem really and as such I was keen to have a bash."

In 2011 Franco inspected the line by abseil for the first time and estimated it at around E8 7a using the bolts. Leaving the project aside to focus on bolder routes, Franco returned at the end of last year with the idea of removing the bolts:

"My hopes of producing a mind-bendingly difficult route were quashed when I found some alright gear low down, but it remains a formidable challenge and still fairly dangerous."

Regarding Kay Nest and making the first ascent, Franco told UKC that he had a few people to thank:

"Martin Parker for some useful info on which farmer to ask about parking on his land (reducing the 1 hour walk-in to 25 mins). Olli Crudge and Jake Hampshire for answering the call of the Moors, when around 30 other people told me to go away (or words to that effect). Luke Hunt, Dave Warburton and Matthew Ferrier really helped with the physical and mental planning of this line and have worked to make Kay Nest a class venue."

Divine Moments Of Truth
Franco Cookson, May 2015
© Jake Hampshire

He added:

"I love Kay Nest. It's an absolutely beautiful place. Springs spring from the crag, trickling through falling oak trees and mounded moss boulders. There's some fantastic easy, clean bouldering too. The wall's a raw roar. It's really fabulously blank at the top and has perhaps the perfect example of a Moors micro-hold. I like every move on it."

Commenting on the grade, Franco told UKC:

"There was one E7 on the Moors when we started climbing and only a few E6s. The E6s & 7s we did tie into them. The H8s are a bit harder than them (and have been confirmed by top-ropers from other areas e.g. Mr. Birkett). The H9s are harder again than that. This is harder again. I'm not quite sure how dangerous this route is. The skyhook could hold, the low wires might hold and keep you off the deck. I don't even know how hard the crux is. A few people have tried it, but nobody managed to find a way through it. Luke reckoned it might be Font 7c/8a. It won't stay the hardest route in the Moors for long anyway I wouldn't have thought."

Summing up the lead in his blog, Franco wrote:

"I balanced interminably on the edge of losing my cool with the calm aura around me telling me to stay in. It will take a while to fully interpret the crux experience, but it was positive and I felt like I learnt a lot."

For more information read Franco's blog.

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I'm a 26 year-old climber from Yorkshire in the North of England. I got into climbing the old fashioned way and am now learning the potential of modern training.  My formative years were spent trying to establish...

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2 Jun, 2015
I don't know why but I really hate this H grade shit...
Is that why you voted it a Bag of... for the star rating?
2 Jun, 2015
No its e10 in the logbook I can deal with that :)
2 Jun, 2015
Makes sense to me - it must be hard enough to decide that one route that you've headpointed is definitively harder to headpoint than another, without then having to guess which would be hardest to onsight once you take into account tricky sequences, non-obvious gear, levels of commitment and so on. So why not stick to the one that you can actually take a reasonable stab at? Route looks nails anyway.
2 Jun, 2015
E grades are, notionally at least, and indication of how hard the route is to on-sight. By headpointing you take various factors - gear placement, gear choice, route reading - out of the equation. On some routes they might be more important than others, but it's all hypothetical unless you actually try an on-sight. It seems to me that Franco is being quite honest and grading on his experience, rather than how hard the route might be if climbed in a different style. Of course we will all equate H10 with E10, but it doesn't have to follow. And despite his critics, I like the fact he isn't saying "I've climbed E10".
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