The notoriously tricky Impact Day (E8 6c) E8 6c at Pavey Ark has seen a flurry of interest recently with three ascents in just over a week, by Charlie Woodburn, James McHaffie and Emma Twyford. First climbed by Dave Birkett and initially given E9, the route involves sustained climbing with a heartbreaker crux at the top of the climb.
Charlie first tried the route back in 2012 when at Pavey Ark with Neil Mawson and Hazel Findlay. He told UKC:
"I'd gone to have a pottery day doing some easy classics, but Hazel was psyched for Impact Day and Neil and I thought we'd give her a bit of team support by trying it with her. Neil did the route pretty easily and I fell off the last move. I was surprised at how good the gear was and so was keen to go back at some point to close the account."
Returning last week, Charlie arrived to find the climb seeping, with crucial holds in the middle section dripping wet. Determined to give it a go, Charlie used various articles of clothing in an attempt to dry the route:
"I spent a while attempting to dry off the holds with my wooly hat and t-shirt but the water was running down pretty persistently and I decided to wait a few hours to see if it dried off a bit. By about 6pm it was marginally drier, I jugged up one last time to dry the holds again but I was running out of clothes to use and so to spare the other crag users the spectacle of me being semi-naked, I thought I'd better just get on with it."
Commenting on his ascent, Charlie told us:
"In the end it went really smoothly and as is often the case, it felt easier on the sharp end than on toprope. It's a bit bold at the bottom although the climbing isn't too hard there, just a bit reachy. The climbing is around 8a, the pegs look in pretty good state and the gear at the break is totally bomber so it's a pretty mellow E8.
"I'm not really sure that it's particularly newsworthy headpointing a route like this in this day and age as its had several ascents, been ground upped and was nearly onsighted over a decade ago. But it's a very good route and it's great to do it for that reason and also nice to close the account having been on it a while ago."
James McHaffie and Emma Twyford headed up to Pavey together this weekend to give the route a go and made fast repeats after top-roping it a couple of times. James told UKC:
"I had belayed Dave Birkett on his first attempt in 1999 and had a play on it then - otherwise we'd have tried from the ground. Ben Bransby made an incredible onsight effort in 1999 when it was graded E9, dropping the final move with a hand on the top!
"It has a reachy start and finish which gets trickier the shorter you are. Emma had to do tough moves on both these sections.
It's E7 6b to a break at 3/4 height where it steepens. A few easy moves lead to the crux. In a getting out of the elevator position on backhand you have to smear your feet and karate kick a foot out right. The finish is also 6b."
Emma is on top form at the moment following a redpoint of Melancholie (8b) 8b at Lower Pen Trwyn (UKC News Report) and lots of trad mileage up to E8, including a fast ground-up ascent of Ring my Bell (E7 6b) E7 6b at Craig Cwm Glas Bach.
Emma told UKC:
"Caff and I both top roped the route twice and then Caff cruised it. I held back a little and rechecked the start due to being at full stretch on the bold start and having it in my head that Hazel had decked out there. I felt like the top was more in control for me and I'd be disappointed if I didn't give it a go. I got a little scared on the start and probably over gripped the entire way even though it gets safer but harder. I was all out chicken winging at the top as I didn't want to climb the start again!"
Regarding Emma's headpoint, James added: "Emma lead it easily and fast!"