Chicama E9 6c Ground-Up for Jordan Buys

© Naomi Buys

Jordan Buys has made the first ground-up ascent of Tim Emmett's Chicama​ E9 6c at Trearddur Bay​.

Jordan Buys on his ground-up ascent of Chicama  © Naomi Buys
Jordan Buys on his ground-up ascent of Chicama
© Naomi Buys

Having spent a week in North Wales getting back into trad climbing, Jordan and John Roberts returned to Trearddur Bay one week later alongside Sam Hamer and Mike Hutton. Jordan told UKC:

"On Friday Sam concentrated on cleaning Chicama; John and I focussed on the E7, “The Treacherous Underfoot”. John had been trying it, I nipped in for a quick flash go on his gear. I took a fall from a smeggy crumbly section, lowered down, pulled the ropes and jumped straight back on in a race against the vigorous tide. I topped out just in time for Sam to flee the shrinking belay ledge and jelly fish riding the massive waves."

The low tide was even later in the day on Saturday, so the team waited for the conditions to improve. Jordan described his first attempt as follows:

"Suddenly the planets aligned – the sun shone on most of the holds, the tide was on its way in but only just. I got the numbers from Sam, what gear goes where, which were the hardest bits, etc. John pulled the short straw and strapped himself to the ledge. The holds were still pretty greasy, some were actually wet, but I pushed on and fiddled all the gear in the right places."

Sam Hamer working Chicama
© Naomi Buys

He went on:

"The route is VERY steep, the holds are decent-ish, but not helped by the angle. I kept my cool, kept breathing and was soon looking at the last hard sequence of moves to the final cluster of pegs. Sam had told me to “go again” with my right hand but I felt like I could pull through on the first hold – mistake! It was a move too far. Next news I was flying through the air, suddenly remembering that I was on a trad route above the ocean...After some enormous airtime, the little cam I had placed 10 moves below thankfully held."

With only a 20 minute window before a belay ledge would no longer exist, Jordan attempted to recover as quickly as possible for another go and checked the weather conditions for the following day, just in case:

"With no time to spare, I was tying back in to the sharp end. The holds felt a little drier and I didn’t ignore Sam’s beta. I topped out to whoops of relief from John, who quickly scuttled up the ab rope in the nick of time."

Summing up the route, Jordan told UKC:

"Abseiling off to retrieve my gear confirmed just how steep this line is. It felt about 8a just to strip it! Great route, amazing position and suitably epic sending conditions."

Jordan stripping Chicama  © Naomi Buys
Jordan stripping Chicama
© Naomi Buys

Watch a video of Jordan's rather large fall from his first attempt below. Video by Mike Hutton (


How many E9's have been ground-upped in the UK? John Roberts started a thread in the forums with the routes and ascensionists that we know of. Are there any more to add?


Jordan is sponsored by: Boreal, Boulder UK, Deuter, Edelweiss, Monkey Fist and Wild Country.

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4 Aug, 2015
Does this really count as ground up? I've always thought of ground up as going for it onsight but not quite managing so doing it on a subsequent attempt. This is more like a failed flash.
4 Aug, 2015
Having it large. Go big or go home is what the cool kids say!!
4 Aug, 2015
Come again? • 1st go - gear placed on lead, beta from Sam, chalk on holds though still damp in bottom half, got to last move of crux -> fell off = failed flash • 2nd go - ropes pulled, the gear placed on first go still in place -> topped out = ground up ascent Yeah you could strip the gear (mainly quickdraws on pegs and a couple of cams) but it's a total epic stripping that crag requiring a proper team effort to go up and down on those routes. The tide was coming in rapidly, which would have covered the belay ledge and submerged the first pieces of gear within 20 mins, as well as soaking the bottom of route (it only dries if there's direct sunlight and a light wind after high tide), so we just pulled the rope, abbed back in and he climbed it still pumped before I drowned on the belay. I'd say that was ground up, on an E9, after a failed flash (that came ever so close) and a damn fine effort.
4 Aug, 2015
My question wasn't anything to do with whether you strip the gear or not. It was regarding whether something counts as ground up if you are given beta. As I say I've always thought of a ground up ascent as something you might salvage after a failed onsight attempt. In my mind a ground up is often better than a flash.
4 Aug, 2015
How is a ground up better than a flash? Jordan had some beta from Sam, but it might have been the wrong beta for Jordan as not everyone climbs the same way. Ground up, flash, its still a stunning ascent of a great looking line. Andy F
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