Ed Booth and Angus Kille both made an ascent of Leo Houlding's Rare Lichen E9 6c on 28th September. Rare Lichen is a tricky arete described in the UKC logbooks as consisting of "technical insecure climbing in a position where a fall would have awful consequences."
Nick Dixon made the second ascent before a long-awaited third repeat was made by Calum Muskett in 2011 (UKC News Report). The climbing is agreed to be around 7c to top-rope, but is a bold lead, with protection mainly being provided by small RPs.
Ed told UKC:
"Rare Lichen is a route that I've always been interested in. I'm inspired by the history of hard trad climbs in North Wales and the climbers who have done them. I first tried Rare Lichen and Gribin Wall Climb with Calum in 2012 and came away impressed with both, but knowing they were way out of my league."
This summer Ed returned to check both routes out again on a shunt and came away thinking that Rare Lichen seemed doable, but due to it climbing two sides of the arête, it meant he couldn't try much of it very easily, particularly the bold bottom half.
Ed went back last Saturday with Angus and tried it on a top rope, both managing to do it in a oner. They returned on Monday and both managed to make a clean lead placing all gear on lead.
"I'm really made up to have climbed the route. It feels good to have climbed a route established and repeated by some of my climbing heroes. I guess I never really knew if I'd get to a standard where I could do stuff like this so it's nice to see some progress."
"I also think Angus deserves special mention for climbing it in a waterproof jacket and with numb fingers, which must add a few E grades in itself."
Angus told UKC:
"Just like Ed the list of earlier ascents got me psyched for the route as they're all by people who particularly inspire me. Nick Dixon is a bit of a hero, being a friend of ours, and I have a bit of a habit of trying to repeat stuff he's done. I remember about 18 months ago seeing the UKC article of Nathan Lee and Oli Grounsell doing it and it got me really psyched, I thought in a few years I might just pull it off. So when Ed mentioned going up there for a play on top-rope I just ditched what plans I had for the weekend and joined him on it."
Ed was psyched again on Monday and the pair went over 'just to check it out' (but bringing ropes and gear with them) - a way of tricking themselves into the lead without the nerves on the approach.
"I was never sure I would really reach this standard, at least not so soon, but I had actually spent the day before falling off the top of Nick Dixon's E9 at Nesscliffe, so still riding on a bit of the previous day's adrenaline I was feeling bold and strangely confident.
"After slowing my breathing a little and having a bit of a word with myself I'd calmed my nerves and the brilliant top arête went pretty smoothly, I even opted for the cheeky dyno onto the top jug. I was pretty chuffed, but felt I could really celebrate when Ed walked up it - Shropshire team send!"
Ed and Angus are sponsored by: High Sports