The Ace 8B for Potokar and Squire

19 year-old Hamish Potokar made an ascent of The Ace 8B at Stanage Plantation last week, rounding off an impressive year after ticking Ben Moon's Voyager 8B in January (UKC News Report). 

Hamish trying hard on The Ace

The Ace has seen some attention from young, strong climbers in 2015, with 18 year-old James Squire also repeating the problem in October.

James told UKC:

“I had an interest in climbing The Ace since I first did The Joker almost two years ago. I struggled a lot a first, seeing minimal progress and found it hard to envision myself climbing it. Early this year I drove to the Peak District with Hamish and watched him climb Voyager which got me super inspired to climb something equally as stunning, but at that time I got shut down on Voyager and decided to head to Stanage quickly at the end of the day. We decided to briefly jump on The Ace as there were people trying it. I ended up doing all the moves and actually realised that it would be possible for me which got me really motivated, despite falling off and cutting open my knee."

James Squire on the Ace 8B
© Archie Cameron-Blackie

Returning in October in cooler conditions, James grabbed an ascent:

"I was getting increasingly close - dropping the last move frequently. Each attempt I was learning something new, how to place each finger perfectly and make very subtle movements in the legs to generate movement. The sun was almost coming around and skin was at its limit. I pulled on and out of nowhere I had done it! I couldn’t believe what had happened!"

Hamish told UKC:

"So it all started around two years ago when I first did the Joker, the higher start to The Ace. At the time the low start seemed a bit futuristic for me, however the next time I was at the Plantation I thought that I'd have a 'play' on the moves, just out of curiosity. Within a matter of goes I was eyeing up the last move, and though I didnt stick it, I remember slapping the top a few times that session. I came away pretty hopeful that it would happen next time."

"So I returned, again and again, every time to be spat off by that last move, often splitting tips in the process. Sometimes I wouldn't even make it through the low moves, which require good skin and cold conditions. It was a frustrating process!"

Two winters flew by and it still hadn't been done. This year Hamish decided to fully commit and after a couple of unsuccessful sessions, made the trip up solo.

He commented:

"The wind provided good conditions and within two goes I was hanging off the finishing jug having not been fired off down the hill."

Hamish Potokar on The Ace 8B

Summing up the problem, Hamish added:

"It's such an iconic boulder and one I have always wanted to do and so finally topping out was an incredibly satisfying feeling, complemented with some level of disbelief (I had to check the film a few times to assure myself I'd actually done it). Thanks to all those who have spotted and offered general support on it over the last couple of years, sticking it out in some non-ideal conditions!"

Watch videos of Hamish and James on The Ace below:

Hamish is sponsored by: Banana Fingers, Moon, Scarpa and The Climbing Academy

James is sponsored by: La Sportiva, Lyon Outdoor and Sublime Brushes

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