Ned Feehally has made the third ascent of Ben Moon's Voyager Sit Start at Burbage North. The problem was first climbed by Moon in 2006 and in ten years, Ned's ascent is only the second repeat. Jutting out from the side of the hill, Voyager is one of the most impressive (and skin intensive) climbs in the Peak District.
Ned climbed the stand start to Voyager three weeks ago in 'a couple of tries' and had been working on the sit start since. He had been waiting for weather windows, whilst trying to get his skin in a suitable condition. 'One of the biggest challenges of climbing it is having enough skin to have enough attempts.' In the end, it took Ned about three sessions to finally climb the problem, after a heartbreaking fall from the very top in his second session.
Voyager Sit Start is roughly 12 moves long and adds about Font 7B into the Font 8B jump start. It has seen off multiple attempts from several strong boulderers including Michele Caminati, Tyler Landman and Micky Page. In October 2015, Niccolò Ceria made the long awaited repeat. It is an extremely conditions dependent problem, requiring very low humidity and wind. Often after a few moves, suitors are either too cold, too hot or their skin too sweaty. Getting the problem in the right condition often seems to be the crux.
Ned has had an impressive run of form recently and has turned his attention to climbing new problems in the Peak District; Black Asteroid (8a), Heavy Sky (8a+) and Thick End of the Wedge (8a) - all in the Burbage Valley. Commenting on his passion for first ascents, Ned said 'I've been climbing regularly in the Peak for about ten years now. As a result I've done a lot of the stuff that I really want to do; in terms of boulder problems at least. I like the challenge of finding stuff, and figuring out a sequence from scratch. It teaches you a lot about climbing, and it's much more rewarding that climbing on existing problems all the time.' Ned has been attending to several other accounts and finished The Big Island in Fontainebleau after previously struggling with the weather.
Closer to home, he made a rare ascent of Moon's Superman Sit Start (8b+), climbed Mike Adams' Serenata (8c) at Impossible Roof and kept his rivalry in check by climbing Dan Varian's Dandelion Mind (8b) at Badger Cove. Obviously, Ned has been taking advantage of a huge amount of training and effort he put in on his board at home, earlier in the year. In total, since the start of August he has climbed 27 problems from 8a to 8c - 16 of which were 8b and above. When asked about his impressive year, Ned told us:
'I think I have upped my game recently because I have been able to train more efficiently. I had a bit of a lull of motivation two or three years ago, but in 2014 I bought my house and was able to build a decent board in the cellar. I spent a lot of time getting it just right, so I could train as I had always wanted to, and not have to make do with facilities elsewhere. Over the course of the last two years my strength has come on loads, which has helped my climbing to no end. I've also got better at being patient and waiting until conditions, skin and good days come around before trying to climbing hard things. Whereas in my youth I'd have just thrashed myself on problems at every available opportunity!'