The day after winning the CWIF title with a gutsy performance involving contortion, multi-dynos and lots of brain-power, you'd expect Sean McColl to allow himself a day off...
However, keen to try out our "legendary" gritstone climbing, Sean headed to Black Rocks alongside Jorg Verhoeven to try the bold and technical Gaia E8 6c - as his first gritstone trad route! Although well-known as a frequent finalist in World Cup boulder and lead events, trad climbing is not Sean's speciality.
After toproping the line a couple of times, Sean decided to go for the lead - successfully climbing the route with perfect execution. Sean has uploaded a video and posted a full write-up about Gaia on his blog, discussing the climb in detail and making some interesting comments about trad headpointing.
"How do you prepare for a Gritstone route? It was a bit strange for me, but I treated it like a competition, focus.
"The experience was so different than anything else I’ve done in climbing; it’s hard to explain but I will try. The moves on Gaia are not especially hard, but doing them that high above a piece that you yourself have to place is unnerving. When I did the route, I did it with 99.9% efficiency and there was not a shred of doubt in my mind. It felt similar to competing in the fact that I was focused, I had one goal and I knew my ability. It felt completely different to competing having to put in a piece of gear and the fact that the moves were practised."
Read more in Sean's blog post.
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