The Waterman 8B: First Ascent by Mikey Cleverdon


On Monday 21st March, Mikey Cleverdon completed a long term project on The Wave boulder at Bonehill Rocks, Dartmoor National Park, which he has named The Waterman and graded 8B. The problem climbs Nazare and finishes in The Green Room, resulting in a fierce power endurance-based challenge.

Mikey on The Waterman 8B  ©
Mikey on The Waterman 8B

Mikey told UKC:

"I believe this to be my hardest ascent to date and for me it marks another milestone in improvement since my stroke in 2011."

After climbing all the blocs that the “Wave” has to offer over the last two seasons, Mikey decided to grade the problem 8B - his first climbed at the grade. Commenting on the line itself, Mikey told UKC:

"It’s not the “purest” boulder problem being a link-up of two problems I have previously completed, but it is an obvious and fun challenge to take up after completing both “Nazare” 8A and “The Green Room”, also 8A.

"Pe’ahi, however, is a great problem, both due to its climbing and the direction of the line itself and it was this that originally started me on this small obsession over the last few years and in particular the last two Winters, but after climbing the first ascent of this in Dec '14 and following with Nazare in March '15 it seemed a shame to waste all the effort put into learning the moves for these problems and not try the challenge that beckoned."

Mikey on The Green Room 8A  ©
Mikey on The Green Room 8A

Mikey was quite keen to head elsewhere for the following year and spent the rest of Spring and the following Autumn checking out some places he had not previously visited, and had a few things to look forward to trying as temperatures got cooler again. He commented:

"I had visited Bonehill about once a month over this time and the summer, just to keep in touch with the moves and sequence. The easy access to Bonehill lent itself perfectly to two things: night sessions and hard projecting, so the plan was to leave the projects there for this season, but after a stiff few weeks setting and a week in Font back in Oct I was having issues with the shoulder again."

Eventually weather and conditions improved as well as Mikey's shoulder, and this Winter proved to be the final assault on the project after years of effort:

"I definitely had sessions where I really wished I was going elsewhere, but you also get stuck not wanting to give up after so much has been invested, this is all part of the journey and don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy myself and I’ve been fortunate to have been accompanied by several rather psyched individuals also trying problems on the Wave this season for similar reasons and with success all round which is great. I’ve lost count of the no. of sessions spent there over the last two seasons but it’s in excess of 40 for sure."

He added:

"It’s been great to have the opportunity to put so much time into a project and see what happens when you do, but it’s definitely time to head elsewhere now and hopefully I may get the chance to try and climb some other things before it warms up down here."

Watch a video of Mikey climbing The Waterman and other problems below, including:

-Floater 7C or V9
-The Green Room 8A or V11
-Nazare 8A or V11 - First Ascent - March 2105 Mikey Cleverdon
-Pe'Ahi 8A+ or V12 - First Ascent - Dec 2014 Mikey Cleverdon
-The Waterman 8B or V13 - First Ascent - March 2016 Mikey Cleverdon

Photos by

Mikey is sponsored by: Dewerstone, Flood-it, La Sportiva, Lyon Outdoor, Petzl and is a Jenna Goddard Protocol Ambassador

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28 Mar, 2016
Class Mikey! Cool video too :)
28 Mar, 2016
Awesome achievement Mikey. Really enjoyed the video - including the fails makes it so much more engaging :-)
28 Mar, 2016
Nice one Mikey!
28 Mar, 2016
Fast achieving, a deserved, hero status Mikey C! Without witnessing it, it maybe hard to conceptualise the amount of effort, 'skin tax'and perseverance put into achieving these problems. A pleasure and privilege to witness the crushing first hand. Allez l'especial!
28 Mar, 2016
Great effort Mikey! Excellent vid as well that shows people where these problems go. BTW i don't think Waterman looks contrived, looks pretty logical to me
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