Kendal-based climber Jon Freeman has redpointed his first 8c+, Progress at Kilnsey. First climbed by Jerry Moffatt at the grade of 8c in 1995, the route was recently ticked by Alex Megos but has seen relatively few ascents over the years. Due to the loss of some holds in 1997, Steve McClure upgraded the climb from 8c to 8c+ following his ascent in 2006.
Why Progress? Jon told UKC:
'For me this felt like the next logical step in difficulty after working through the classic high 8's in Yorkshire and another reason to climb on Kilnsey's North Buttress.'
Progress is a power-endurance style route, with a tough boulder problem off the floor ~7C/+, straight into another long boulder revolving around a poor sloper, which leads to a sustained section followed by a shakeout on a good hold - a last chance to get everything back to make sure you don't drop the final powerful move in the top roof.
Jon got stuck into trying Progress late in 2015, before running out of time when the inevitable seepage set in. Returning this year as soon as it dried up, he felt stronger and quickly reached a previous highpoint. Jon commented:
'A few sessions went by with poorer conditions, which forced me to find easier sequences and put in big links (3rd bolt to top) to make sure I wouldn't fall off at the top! It took around 20 sessions in total.'
When asked what he thought of the route, Jon told us:
'What really stood out for me was the variety of holds and features that are not very common on other hard UK limestone routes (crimps, pinches, slopers and more crimps!). This opened up many options for sequences to see what worked.'
How did it feel to tick his first 8c+?
'To be honest, I knew I could do the route but didn't expect to do it when I did. I had three redpoints on the previous evening getting high up, then came back the next day to finish it, feeling nervous in the final shake out but in control through the top section.'
Watch a video of Chris Savage climbing Progress below: