Oli Grounsell has made the third ascent of Neil Carson's Mission Impossible E9 7a at Gallt Yr Ogof, Ogwen Valley, North Wales. The route is adequately protected by old pegs interspersed with good, but small runners.
21 year-old Oli adds this latest climb to an impressive list of E9s: The Zone, Rare Lichen, Nightstalker and Divided Years.
He told UKC:
"I'd say this is the first route I have done which genuinely felt E9, purely for the physical difficulty (8a+/b). A lot of the others are kind of hovering on the border."
The infrequently repeated Mission Impossible was once renowned for being the physically hardest trad route in Wales, but James McHaffie's latest new E9 Dark Religion (UKC News Report) could now be a likely contender for this title.
After climbing the neighbouring E7 Heart of Stone a few years ago, Oli tried to have a look at the adjacent line, but after abbing down in the wrong place and without a brush, he didn't glean much information other than realising that he was keen to do it. Feeling 'fresh' from a hen-do and spotting a spell of good weather, Oli managed to return two weeks ago:
"It felt hard on the first session cleaning and figuring out the sequences. Second session I should have done it though, and basically underestimated how tired I had been last session. I returned a week later and lead it first try of the day."
"It's a brilliant route and features quite old school, fierce climbing on gastons and a tricky rockover, and sloppy moves on poor feet between side pulls.It feels good to do an 8b like L'ami de tout le monde in Céüse, so to do something similar on a UK mountain is also quite cool."
What's next for Oli?
"I've got a flight to Canada in August, so I'm hoping to spend some time there and in the USA before Australia in 2017. So looking forward to all of that."
Watch a video of James McHaffie making the 2nd ascent of Mission Impossible in 2009 below. (UKC News Report)