19 year-old James Squire has just returned from a successful two-week trip to Averstal (Magic Wood) in Switzerland, climbing ten problems of 8A and above, including three 8Bs: Steppenwolf, Sofa Surfer Direct and Left Hand of Darkness (low start).
James told UKC:
'I was hoping to stay for three weeks but sadly had to cut my trip short due to a finger injury. Despite this I thought the trip was still a success. I had loads of hard boulders from last year left to finish off and it was nice to chill by the river on rest days. My highlight of the trip was probably climbing Steppenwolf 8B.'
On the lookout for a big project, James was close to ticking Chris Sharma's Practice of the Wild 8C, falling off the last move before injuring his finger. He commented:
'My aim for this trip was slightly different from normal – I didn't mind too much about ticking something significant on this specific trip, I just wanted to find something super hard that I thought would be possible in the future. Falling off the last move on 'Practice of the Wild' 8C definitely met up to that! I had about 8 sessions on it in total and have done all the moves with some great overlapping links. It is possible! However it will take time.'
James will now have to wait until next Spring or early Summer to complete his unfinished business. He added:
'I guess it is nice to have a fixed goal now to train for, I'm looking forward to a return and for the battle to continue. For now I will be training (well, recovering first) and working in Bristol with the occasional trip to the grit this winter. Practice of the Wild is at the front of my mind.'
View Jame's UKC logbook.
Watch a video of his trip below: