New Dorset E8 for Tom Randall

© Mike Hutton

Tom Randall has freed an old open project at Blackers Hole in Dorset. He has proposed a name of 'Supernova' and believes the physical difficulty to be around 8a+. The route is an old line of Pete Oxley's from 1993 The Schwarzechild Radius (8a+) which Pete never redpointed although he did work all the moves.

Tom discovered the line by accident whilst he was trying Laughing Arthur (E8 6b) and describes one of those scenarios "where you look at a line on the crag and think "wow, what's that?!" and then check the guidebook and see that it's unclimbed... which is quite a nice surprise!"

Tom Randall on the lower section of Supernova  ©
Tom Randall on the lower section of Supernova
Tom climbing through the steep roof  ©
Tom climbing through the steep roof

The route didn't all go to plan in the early stages however. On an early attempt, Tom got his leg stuck..

"In the middle of the roof is an upside-down by the feet double foot jam and I took a rest here... but as I weighted the jams, one of my feet suddenly pulled through a bit of a constriction and got proper jammed - really jammed down on the bone. I had Mike Hutton staring at me hopeless on the ab rope (he couldn't get back under the roof to me) and a belayer on the ground. I'd say it was 10-15 mins off getting really serious as after about 5-10 mins I really wrenched it out . Just took the pain a bit as I preferred to hurt myself rather than have a major rescue epic."

Luckily, the ascent went a lot smoother despite feeling quite tired and missing a crucial ticked pocket on the upper sequence. "I'd put the tick mark in not quite the right place for the line of your eye and I nearly cocked it up as I was fairly tired and didn't have a great deal spare to mess around with new sequences. It's a funny cave though - sometimes the conditions are great and it feels ok down there and if they're just a tiny bit off everything feels like 8c!"

An impressive quartet of routes in Blackers Hole (from the Dorset Rockfax)  © Rockfax
An impressive quartet of routes in Blackers Hole (from the Dorset Rockfax)

To an outsider looking in, it appears things always go to plan when Tom's partner in crime is around. Tom and Pete Whittaker (Wideboyz) had a very successful trip to Utah recently where they climbed the world's longest roof crack - The Millennium Arch, weighing in at a colossal 5.14 and 300ft.

"Yeah of course it's always hard when Pete's not around, but we've got an open relationship. He's out in Yosemite at the moment and been spending quality time with Jacob Cook, so it's been good to be apart... you know, it keeps the fire in the relationship."

Tom hasn't had his fill of the area yet though - there are several other projects down there. "The next one might take me a bit longer though as it's really quite tricky."

Tom is also a part owner of No match for crag id:16784,"Climbing Station", a Director of Sublime Brushes, and a Director of Lattice Training.

You can view more of Mike Hutton's photos on his website

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7 Nov, 2016
The description of the route ("a crack on the aid route") is a bit odd wording - the crack is the aid pitch - this is the link of the 2 pitches of The Schwarzechild Radius (8a+) described in the current guide isn't it... Having seen Tom and Ian on it the weekend before it does look absolutely mega.
7 Nov, 2016
Looks well bolted for E8 ;)
7 Nov, 2016
About half those bolts are original vintage!
7 Nov, 2016
Yes, hasn't he simply freed an existing route? Looks brilliant either way.
7 Nov, 2016
Cool to hear that hard routes are being put up/freed in our neck of the woods. Exciting to hear that there might be more to come! Well done Tom.
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