18 year-old Manchester-based student Pete Dawson has just returned from his most successful climbing holiday yet in Spain. Pete's ticklist includes his first two 8c+ redpoints - Blomu R3 (8c+) and Joe Blau (8c+) at Santa Linya and Oliana - and his first two 8b flashes.
Writing in his blog, Pete explained his goal for the trip:
'I’ve visited this area many times and have used the quality routes to push myself. My first 8b was in Margalef, my first 8b+ in Siurana, my first 8c in Oliana. My goal this trip was to go for my first 8c+. I was searching for a beautiful route with athletic moves right at my limit. Last year I got shut down by an 8b with an 8c+ extension called Blomu, but had loved the nature of it'.
He told UKC:
'Blomu took me about six attempts this trip, it has really good rests but the crux was still right at the top.'
After ticking Rollito Sharma extension (8c) 8c, which had become a nemesis for Pete after three years of trying it, and flashing two 8bs - Ruta del Sol and La Ruta del Sol (8b) and Codigo Norte (8b) - Pete's confidence was on a high. Joe Blau 8c+ was next on the hitlist at Oliana. Pete told us:
'It took me about three days of trying this route and I did it on my fourth redpoint attempt. Joe Blau is a total endurance route which finishes in a top slab. I tried to get the top dialled, but still freaked out on it and just scraped my way through. This was my second 8c+. I preferred Blomu as it had better moves that were more athletic, for example a drop-knee knee-bar move and a couple of big jumps'.
Pete recently moved to Manchester from Devon to begin his university studies and is clearly benefiting from his new local limestone crags. In October last year, Pete managed to tick Bat Route (8c) 8c on his third go and Unjustified (8b+) 8b+/c in just two attempts (UKC news report), and added Something for Nothing 8c, a variation to the finish of Cry Freedom 8b+ (UKC news report).
Summing up his Christmas climbing trip, Pete wrote in his blog:
'The most valuable lesson I can take from this trip is to enjoy the process. If it were easy it wouldn’t be worth doing. If it’s hard there is doubt and worry, but you must keep going. Sending the route is only half the fun!'