Earlier this week we reported that Ned Feehally had become the fourth person to flash a Font 8B+ boulder problem, with his ascent of Trust Issues at the Realm area in Rocklands. Nalle Hukkataival climbed the first ascent of the problem earlier in the month and it has seen some attention from the likes of Alex Megos and Dave Graham since.
Ned is one of the UK's most accomplished boulderers, having climbed many problems in the 8B to 8C range, flashed several up to 8A+ (now 8B+), as well as making finals of World Cups and winning three rounds of the British Bouldering Championships. His climbing style is extremely versatile and he's able to climb at a high level from the smallest crimps, to the burliest compression problems.
We caught up with Ned in the short time he wasn't out at the crag...
Tell me about Trust Issues - how does it climb?
Trust Issues is a stunning line. A tall, clean wall with a few holds, very far apart. The hand holds aren't tiny, but they're not positive and the don't face in useful directions. The problem revolves around heel hooks and a couple of big lock offs.
Did you have an inkling you might be able to flash it?
When I saw the problem I thought it looked like my sort of bag. It seemed to revolve around flexibility and heel hooking skills, which I tend to get on well with. I really wanted to try it, but the thought of flashing it didn't even cross my mind.
I have been close to flashing 8b a few times previously. After realising that level was possible for me, I got keen on the idea of actually doing it. Being strong enough is one thing, but being able to read the rock and figure out the moves as you go is the real challenge, and something that I enjoy trying to do. It's a good test of your overall climbing ability.
What state do you have to get yourself into before pulling on? Do you visualise the moves?
I don't visualise the moves particularly before pulling on. Before you've climbed on something it's hard to imagine exactly how it will feel. Sometimes you can confuse yourself when it doesn't feel like you're expecting it to, and that can actually be a hindrance.
I set off with a general idea of the sequence, and I was lucky to have Dave Graham on hand to shout advice when I started to look lost! He had spent a bit of time on the problem before and knew it inside out. Without his input I'm sure I'd have fluffed it.
How's the rest of the trip going? Have you got long left?
The rest of the trip has been mixed bag. I've not done loads of climbing as we have had some pretty warm days. I did manage to climb Amandla (8B+) though. This is a total classic and a problem I never thought I'd do. The holds are tiny and I'm not the lightest climber out there! It was great to climb it in a few goes, and it didn't even split my tips!
We've got a week left now. I'll try to find some other rocks to climb up...
Trust Issues - Rocklands It's not very often you find a problem that suits you so well - heel hooks and huge lock offs on sloping holds. It's a total stunner of a line too. A while ago I set myself the challenge to flash 8b. A few times I've been painfully close, but always managed to drop the ball when success seemed all but inevitable. While I still haven't flashed an 8b, I did flash this 8b+ instead... Thanks @alexandermegos and @dave_graham_ for the cheerleading and beta. And of course @nalle_hukkataival for putting this amazing line up! - 📷@shaunacoxsey