New 9a Raven Tor link-up by Alex Barrows

© Alex Barrows

Alex Barrows has discovered a new link-up at Raven Tor (Miller's Dale), joining a variant of Belly of the Beast (f8B) 8B+ and Waddage (8b) 8b, which he considers to be around 9a in difficulty.

Alex trying not to hurt his fingers at 'The Tor.'  © Alex Barrows
Alex trying not to hurt his fingers at 'The Tor.'
© Alex Barrows

Alex told UKC:

'It's a bit of a dumb link-up, although compared to many Tor links it's actually pretty cool and logical. It climbs out from the very back of the cave to the top of the crag in a pretty straight line. You do Belly of the Beast to the lip, but then instead of heading left you do a variant finish (Sympathy in Choice). The boulder problem of Sympathy finishes at good-ish flatty - an obvious finishing hold for a boulder, but not a rest. From there you're straight into the crux lower section of Chimes. Once through that it's a relative romp to the top of the crag.'

Alex was motivated for the line since it was something local for him to try whilst his fingers recover from injury. Other hard, crimpy Tor routes were ruled out and may still be off-limits for a while, as Alex explained: 'The hand specialists I've spoken to basically don't have a clue as to whether one of my old injuries will ever properly fix itself.'

Alex on an earlier attempt of Keen Roof, Raven Tor  © Alex Barrows
Alex on an earlier attempt of Keen Roof, Raven Tor
© Alex Barrows

Commenting on the grade, Alex suggests 9a, but isn't 100% certain.

'I'm not really sure on the grade - it kind of feels like it would be 9a compared to other cave-style boulder/route hybrids I've done, but then it's a bit more bouldery and thus less my style, so it could be easier. It's basically a harder version of Belly into an 8b without a rest.'

He added:

'You can always find a dumb link to do at the Tor!'

Watch a video of Alex on a shorter 8c+ version of the link-up:

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Alex Barrows started climbing at 17 and has become famous for his hard sport climbing and bouldering ascents, including Era Vella 9a and The Wheel of Life 8C. He is also well known for his dedication to training and knee...

Alex's Athlete Page 10 posts 1 video

27 Sep, 2017
Surely this will have to be downgraded to 8c+, I thought only Stevie Mac was allowed to put up 9a there :-)
27 Sep, 2017
f8b into f7b+ into French 8b, pretty good going. I assume Steve can't do Keen Roof the Keen Lank way, so this would be a hard task for him no? Well done Alex for this nationally important line
28 Sep, 2017
I thought it was generally accepted that complete rest is often no more beneficial to an injury than gentle use? I'm reminded of Dave MacLeod who with an elbow injury went down to try the "world's first E12" as it was less than vertical.
28 Sep, 2017
I didn't find it a very helpful comment either, partly from the angle you raise (you're right) and partly the idea that simply being in medicine allows you to be critical in a situation where you probably know very little of the exact details (I know Alex and have spoken to him about both the injury and the advice he's received, which is perhaps why I found it irritating).
28 Sep, 2017
Ah, this is wrong - the link is Belly of the Beast into Waddage (8b) not Chimes, hence finishing at the top of the crag. Also, the link to the IG posts says it's a 7c+ link when it should read 8c+...
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