Mark Rankine has made the first repeat of Franco Cookson's Divine Moments Of Truth at Kay Nest, in the North York Moors. Franco graded the line E10 7a - or H10 as used by Franco to indicate a headpoint ascent - after completing the route in 2015 (UKC news report). Mark discovered an alternative dyno method, which avoids the crimpy crux sequence and potentially lowers the grade.
Franco quite literally roped Mark into trying the line earlier this year. Mark told UKC:
'I was very happy bouldering around on some easy slabs in the sun when Franco bounded over, urging me to try Divine Moments of Truth on a toprope he'd just set up. After a bit of flailing around I had managed to string the moves together, bypassing the desperate crux pull with a knacky dyno, but decided it was an unjustifiable lead and put it to the back of my mind.'
However, something about the line intrigued Mark and he spent a considerable amount of time at Kay Nest over the summer, clearing the heather from the mid-height ledge to reveal a cluster of shallow cam placements on the left. The line suddenly appeared less daunting. He commented:
'After tidying up the landing zone I convinced myself that a fall from the crux, with a fast belayer, would deposit you just above the ground where it slopes down to the left. I could now justify my dyno sequence, avoiding the original desperate crux.'
Regarding the difficulty and danger of the line, Mark suggested an alternative grade for his method:
'For those who are interested in the numbers, the original sequence is in the region of Font 7B+/C with an almost certain ground fall from 15m. The dyno is knacky and hard to grade but in the region of Font 7A and a fast belayer may keep you off the floor. The lower wall is steadier but a bit pumpy. It's harder than anything else I've done. Perhaps E9 6c?'
The line was previously bolted and the minimal protection used by Franco to free the route included micro tricams, micro wires and a skyhook. On witnessing Mark's ascent - and filming it for his upcoming film Hard Sand - Franco was dumbfounded. He told UKC:
'I think Mark's ascent is pretty amazing. It's a big task working a route up at Kay Nest and I think it's the magic of the place that has kept dragging him back weekend after weekend. Just when you think trad climbing is dead: bang.
'Rather than the original rancid crimp sequence, he did the crux as a wild pop, which I'd discounted as too bold when I did it. Remember, this is a guy who went into the crux of Gaia onsight and pathed the Angel's Share. Watching him a large number of metres above his gear, both hands off, reliant on only the wind to catch a finger jug, is one of those moments when you stop looking though the lens and crumble in terror. Mad. Very Scary to watch.'
A dark horse with an eye for obscure lines, Mark is a cleaner of many dirty routes and is also actively involved in the Peak Bolt Fund.