Bury-based climber Jack Palmieri has made the fourth ascent of Malcolm Smith's Pilgrimage 8B+ at Parisella's Cave, North Wales. Ben Moon famously fell off the very end when it was a project and Malcolm eventually made the first ascent back in 2004. Alex Barrows made the first repeat in 2011 (UKC News Report) and Mike Hart made the third ascent in July 2016 (UKC News Report). Jack opted for the original method used by Malcolm and later by Mike - no kneebars, just pure power.
Kneebar connoisseur Alex Barrows put his skills to good use on the 40+ move line and described his knacky method as being significantly easier than opting for a kneebar-free ascent:
'My sequence is WAY easier than the beta Malc Smith used on the first ascent. My beta is pretty 3D and uses a bunch of kneebars, both for moves and for rests. Some of the knees are quite good but some are pretty marginal and rely on having a decent pair of kneepads. People tend to fixate on the difference they make to the rests but actually the biggest difference compared to the original method is that I have alternative sequences on what used to be the two crux moves.'
Regarding his choice of method, Jack told UKC:
'It feels like it's been a long time in the making even though it probably hasn't been, having only tried it sporadically since this spring. I suppose I really wanted to repeat it how it was originally done by Malc Smith, or certainly using beta closely linked to that ascent. I didn't try the knee bars for this reason.'
'Coming into the sport late, Malcolm was one of the first British climbers I became aware of and repeating one of his harder climbs is something I never thought I'd be able to achieve. It's a big one off my list!'
He now has his sights set on some harder links in the cave. Watch this space!
Watch a video of Jack making 8B+ look very casual...