French climber Caroline Ciavaldini has completed the four-pitch Twll Mawr classic The Quarryman E8 7a in the Llanberis slate quarries, North Wales. In April 2016, Caroline completed the renowned 'Groove' pitch and vowed to return to complete the line in its entirety, which breaks down into an E6, E5, the '8a' Groove and a 7c+ slab to finish.
In 2016, Caroline was focused on her 8b project, the Voie Petit on the Grand Capucin, which left little time to dedicate to The Quarryman in full. Speaking to UKC in an interview at the time, Caroline told us:
'If I wanted to do The Quarryman in full, it would take a lot of headspace for me and I want to save that for my project. I'm really glad I did this [Groove] pitch though, because even if I did do it fairly fast I still had time to go through all the "Oh my god, it's really hard - why am I even here?" thought processes, then you move through that; the working process of something that feels too hard.'
Made famous by first ascensionist Johnny Dawes' contorted performance in the film Stone Monkey, The Groove - given a tentative grade of 8a - is a test of flexibility, friction and gutsiness to boot.
The groove pitch of the Quarryman In a few years, when I think of the day I did the Quarryman with James belaying me, I will remember this crazy moment where, hands pushing both sides of a glass like groove, I was trying to turn my body around. I nearly did it, realised my shoulder was so much behind my back that I wouldn't be able to rotate any further, and let go of that hand… fell about 30cm, and stopped, my foot on one side, my ass on the other side… In a million tries, I would never be able to reproduce such a movement. It all went wrong, I should have fallen, but somehow, I didn't. It took me a few seconds to realise where I was, and I heard James yelling "come on Caro, you can do it, keep on going"… and started moving back up. Trust your luck, It'll happen. @thenorthfaceuk @thenorthface_climb @lasportivagram @wildcountry_official @gloryfy #climbing_pictures_of_instagram # groove #quarrywoman #neverstopexploring #pureclimbing #grimpeuses Thanks @rikyfelderer and La Sportiva dire this great picture!
Working out a key sequence to the crux of the final slab pitch was Caroline's main aim on returning to the line, since she had only briefly scoped out the moves in 2016 and failed to find a suitable method. Caroline's husband James Pearson had completed the line in the same trip and his beta didn't work for her. Now that both have succeeded on the line, we can confirm that this is a First Husband-and-Wife Ascent of The Quarryman...