Following a two-year break from climbing, Ellis Butler-Barker has returned to form with a first ascent on a long-standing project at Anstey's Cove, which he has named Ali Bomaye and graded 8c after coming to a consensus with other climbers.
Ellis first tried the line left of The Cider Soak in 2014, but the route seemed out of his reach. 'It felt like linking a 7c+/8a into an 8A boulder with a fairly poor rest in between. It felt way off and I thought I'd have to put some serious effort in in order to get it done.' He didn't try the route again until after his ascent of Brian, the classic Anstey's test piece standing at 8c+, but Ellis still didn't feel like it would go anytime soon. 'The top boulder was just too hard to do some of the moves individually, never mind link them all together,' he wrote in his blog. 'I knew of several strong people who had been putting some effort into it with no success, so I knew it must be pretty hard.'
Due to his university studies, Ellis had an 18 month/2 year break from climbing. 'I ended up climbing no more than five times in that time period,' he wrote. When a new climbing wall opened in Plymouth in March, Ellis caught the climbing bug. 'I started to really enjoy the sport again and soon started getting into the flow of training; board climbing, fingerboarding, campusing, laps, all sorts.'
Two weeks ago Ellis decided to measure his new level of fitness against the line. 'I ended up finding the moves OK and felt much stronger on the route than ever before, but didn't have any serious efforts that day.' Returning with a redpoint push in mind, Ellis made progress and the project was soon in the bag.
'Doing this route feels like a huge step forward in my climbing, knowing that I'm back to full strength and maybe even stronger, so it'll be exciting to see what I can get done this summer,' he summed up in his blog.
Regarding the grade, Ellis spoke to other climbers who had tried the line, and estimated it to be harder than his initial thoughts of 8b+.
'I'm not sure about the grade as I'd always thought that the route was at least 8c, feeling like one of the harder routes I've done and a step above most things at Anstey's except for Brian.'
Watch a video of the ascent below: