The Big Issue E9 6c by Emma Twyford

© Mike Hutton

Emma Twyford has repeated the steep and athletic The Big Issue (E9 6c) E9 6c at Bosherston Head, Pembroke.

Emma Twyford repeats The Big Issue E9 6c.  © Mike Hutton
Emma Twyford repeats The Big Issue E9 6c.
© Mike Hutton

The route was originally climbed by John Dunne in 1996. John placed most of the gear on lead, but also used some stuck wires and a peg. Initially conceived as a bolted line, The Big Issue remained uncompleted until it was climbed in a trad style by John in 1996. The name of the climb alludes to the debolting of the line, as Pembroke was going through a time of controversial first ascents and bolts were used on some routes, which were subsequently removed. In 2014, visiting Japanese climber Yuji Hirayama completed the route, placing all gear on lead and setting a precedent for more recent ascensionists.

Emma told UKC:

'This route has been top of my trad list for this year, the gear is good but with some fun run-outs and gymnastic moves. It's hard not to be drawn in and intimidated at the same time looking over the top of Bosherston Head at this steep face.'

Emma initially tried it ground up with James 'Caff' McHaffie, Maddy Cope and Ryan Pasquill. 'My first thought was that I'd be totally out of my depth trying something this hard with no idea of the moves,' she commented. 'Initially I made it up to the first crux and fell off both times there, but I was hooked with the beauty of this line and the incredible moves.' A couple of sessions later, Emma tried to lead it with the gear in situ, falling off the last hard move.

Emma Twyford on an earlier attempt at The Big Issue E9 6c.
© Mike Hutton

This year, Emma was thwarted on a few missions by fickle conditions with humidity, big swell and rain. A fortnight ago, she top-roped the line cleanly for the first time. Last Saturday looked set to be her best bet for success with rain forecast for the Sunday. Emma told UKC:

'I warmed up going between sections after Matt Helliker had a look, then I had an epic taking the gear out on a jumar. I was hung on the ropes for about 20 minutes trying to get my jumar unjammed and thinking it was game over. As I set off it was mega hot and the rests weren't very relaxing so I didn't hang about. I power-screamed through the second crux and tried to keep it together whilst placing the kit on the last run out, by the time I hit the grey wall at the top I knew it was nearly over though you could still drop it if you got unlucky.'

She added:

'Finally after getting to the top I didn't shout out much I just sat at the top grinned and savoured the moment of having just climbed this fantastic and iconic line.'

Route Time Line:

Pre 1996 - route bolted by Pete Oxley

1996 - First ascent (placing gear/some in situ) John Dunne

2000 - First repeat (placing gear/some in situ) Steve McClure

2000 - Repeat (on in situ gear) Adrian Berry

2010 - Repeat (on in situ gear) Gaz Parry

2014 - Repeat (placing gear on lead) Yuji Hirayama

2017 - Repeat (placing gear on lead) Ali Kennedy

- Repeat (placing gear on lead) Jacopo Larcher

- Repeat (placing gear on lead) - Roland Hemetzberger

- Repeat (placing gear on lead) - Barbara Zangerl

- Repeat (placing gear on lead) - James 'Caff' McHaffie

- Repeat (placing gear on lead) - Ryan Pasquill

2018 - Repeat (placing gear on lead) - Emma Twyford

It's been a successful year so far for Emma, with two E9s (Once Upon a Time in the South West E9 6c, The Big Issue E9 6c) two E8s and an 8c (Mind Control) under her belt.

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Emma is one of the very best climbers operating in the current British scene. She has flashed both E7 and F8a, headpointed E9 and is the first British woman to redpoint F9a.

Emma's Athlete Page 42 posts 5 videos

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Emma, you are my hero :-)

28 Aug, 2018

Speaking to two French guys yesterday at the top of Stennis Ford, can't remember their names but the woman was lapping Muy Caliente on top rope (the guy had already done it), they have both climbed Big Issue recently too...your list may need adding to.

Nice one, Emma though. Amazing. 

28 Aug, 2018

I caught sight of someone topping out on The Big Issue yesterday, but no idea who it was.

28 Aug, 2018

Is Ryan Pasquill missing from that timeline?

28 Aug, 2018
Yep, and Caff too. Amended. 
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