Orrin Coley has made the first ascent of a Font 8B+ at Forest Rock, naming it Limit Breaker. The problem is only 3-4 moves long and initially, Orrin wondered if the climb was even possible. Writing on his UKC logbook he described the problem as 'the hardest I've ever done.'
It wasn't until January until Orrin focused his efforts on the project, battling conditions and more often than not, having to leave due to seepage or condensation. Orrin told UKC:
'It was a long process of figuring out what felt like the best way to do each move. It wasn't until the 8th session that I had done every move. Each one felt like arguably the hardest individual moves I'd ever done and really pushed me to the edge of what I was capable.'
Such a short and specific boulder requires a lot of micro adjustments in body position and Orrin had to spend a lot of time working the moves over and over before he even believed he could climb the problem.
'On my 9th session I had a crazy moment and somehow dropped the last move from the start, having never linked more than one move before. But I wouldn't say I was close to sending it then, more like I'd finally realised I could do it. There was still a lot to improve on, such as slight body position or foot position tweaks to manage the moves more consistently.
'My 12th session was maybe the most productive, having managed to stick the crux move maybe 6 or 7 times in a row.
'Then on the 13th session, I figured slightly new beta for the finishing move which made it slightly less wild and a bit easier to control. But by the time I'd worked it out I was too exhausted to give it a good go.'
The successful attempt was under unlikely circumstances: a torrential downpour and a whole day of route setting aren't conducive to climbing your hardest problem. Luckily, there was no condensation or seepage. Orrin went through the motions and repeated the moves until he felt confident enough to try from the start.
'It was a strange moment of focus and calm, every other attempt I'd felt like I was pushing myself as hard as possible. But this time was different, I just flowed through the moves to the finishing hold. I felt like I'd just climbed a 7B.'
'Completing it meant a lot purely because I'd just assumed for so long I would never be able to do it, I can remember numerous conversations telling people I thought I'd likely never manage it. I don't like to self-doubt much, but sometimes you have to be realistic.'
Forest Rock has been growing in popularity recently and Orrin would like to remind climbers that the crag is in a residential area: 'Simply by just keeping the noise down, taking any litter out with you and generally trying to leave no trace maintains a good relationship with the locals and that just benefits everyone.'