Alex Mason has established a new E8/9 6c up the centre of the steepest section of Gogarth's Main Cliff. Alex's line links two 4 star E6s - Alien (E6 6b) Direct and Skinhead Moonstomp (E6 6b) - together with a F7c section in the middle to form one mega long pitch from sea level.
Alex first considered a new route linking these classic climbs together in 2013, but failed in his attempt to ground-up an easier, more wandering version of the eventual line. One year later, Alex discovered a direct line and set about trying to piece the new route together, but ultimately injured his shoulder. A finger injury further delayed attempts after he recovered, so it wasn't until March this year when Alex could return and take the time find a less intense method of solving the crux, spurred on by the impending arrival of his newborn son. He told UKC:
'The crux is a fantastic compression problem up a hanging rib with a bunch of heel hooks and slappy moves. It's well-protected too meaning it would probably make a brilliant, hard route to try and flash/ground-up etc.'
The first lead attempt didn't go smoothly, as Alex brought incorrect nuts for key runner placements. He fell on the crux after overgripping on the Alien Direct section due to less-than-ideal gear. The next go wasn't perfect, either - but Alex pushed through. He commented:
'Second time up, I managed to improvise my way through the end of the crux but got horrendously pumped in doing so and it was touch and go all the way up Skinhead Moonstomp. It's better that way though!'
Regarding the grade, Alex is reluctant to shoot for high numbers, despite its physical difficulty. He explained: 'I'm pretty sure it's the hardest trad route I've done, but really it's safe and about F8a so it probably doesn't warrant the big E9 tick, which is a shame, because I've not done one yet and I would like to.'
As the venue for his first date with now-wife Jemma, Gogarth and this new line are very personal to Alex. He told us:
'I thought about the name a lot as the route is very poignant to me. I wanted to stick with the extinction theme, particularly with the current political and meteorological climate, so Democide seemed to tick all the boxes.'
Alex adds Democide to a long list of hard trad first ascents, including Katie's Delight (E7 6b) E8 8c at Craig y Forwyn, Smear Campaign (E8 6c) E7/8 at Gogarth South Stack and The Cwm Face (E7 6c) E7 6c at Cloggy.