Pilgrimage and Sea of Tranquility for Pete Dawson

After ticking Hubble earlier in the month, an unstoppable Pete Dawson raided the Orme in Llandudno and climbed Pilgrimage (Font 8B+) in Parisella's Cave and Sea of Tranquility (8c/8c+) at Lower Pen Trwyn.

Once Hubble was in the bag, Pete was keen to climb at some different areas and was drawn to the Great Orme. He had climbed a great deal in Parisella's Cave previously and wanted to get stuck into Malcolm Smith's Pilgrimage.

Pete working hard on the undercuts of Pilgrimage  © Ted Kingsnorth
Pete working hard on the undercuts of Pilgrimage
© Ted Kingsnorth

Pete explained: 'Parisella's Cave was like a training venue for me. The first time I visited there I saw Mike Hart trying 'Pilgrimage' although I didn't know it then and was climbing 6B's on the side, awestruck. It blew me away how much steep climbing was on it and how fast you had to climb to get through it all.

''Pilgrimage' climbs from the bottom left of the cave to the top right and breaks down into a 7B+ then a 7C into a 7C+ and a final 7B to finish. The 40 moves of it are all at an angle of about 70 degrees overhanging and there is one good rest. All in all, it's a monster!'

Pilgrimage was first climbed by Malcolm Smith in 2004 and waited until 2011 for a second ascent. Pete's is the 5th ascent after Mike Hart and Jack Palmieri.

Pete's expectations only extended as far as testing the waters: 'I went there with Ted Kingsnorth just wanting to place a mark in the sand. The first half of the climb, 'Pilgrim' made me pumped and puffing as I went into the 7C+ crux. With my arms and legs shaking I did the hardest move, at this point I knew it was on and a rush of adrenaline allowed me to switch up a couple gears to reach the rest then recover before taking down the final 7B.'

Pete eyeing up a good hold  © Ted Kingsnorth
Pete eyeing up a good hold
© Ted Kingsnorth

Straight after, the pair went down to Lower Pen Trwyn as the tide had gone out. Jordan Buys was on Liquid Ambar and Emma Twyford was on The Big Bang, so not wanting to get in the way, Pete threw his rope bag underneath Sea of Tranquility. First climbed by Ben Moon in 1993, the route was originally given 8c, although Pete Robins suggested 8c+ after making the second ascent in 2010.

Climbing through the steepest section of the crag, the route has a crux of Font 8A on disappointing slopers:

'The crux had high feet and small undercuts before exploding to a pocket that was impossible to see. I couldn't have suited me more after spending so much time on the Hubble undercuts. Ted and I returned the very next day to redpoint. Climbing third day on was tough and I fumbled the pocket three times. This was quite entertaining as I'd skipped two clips, so the falls were huge!

'After taking a rest day we returned. I was really confident I was going to do it, and this allowed me to focus on making every move as solid as possible. I stuck the pocket and was left to climb the final wall. That was an awesome experience, I knew I'd done it so could just relax, enjoy the climbing and the sea views.'


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Pete is a top British sport climber having ticked many hard testpieces including Rainshadow, Hubble and Sea of Tranquillity.

Peter's Athlete Page 9 posts



21 Aug

Pete's is the 5th ascent of Pilgrimage, not the 4th.

Malc Smith, Alex Barrows, Mike Hart, Jack Palmeri, Pete Dawson.

21 Aug

Didn't Alex climb Pilgrimage a totally different way to everyone else (knee bars galore), almost enough to make it a different problem. Mike, Jack and Pete did it Malc's (ie the original, proper) way.

Not dissing Alex's method, he fits that way perfectly, but if you haven't got his rather long legs it's Malc's way or the highway.

Andy F

Whoops. Thanks, Ally.

21 Aug

Andy - there's a story linked to the news page saying 4th ascent for Jack, so if UKC counted Alex's ascent before, they should do now!

Alex covered the same ground, with the same holds as the others but found an easier method - you could equally argue that the others climbed an eliminate by omitting to use the full arsenal of techniques available?

Suggesting you need long legs to make the kneebars work is disingenuous; actually some of them (the one at the Rockatrocity start and through the niche on broken Heart) work better if you've got short legs (or flexible calves).

21 Aug

I bet Malc didn't use thumbs, never mind knees 😆

Andy F

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