21-year-old Mat Wright has climbed Evolution (8c+), Devolution (8c) and Mecca Extension (8c), all at Raven Tor (Miller's Dale). The Walsall based youngster had been attempting the rarely repeated Evolution since last year, although believed he wasn't quite strong enough at that point. This year he started afresh and completed the route in roughly ten sessions.
For such a short route, Evolution packs a might punch. It's 12m of sustained crimping on sharp, tiny holds. Mat told us: 'The holds are mostly small and positive, meaning you have to climb the entire route perfectly and almost without getting tired as the redpoint crux is at the top of the route. For such a short route, it packs in a lot of hard moves.'
Mat's successful redpoint was 'smooth and fast,' only taking him about 1 minute 30 seconds to climb:
The following day, Mat returned to the Tor and found horrible conditions, with much of the bottom of the crag condensed. Despite unfavourable odds, Mat's aim was to tick Devolution, a link-up which climbs through the first crux of Evolution and then traverses right into the headwall of Chimes of Freedom. Mat made short work of the route and moved onto Mecca Extension:
'I decided I was going to begin getting stuck into Mecca Extension as an intermediate tick before my next big project. I surprised myself and everybody else at the crag by finishing this off on my second go, just about getting through a wet Mecca by the skin of my teeth.'
Considering Mat has only been climbing for four years, his ascents are particularly noteworthy. As for what's next, he's not finished with Raven Tor: 'I'm definitely interested in both Hubble and Mutation. Hubble is, of course, the ultimate crown of bouldery routes, Mutation is the myth. I would say I'm more likely to get stuck into Hubble towards the end of this year as I feel it's easier than Mutation and suits me better.'