Two New Dartmoor 8B/+s by James Squire

In recent weeks, James Squire has added two new problems to Bovey Woods, which sits above Bovey Tracey with numerous boulders hidden away in the woodland. The rock is classic sharp Dartmoor granite with many highball problems. One year ago, James climbed the famous line of the crag - Devon Sent 7C+ - and noticed that there could be potential for more lines on this massive boulder.

James Squire on Infamous 8B.  © James Squire.
James Squire on Infamous 8B.
© James Squire.

The obvious project became Infamous 8B/+. Where Devon Sent trends rightwards, this climbs directly up the face by doing a large move to the lip of the boulder followed by a daunting topout. James told UKC:

'Whilst trying it last season, I put a rope down it to clean the holds and tried it for about five sessions before coming to the conclusion that I was still not sure if it was possible. I could never do the move to the lip.'

James and Alex Kellas returned this season to check out a few boulders under the assumption that the crag would be wet. James commented:

'By some fluke luck the Devon Sent boulder was dry and after a few attempts I unexpectedly completed my mega nemesis project. I couldn't believe it!'

Rocket Science [8B/+] first ascent! Last Monday I headed back to Bovey Woods and finished off one of the remaining projects from last season, this crazy dyno on the famous Devon Sent boulder. I tried this dyno on and off whilst trying my other project from last year and had about 5 sessions trying it. In my second session I got my hand over the top but on the attempt after I broke a key foothold, fell off and split 4 tips. Two of the remaining sessions last year I got rained off and the last session was too warm to even do the first move. I was super happy to finally climb this! Probably the hardest single move I've done. As far as the grade goes - I really have no idea how you grade vert walls... let alone vert walls on Dartmoor, let alone vert wall dynos on Dartmoor. Anyway this thing is mega! Time to search for another project.... P.S sorry for the late upload, I had a long week at work, also I couldn't think of a cool name P.P.S I brushed the tick mark off after I promise @lasportivauk @lasportivagram @lyonequipment @sublimeclimbing @petzl_official #bouldering #climbing #dartmoor #project #firstascent #dyno

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James discovered an equally impressive project on the same boulder, which climbs just three metres to the right. He tried it on and off for many sessions in-between working 'Infamous'. James told UKC:

'It involves a doing a very subtle tensiony move to a thin sidepull and then jumping for the top of the boulder, made slightly more scary with the sloping landing.'

Yeessssss!!!!! Today Alex and I headed to Bovey Woods just to check out a few boulders under the assumption the crag would be wet. By some fluke luck the Devon Sent boulder was dry and after a few attempts I unexpectedly completed my mega nemesis project from last winter. Can't believe it. I had about five sessions on this earlier in the year and put a rope down it to clean the top holds but was never really sure if it was possible. Today it didn't feel too bad... I'm quite uncertain if it is as hard as the grade I have given it.... I don't really know how to grade climbing on crystals.... but either way I am PSYCHED to have climbed this king line 🙏❤️ Thank you @alexkellas for the spot and pads. @lasportivauk @lasportivagram @lyonequipment @sublimeclimbing @petzl_official #bouldering #climbing #dartmoor #project #firstascent

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In his second session last season, James managed to get his hand over the top of the boulder, but broke a key foothold and split four tips. Poor weather and conditions delayed further attempts. Summing up the problem, James commented:

'I was super happy to finally climb this and it is possibly the hardest single move I have ever done. As far as the grade goes, I really have no idea how you grade vertical walls on Dartmoor. The style is so unique. They both feel like they are in the 8B to 8B+ region. I am sure they will both be repeated and I'm looking forward to hearing what other climbers think.'

Dartmoor legend and Devon Sent first ascensionist Dave Henderson told UKC:

'When I did Devon Sent I imagined a direct might be possible but never tried it - I was happy enough with Devon Sent and I thought it looked tough anyway!'


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James Squire is a top British boulderer, mainly operating in the south of England. He has established many grade 8 boulder problems. His crowning achievement so far is the first ascent of 

James's Athlete Page 10 posts



7 Nov

Loving the sound of a shower of crystals hitting the mats in the first vid ,good old fashioned bovey woods sketch fest top out