From Dirt Grows The Flowers (8C) for Eliot Stephens

© Craig Davies

Continuing his superb form into 2020, Eliot Stephens has returned to Ticino and ticked Dave Graham's From Girt Grows The Flowers, Font 8C.

Having attempted the line 3 years ago and written it off due to the desperate mantle, Eliot surprised himself by feeling particularly capable on the top section. On this trip, his main aim was to climb Dreamtime at Cresciano, having climbed the stand and all the moves on the sit start, but on the 2nd day of his trip, a friend convinced him to revisit From Dirt.

Eliot told UKC: 'In terms of aesthetics, From Dirt may not be amongst the absolute best in Ticino, but it's pretty world-class. It holds a reputation for being pretty hard, and in that original wave of iconic Dave Graham problems. What inspired me about it was probably a combination of those aspects.'

On the steep section before the tricky mantle  © Craig Davies
On the steep section before the tricky mantle
© Craig Davies

The problem follows a line of crystals from the back of a roof, followed by the notorious slopey mantle. Intricate micro beta is important on a problem of this standard and Eliot had the steep section worked out to the millimetre.

The mantle section is three moves long and around 8A or 8A+ in its own right: 'The hands are pretty much non-holds, and the right foot is pretty poor, so it's all about finding the right position, and the right timing. Once that's done, it's a glory run to the top.'

Eliot thought he would be able to climb From Dirt relatively quickly and did all the moves in the first session, despite the mantle feeling hard. A few sessions later and it had become far more consistent, but the crux was linking the sections.

'I was basically having 5-hour sessions on it, climbing to the last move around 10 times, and something would always be off. My foot wouldn't be on right, or my skin wouldn't be dry enough, or my body position was wrong, or I didn't actually have the power to get into the body position. Doing that mantle from the floor was pretty cool, especially as it was last go of the trip more or less, and I'd kind of lost hope of doing it this time round.'

As soon as Eliot had climbed the problem, he went straight to Brione where he quickly despatched two 8As (flashing one) and two 8A+s.

Below is a video of Eliot's previous trip to Switzerland where he ticked Arzak (Font 8C):

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Eliot is rapidly becoming one of the top boulderers in the UK having made ascents up to Font 8C and developed his own Font 8B+s in his home area of South Wales.

Eliot's Athlete Page 10 posts 5 videos

25 Feb, 2020

Wow! a Brit climbs an 8C bloc and it's someone i've never heard of (which is surprising given I'm hardly a stranger to these forums).


26 Feb, 2020

Amazing achievement. That mantel looks scary!

This shows just how far ahead of everyone Ondra is/was. He topped this when he was like 5 yrs old! Still got his little boy specs on in that vid!

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