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Second Font 8C for James Squire at Biblins Cave

© James Squire

James Squire has climbed a new Font 8C at Biblins Cave in Gloucestershire and named it Ambition (f8C). This is his second first ascent of an 8C at the cave after climbing The World Is Yours (f8C) in 2018.

Three months ago the UK went into lockdown and with all the climbing walls closed we needed to find a way to train. @alexkellas and I both built home walls in our gardens, bought some gym weights off Gumtree and when outdoor climbing was allowed again we got back to it. Last year I climbed the first part of this roof project but had the idea you could keep going to a jug on the lip about 3m higher creating this mega highball line. Over the last few weeks I have spent so many days hiking out in the rain and getting shut down on this. Today after 15+ sessions I climbed the crazy roof project! Been a while since I climbed something this hard, feels good to be back 😀😀😀 Big up to @graciesheppy for all the recent sessions and many others for the support 🙏❤️🔥 @alexkellas @will.kellas @joepartridge91 and Sienna @lasportivagram @lyonequipment @petzl_official @sublimeclimbing @bananafingersuk @epictvclimbing

A post shared by James Squire (@beastlysquirrel) on

Last year, James climbed a new Font 8B+ called Keep It Real (f8B+), two metres to the right of The World Is Yours. Ambition is the full line of the cave which continues for another 3m after Keep it Real. James describes the problem as 'powerful, very beta intensive and a bit scary!'

The problem took James over 15 sessions to complete and going into lockdown obviously slowed his progress, particularly as he started losing the required fitness:

'Initially, it was quite hard getting used to training during lockdown however also quite nice as it forced my body to rest for a week or two. Climbing on my home woodie got me quite strong on short boulder problems but I found it tricky to keep up fitness. I'm looking forward to when climbing walls reopen!'

James' progress on the problem fluctuated, particularly in the last few sessions. Long boulder problems which are beta intensive and require good conditions can often feel doable on one day and impossible on another:

'I felt like some days I was just going backwards and other days it was just too humid to do the individual moves. It eventually came down to having an attempt where I got through to the finishing moves without being totally pumped!'

James on 'The World Is Yours' (8C) back in 2018  © Mark Davies
James on 'The World Is Yours' (8C) back in 2018
© Mark Davies

On the topic of grades, James has now climbed three Font 8Cs and eight 8B+s. Spray of Light (f8C) in Rocklands felt like a low end 8C to James and his own at Biblins Cave feel slightly harder. He believes that a lot of UK climbers are reluctant to give anything top end grades and this is certainly reflected in the number of problems at that level in the country.

'I feel like many climbers withhold from developing new problems because they are concerned about their "reputation" or their "image" being damaged if the problem gets downgraded. In my opinion, this is just stupid. If a boulder feels like 8C then you should give it 8C. There are so many strong climbers in the UK, and I think we would see a big increase in top end bouldering development if climbers didn't worry about what other people thought of them.'


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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 14 posts



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24 Jun, 2020

Nice one James, absolute Unit!

24 Jun, 2020

Old news innit.

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