UKC

Mission Impossible E9 7a by Angus Kille

© Ray Wood

Angus Kille has made the fourth ascent of Neil Carson's Mission Impossible (E9 7a)​ E9 7a at Gallt Yr Ogof, Ogwen Valley, North Wales. The route is adequately protected by old pegs interspersed with small runners.

Angus Kille on Mission Impossible E9 7a.   © Ray Wood
Angus Kille on Mission Impossible E9 7a.
© Ray Wood

'I tried Mission Impossible long enough to really understand the name,' Angus told UKC.

The line has seen few ascents over the years, likely because it requires various elements to come together at the right time. Angus explained:

'You need about a week without rain for it to be completely dry and that very rarely happens in Wales unless it's lockdown. Apart from the conditions, it's also relentlessly steep and after making it most of the way up the wall the boulder problem crux feels unlikely. Trying to align weather with the fitness I needed to climb about 8b on gear, and then trying to keep my head knowing I only had a handful of chances each year, was quite a test.'

To increase his chances of being able to tick his project within a shorter time period, Angus figured out a slightly contrived sequence. He said:

'In the end I found a tiny crimp that avoided the wet hold. Hazel (Findlay) and James (Taylor) thought I was daft as it was a bigger reach and a much smaller hold, but it tripled the number of days in the year I could attempt the route so I learnt to climb it that way.'

The line is perched high above Ogwen Valley beside the classic E7 Heart of Stone. Describing the climbing, Angus told UKC:

'The moves in the crux are wild and run-out, you're doing long slaps between side pulls and jamming in slots on this perfect mountain rock. It's also safe, you just need to be fit and psyched. It's definitely one of the best hard routes in Wales.'

When Angus eventually made it to the top move, he was 'so pumped and adrenalised' from the crux run-out that he took a heart-breaking whipper with his hand on top of the crag. He explained:

'I had to have a few words with myself (and Hazel) to not let that affect my next attempt, as I'd be lucky to have another chance this year. I climbed much smoother on the second go, sent the route and was actually really glad to do all those moves again, it's such good climbing. I think my head is often still the limiting factor on hard routes like this, even when they're dead safe.'

The two previous ascents after Neil Carson's first were made by James McHaffie (2009) and Oli Grounsell (2016).


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Angus Kille is a British climber and AMI Mountaineering Instructor based in North Wales. Angus is famous for ascents of hard UK trad routes, including The Indian Face, and has also climbed sport 8c.

Angus's Athlete Page 13 posts 2 videos


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21 Sep, 2020

Pretty sure Ste McClure has done it too

21 Sep, 2020

‘You need about a week without rain for it to be completely dry and that very rarely happens in Wales unless it's lockdown.’

Didn’t know the weather abided by Boris Johnson’s lockdown rules.

22 Sep, 2020

Whatever happened to Neil Carson?

He was doing super hard stuff years ago, then disappeared.

22 Sep, 2020

Don't think so. He fell off the onsight (wet holds) and it seems he never went back.

22 Sep, 2020

There's an interesting and recent interview with him on ukb.

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