The Final Round E9 6c by Maddy Cope

© Maddy Cope

Maddy Cope has repeated Tom Randall's The Final Round (E9 6c) E9 6c on Dovedale. This is only the third ascent after Jordan Buys' first repeat in 2016.

The line is the hardest trad lead in the Peak, with 8b climbing. It features a bold start into the crux of Eye of the Tiger E7 6b before moving left and direct up the wall past a couple of breaks to easier ground.

Maddy had already climbed Eye of the Tiger last year and was impressed by the quality of the line. When lockdown eased, Maddy was feeling fit after training on her cellar board and was keen to opt for less popular crags. She told UKC:

'Ollie [Maddy's partner] really wanted to try Eye of the Tiger, so I just thought I would take a look at Final Round whilst we were there. I guess it wasn't exactly on my radar or high on a ticklist, but the restrictions made me take another look at this cliff!'

Maddy tried the route on and off and it took her a longer time than expected for various reasons. She explained:

'After working it initially, I felt good to have a lead go but with the BMC's appeal for us to not add to the stress the NHS was under with any climbing accidents it wasn't a good time to try and lead it. It's not mega dangerous but I would have struggled to say it was well within my comfort zone! So I backed away for a bit.'

When the situation eased, Maddy returned to hot and humid conditions and decided to leave it until it was cooler. In the meantime, she enjoyed trips to Pembroke, ticking Murcia Wall E8 6c at Stennis Ford and building up mileage before heading back to Ilam last month. Maddy told UKC:

'I then had a lead go maybe a month ago and fell at the top crux (which was the hardest bit for me). Finally I went back yesterday... I think I often try a route and then keep trying it until I do it in quite a short period of time so this was different. I had to re-work it, remind myself of the gear, and then relax enough to give it a lead go yesterday. But I was climbing with Mina [Leslie-Wujastyk] and we were probably chattering too much for me to overthink it!'

The top crux was a stopper move for Maddy. She said:

'You move between two breaks and there is one pocket in the wall. It took me a while to work this out, but it was a great sequence to be committing to with the nice steep wall beneath me.'

This is Maddy's third E9, adding to her ascents of Once Upon a Time in the South West E9 6c and Prinzip Hoffnung E9/10 (8b+). Comparing the line to her previous ticks, she commented:

'The route is probably just as good as the other E9s I have tried. It's hard to compare them as OUAT was easier climbing but scarier, and Prinzip was harder climbing than OUAT but pretty safe, and I think Final Round sits in that category for me - at the harder, sportier end of things. Except the bottom is bold (partly because the ground drops away!) but I think the climbing lower down suits me well so I didn't find it too scary.'

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Maddy has made a name for herself on hard and bold trad climbing. She has made ascents of Dave Birkett's Once Upon a Time in the South West (E9 6c) and Beat Kammerlander's Prinzip Hoffnung...

Madeleine's Athlete Page 14 posts 4 videos

9 Sep, 2020

Like the description on PlanetMountain, i.e.

Britain’s Madeleine Cope and Emma Twyford have both repeated an E9 trad route by climbing, respectively, The Final Round at Illam Rock in England and Chupacabra at Pembroke in Wales.

E9 represents pretty much the upper echelon of British trad climbing, it’s a grade that extremely few have mastered and which sits just below what, currently, is deemed physically and psychologically possible.

Not that we needed telling how impressive these types of climbs are, but nice that the `world' gets to know.

10 Sep, 2020

Well, it seems that perhaps we do need telling, because I'm really surprised by the apparent lack of interest in and response to this news.

I think it's an amazing achievement for Maddy, especially considering this is only the third ascent in 5 years of a route "believed to be the hardest limestone trad climb in the Peak District and graded HXS 8a+/b" in the UKC database.

10 Sep, 2020

32 likes isn't insignificant for a simple 'look at the route that someone repeated' article.

E9 being very impressive, happens quite frequently. sort of like 9a. unfathomably hard for most, but common enough that people can be impressed without going into hyperbolic praise.

10 Sep, 2020

IIRC, Beth Rodden climbed some crazy hard finger crack that converted somewhere around E10.

10 Sep, 2020

There must be a lot more women who have climbed E9 equivalent trad routes on a foreign grading system though?

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