19-year-old Solly Kemball-Dorey has climbed his first Font 8B+ at Hartland Quay, Devon. The problem was a first ascent and links two of James Squires' problems - The Vault (Font 8B) and Autobahn (Font 8A+). He has named the problem The Speed of Light.
'The Speed of Light 8B+/V14 FA' - My first V14 and is a FA so does probably need some wad to approve but potentially the hardest boulder in the southwest ??? - This problem starts as for The Vault 8B climbs through (what I thought was) the crux and links into Autobahn 8A+ adding some interesting moves in-between. - Cheers for the 📸 @blochobbit and the psych. Vid will be out soon and probably go on the YouTube but will let you all know 🙏🙏🙏 - #climb #climbing_is_my_life #climbing_lovers #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_is_my_passion #climbersofinstagram #climbingtrip #climbinglife #climbing #boulder #bouldering #bouldering_videos_of_instagram #bouldering_pictures_of_instagram
In recent months, Solly has been making his way through some of the hardest problems in the south-west. Back in July, he climbed a Font 8B version of Revolt at Hartland. In September, he was back at Harland attempting The Vault (Font 8B) which was a six-month process for him. At Tintagel North, he climbed Alex Waterhouse's Merlin's beard, a Font 8B that Solly has described as 'a real head game.' He repeatedly fell off the final moves of the 21-move endurance-based problem before completing it at the end of September.
Finally 'Merlin's beard 8B' has went and I never have to go back to tintagle. After a year of trying this problem it just took a change of beta from @ruby_climb and it went first go from start tells you not to be stubborn. Cheers @kylewhitehand for 📸 #climb #climbing_is_my_life #climbing_lovers #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_is_my_passion #climbersofinstagram #climbingtrip #climbinglife #climbing #boulder #bouldering #bouldering_pictures_of_instagram
When he's not repeating climbs, Solly has an appetite for finding and developing new ones. He describes the possibilities in the south-west as 'endless.'
'New crags are being found every month or so on the coast because it's 100 odd miles of rock which is constantly changing every winter due to the storms. I enjoy getting first ascents as you get to climb something new and explore places where not many, if any, people have been. I have also climbed most of the boulders on the Culm Coast and don't have the time to be travelling constantly.'
Rusty gem 8A+ FA SO Physced to some how bag this lynmouth project, two insane moves which are nails into a scary top out in the dark. cheers for vid @ruby_climb and spot @kylewhitehand @brutusthebear After a hold breakage and being reglued it is now only 7C+ unfortunately due to new additions around the new hold#bouldering #boulder #boulderinglife #c_l_i_m_b #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_videos_of_instagram #climbingtrip #climbing_worldwide #climbing
His hardest first ascent so far is The Speed of Light, a link-up of the hardest moves on the Hartland Quay. He knew the individual sections well from his ascents of The Vault and Autobahn, but the difficulty meant that it still took 2-3 months to complete.
Solly has been climbing for the past ten years and was a competition climber for seven of them. In 2017, he dropped out of the GB development squad and took a trip to Switzerland with his coach, Tom Bunn, which drastically altered his focus. His improvement has been fast - in April of 2019, he climbed his first Font 8A+ and a year and a half later, he's nearly run out of climbs in the south-west!