23-year-old Molly Thompson-Smith has ticked her first 8B, Keen Roof at Raven Tor, in just two sessions. Molly is only the fourth British woman to climb 8B after Shauna Coxsey, Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and Frances Bensley.
Molly told UKC:
'Really psyched for this to have gone down so quickly - in my first session I was confident I could do it soon, but I've had climbs that I've thought this about and then have struggled on them for several sessions.'
Until yesterday, Molly's highest boulder grade was 8A. A quick tick of an 8B came as a surprise to Molly, even if she felt that the problem played to her strengths. She commented:
'I thought it would take me much longer to climb an 8B as I've only climbed a handful of 8A's so far...but that's climbing! So many different styles!
'I don't think Keen Roof could've suited me any more really - athletic moves on decent holds made easier by strong fingers.'
Watch footage of Molly's ascent on Instagram:
Last year, Molly onsighted 8b sport in Austria (UKC News), climbed multiple routes from 8b-8c in the Frankenjura (UKC News) and redpointed 8b+ in day in Margalef (UKC News). She also qualified for finals in the IFSC European Championships Olympic qualifier event in Moscow in November, and now has her sights set on Paris 2024.
Dividing her time between training for competitions as a GB Climbing Team member and performing on rock, Molly has so far had limited opportunity to attempt and work on the grades above her personal bests. She summed up:
'I've only started thinking about and trying harder boulders/routes recently, so it was a nice confidence boost to keep trying things that I think will be too hard for me!'
'Nice to prove myself wrong every now and again,' Molly commented on Instagram.