Harriet Ridley repeats The Quarryman (E8 7a)

© Ray Wood

Harriet Ridley has climbed The Quarryman (E8 7a) in Twll Mawr, in the Llanberis slate quarries, completing all four pitches in a single push.

The infamous groove pitch is relatively easy to access and features quite unique climbing, however, very few climbers have repeated the route in a single push. The first was Steve McClure in 2011 and only a handful – including Caro Ciavaldini, James Pearson, Angus Kille, and Hazel Findlay – have done the same.

Harriet on the infamous '8a' groove pitch  © Ray Wood
Harriet on the infamous '8a' groove pitch

Harriet had been looking at the route with her partner Kris over the last couple of months, enjoying the focus of a project and having the goal of climbing all the pitches in a day. On her motivation to climb the route, she told UKC:

'I find the slate intimidating, and it took a bit of time before I believed myself capable of doing the route; in part because I found the climbing difficult, but also because I thought some of the runouts would push me too far beyond my comfort zone. I guess that was part of my motivation—to see if I could operate in that uncomfortable territory.

'As I gained confidence my comfort zone boundaries started to shift, but I was still pretty gripped in the days beforehand. I was in a constant state of fight or flight for about 48 hours before attempting the route—it can't have been good for my health. For me, the challenge was as much mental as physical, and I'm really pleased to have managed that effectively.'

Harriet is the 3rd woman to climb the four pitches in day  © Ray Wood
Harriet is the 3rd woman to climb the four pitches in day

Due to the 'thin, powerful, and precarious' nature of the climbing, Harriet approached the day by only thinking about the first pitch: 'I really wasn't sure I'd manage it, so it was super exhilarating to pull it off. After that, I took it pitch by pitch.'

The line breaks down in an E6, E5, the '8a' groove, and a 7c+ slab to finish. She had led the groove pitch a few days before, so felt confident on that but it still required an exceptional balance of effort and technique.

Harriet's partner Kris was abroad, so she was joined by her friend Libby Peter and Martyn Eade, who helped to reduce stress levels during the ascent.

'The day was a lot of fun. No falls and relatively smooth, with a small bit of big-wall style rope faff and an unplanned pit-stop to change my shoes part-way across the second pitch.'

Harriet lives on Anglesey and works part-time for an educational outreach company and part-time as a self-employed potter.

She is sponsored by Mountain Equipment and DMM. Follow her on Instagram here.

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7 Jun, 2022

Great work. It’s good to hear of relatively unknown (to me, anyway) climbers having the wherewithal to get on this sort of thing and succeed. Also interesting to hear about the mental approach used; we can all copy that at whatever our level might be.


7 Jun, 2022

An easy day for a lady?

7 Jun, 2022

Well done!

It amuses me that the Fire Escape (can't do the accent) was billed as the easy alternative finish and gas zero logbook ascents!

7 Jun, 2022

Well done Harriet!

10 Jun, 2022

And of course it might be that we will here a lot more from her in the future.

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