UKC

First Ascent of Anapanasati E9 6c by Matt Helliker

© Matt Helliker

Matt Helliker has added a new E9 6c to Doyden Point in North Cornwall, which he has named Anapanasati.

On the lead on Anapanasati E9 6c.  © Matt Helliker
On the lead on Anapanasati E9 6c.
© Matt Helliker

The line involves "brilliant sustained climbing, with tricky gear but on mainly good rock," Matt said. He added that it nonetheless remains a "serious and fragile" route.

Matt wrote on Instagram that if the line were on a solid limestone seacliff (such as Pembroke), then he would have graded it hard E8 with its 7c+ climbing and a droppable 7B boulder sequence above a very big run out.

However, due to the rock quality on the sea cliff being suspect, Matt felt he had to account for another level of danger. He explained:

"If you were to take the 12m fall from the crux, it would be onto a fragile, hollow block which has moved a few cms since I have been working the route. If the block broke off, there is ground fall potential. So, until this has been tested, I think easy E9 is more appropriate."

Matt answered a few questions about the process and his climbing in recent years.


This is your second E9 since The Big Issue in 2019 (UKC News). What have you been up to in the meantime? How do you divide your time between Chamonix and the UK?

I've been back in the UK for the past few months. I still do base myself in Chamonix, but I'm not a huge fan of being there in the summer months. It's too busy and hot and I just love being at home climbing by the sea and watching the sunsets on the north coast. I prefer the Alps in winter for alpinism, mixed climbing and sking, it's really for me what the mountains are about, and besides I like to mix up all the disciplines so it keeps it fresh. 

Matt Helliker working Anapanasati E9 6c.   © Sam Ingles
Matt Helliker working Anapanasati E9 6c.
© Sam Ingles

How and when did you discover the line, and how long did it take you to do it?

I've mostly been bouldering these past few months, there is a great crew in the SW so I've been out with my friends a lot, and there is such good quality things to go at. I also needed to get stronger for these harder trad routes I wanted to do, so once I'd bouldered The Vault 8B/V13 at Hartland a few weeks back, I knew some fitness was coming! Although I had to top up a little route fitness for trad, being stronger I've definitely felt I need less "fitness" for routes for sure.

I found Anapanasati last September after a tip off from Dave Pickford. He mentioned an unclimbed line at Doydon Point, though actually I ended up rapping the wrong wall! Dave was like "God no not that wall, that's for the future" but I was already invested! It took quite some time though for the lead to come around, not because it needed lots of sessions but because it needed lots of cleaning, holds came and went and because of the steepness and far-apart gear I was having to down aid to get into the base on a big diagonal through a roof, so it really wasn't an easy thing to work. 

Also I found it incredibly conditions-dependent, so some days I would go expecting it to be dry, but I would arrive only to find it seeping in random places or the swell was too big, or the sun wasn't strong enough to burn off the smegg or it was too strong and it condensed, making for impossible conditions. So I honestly feel that half the trips were complete junk miles and very frustrating. 

Also the rock in places is fragile so I always wanted it to be totally dry, especially around the key gear for the crux, in a block that moved quite a bit over the time of working the route. I even had sand pouring out the back of it at one point, so yes it's a serious proposition, with this rock type, a brittle pillow lava.

Wild waves off Cornwall's Atlantic Coast.   © Sam Ingles
Wild waves off Cornwall's Atlantic Coast.
© Sam Ingles

How did you decide on the name?

The name Anapanasati means "mindfulness of breath" and for me because of the seriousness of the route I really had to be in the right headspace. It was interesting as on the day I sent the route the wind was howling, literally perfect conditions, but I honestly have no recollection of this — I was completely in that place I needed to be, very relaxed yet focused. The name also fits in nicely with some of the other routes on this wall and in the area, all coming from a very spiritual place, as for me this coastline in the SW is very much that. 

You write about more potential - what's your eye on now? 

This coastline really is the Wild West. There is literally still a lifetime of projects at all grades to go at, you just need to look. I've already found the next thing, and yep it's incredible!


This post has been read 5,074 times

Return to Latest News


Matt’s life has been shaped by mountains and coastlines, from the sea cliffs of Great Britain to Scotland's winter mountains, the European Alps to the Greater Ranges of the Himalayas, South America and Alaska....

Matt's Athlete Page 20 posts 1 video



20 Jul, 2023

Matt wrote on Instagram that if the line were on a solid limestone seacliff (such as Pembroke), then he would have graded it hard E8 with its 7c+ climbing and a droppable 7D boulder sequence above a very big run out.

7D Boulder sequence?

20 Jul, 2023

The 7th Dimension of course:

The Seventh Dimension is an inter-dimensional reality that exists outside of the normally accepted space/time continuum.

Different laws of physics prevent a person normally moving into that place. The time also flows differently here: each 1 hour spent in the Seventh Dimension is equivalent to 1 minute in our world.

Obviously, Matt had to enter the 7D to give him enough time to recover between each hard sequence.

20 Jul, 2023

Shoulda called it Anne'spastys in homage of the jewel of the county

20 Jul, 2023

The 3rd photo is great - very atmospheric!

20 Jul, 2023

Now corrected to 7B. Unless the rest of the route is relatively straightforward, to my mind a 7B crux suggests a bit more than 7c+ but someone climbing those grades might correct me. Anyway, great to see a hard new route in the SW.

More Comments
Loading Notifications...
Facebook Twitter Copy Email