Serenata, 8C, for Sam Prior

© Sam Prior

Sam Prior has climbed Serenata (f8C), 8C, on Impossible Roof at Roche Abbey.

Serenata links together two pre-existing 8B+ boulders, beginning with the sit start of Serendipity (f8B+) - established by Dan Varian in 2008 - and finishing up Serenade (f8B+) - established by Ned Feehally in 2014.

The boulder revolves around a big crossover from a poor undercut, before moving into powerful moves on limestone slopers. The link-up was first climbed by Mike Adams in 2015, and has since seen ascents from top boulderers including Ned Feehally and Will Bosi. 

In addition to a further four boulders at 8B+, Sam climbed both Serendipity and Serenade on his way to climbing Serenata, which represents new ground for him as his first boulder at 8C. 

Sam on Serenity (f8B), the standing start to Serendipity (f8B+).

'Having climbed Serendipity almost three years ago, I always had it in the back of my mind as something I could possibly do', Sam told UKC. 

'When I did Serendipity it felt so close to my limit and took so much out of me that I really couldn't face sitting under that boulder for a single extra second. I put it off for too long, thinking that I wasn't good enough to be trying something that hard'.

'When I finally did get back to it I was pleasantly surprised to have the pieces slot into place over a couple of weeks and for the moves to feel so much easier than they had in the past'.

'It's been great to have seen some tangible progress this year, despite not actively seeking it, but perhaps that's the secret?'

Whilst Sam may not have been actively seeking progress, 2023 has been quite the year for him. In addition to having climbed his first 8C, he has established an 8B+ link up at Raven Tor (Miller's Dale), climbed ten boulders at 8B, and a further three at 8B+.

Check out our interview with Sam from earlier in the year, where he spoke about the delicate balance between work, fatherhood, and climbing, as well as the new perspective that fatherhood had helped him shape in relation to climbing.

At the very end, he even mentions plans to 'head back to impossible roof and have a bash at Serenata'...

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5 Dec, 2023

Maybe an appropriate place to recommend Sam’s podcast with Aidan Roberts, Careless Talk. Their recent episode with Billy and Alex following their ascent of The Nose is great.

5 Dec, 2023

Is the access still sensitive at Roche Abbey? The RAD notes from this year read: "These crags do not have agreed access. The landowner has concerns with climbing on his land, and any publicity about the crags, or an increase in use, will result in an immediate and enforced ban. Quiet, low-key use is currently tolerated - please do not do anything to jepordize this."

Roche Abbey

It sounds like it's one not to publicise on ukc, unless the situation has improved.

5 Dec, 2023

I don't think anything has officially changed but I've climbed there loads of times both day time and with lamps and never been challenged, neither has anyone else I know. I think the grade range stops the masses. Those with plenty of experience know to keep a low profile and keep it clean. As long as noone starts topping out the problems between gypsy lane and the abbey I suspect we will continue to be ignored.

(Worth noting that sometimes the gate gets shut to the beef buttress car park in the evening so park on gypsy lane to avoid getting locked in.)

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