Ben Bransby climbs Rylstone Highball

by Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC Mar/2009
This news story has been read 9,041 times
Ben Bransby on his highball at Rylstone, Yorkshire, 177 kb
Ben Bransby on his highball at Rylstone, Yorkshire
© Adam Long - No reproduction without permission of photographer
Ben Bransby has climbed the long standing highball project to the right of Cocoa Team Special at Rylstone, Yorkshire.

The blunt gritstone arête looks completely unclimbable and has been a well known last great project for Yorkshire gritstone climbers for many years.

Ben has suggested a grade of Font 8A+, however he notes that: "I am crap at grading and a rather unusual height and style of climber so it could easily be harder or easier. It is very good though."

Ben is no stranger to esoteric Yorkshire gritstone new routes, with his finely named classic first ascents such as Pigeon (E6) at Hawkcliff, Dougie Lampkin (E6) at Earl Crag, Right Cheeky (E6/7) at Almscliff and others.

Ben said he was inspired to climb the problem after reading Jerry Moffat's new biography:

"I got Jerry's book so decided to 'be like Jerry' and went on a diet for 3 weeks and spent about 10 hours a day visualising the problem."

Ben first checked out the problem on abseil just over one year ago and decided that the top section was definitely possible, however he didn't look at the lower moves as the weather was so bad. After a couple more visits abseiling the line in very poor weather, Ben linked the higher section at around Font 7B+/7C, but "never got very far with the crux and never even tried the bottom few moves."

The Cocoa Team Special Boulder - Ben Bransby's new problem marked, 80 kb
The Cocoa Team Special Boulder - Ben Bransby's new problem marked
© TimS

Ben Bransby topping out on his as yet unnamed highball at Rylstone, Yorkshire, 136 kb
Ben Bransby topping out on his as yet unnamed highball at Rylstone, Yorkshire
© Adam Long
This winter saw a few visits with a bouldering mat and eventually he unlocked the sequence.

"I walked up last Friday and it was all looking like it would be pretty damp, in fact you couldn't see the boulder from the wall 15m away - we nearly got lost on the walk in. Surprisingly it was all dry and the nicest temps and wind I had had up there.
I chucked a rope down the top and did the top section, then failed on the 7A+ to the right, failed on Cocoa Team Special and then did the arête first go!"

The boulder, which is one of the most aesthetic on Yorkshire gritstone, is home to the famed Cocoa Team Special V10, (pictured on the photo topo above), a blank wall leading to an enticing hand/offwidth crack. This 6 metre problem was first climbed using combined tactics, known as a Czech Stand back in 1984 by Craig Smith, who climbed on the backs of Greg Rimmer and Dave Humberstone to reach the crack. It was then free climbed by Tim Clifford in 1995 after Robin Barker had climbed through the lower crux but fallen from the upper jamming crack.

Cocoa Team Special was named after a supper club in Leeds, dubbed the Cocoa Team and frequented by climbers of the era including Martin Berzins, Steve Rhodes, Greg Rimmer, Craig Smith and Mick Ryan.

Ben hasn't come up with a name for his problem yet.

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