His new problem is a sit-start to the existing crimpy wall climb of Handy Andy's (V7), and Tom has named it PaTina Turner and offered a suggested grade of 8B.
Tom told UKC:
"The sit start to Handy Andy's at Earl attracted my attention late last year but never seemed to be in condition when I visited. On at least half a dozen occasions it was sopping wet, whilst the remainder of the crag was dry - incredibly annoying.
I haven't been counting but I've probably had about half a dozen good sessions on it and could/should/wish I had done it several sessions earlier. The subtlety and skin thrashing nature of the problem thwarted all of those efforts until today.
It involves a hard move from sitting to a small, crimpy and painful pinch with the right hand. The foothold is pretty terrible and it took a while to figure out 'micro-beta' to help it stick. On so many occasions I thought it was secure only for it to pop on the next move. Then you have to place your left heel by your left hand and pull through to a foothold used on Handy Andy's. A couple of tricky moves and a tough cut-loose and you're joining the stand up. I think the problem had seen some attention over the years and it's satisfying to get it done, if not rather painful!
As usual, it always feels easier on the send than first envisaged but I'll stick my neck out and go with the 8B grade."
There's a short video of Tom on the problem, which he told us about:
"The vid shows multiple attempts...I could have added quite a few more failures to be honest! Please excuse the crap footage but I do have a proper HD camcorder in the post. It'd be nice to go back and get some different angles at some point."
We asked Tom if he had been up to anything else recently:
"A couple of weeks ago I was exploring the delights Whitehouses, a small but perfectly formed venue not far from Brimham. For the size of the place there are so many decent problems and link-ups; it's quite astonishing. The difficulty of the problems is surprising too, with not much below the 7A grade all the way to Katz's crazy 8B link. For the aspiring boulderer, it the perfect real rock training venue. It incorporates most aspects of hard bouldering in a bite size crag; better than any indoor wall for getting strong on the real stuff.
Amongst the mist of problems and link-ups I saw a gap and climbed the first ascent of Second Base (8A ish). I made a little vid, along with a rather amusing donkey, of the first ascent and a couple of other nice problem (Crazy Legs Crome, 7C+ and Whitefinger, 7C+). Respect to the keen locals; Andy Crome, Andy Swann, Mark Katz and other who have given such an array of quality problems and links to go at!"
Tom added an important point about a hold on the problem at Earl Crag:
"Not that anyone really does but just in case; just a polite request to try and avoid using the pinch hold as a foothold. It's quite flakey, which is fine for a handhold, but there's a chance it could snap or alter if used as a foothold. There's absolutely no need to use it as a foothold as plenty of alternatives but worth pointing out. If it did break it would probably leave a better hold, but no one wants that do they?"
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