Ethan Walker has been hitting the Peak Limestone hard in this recent good weather, and has come away with quick ascents of a lot of routes within the '8th' grade, from classics such as Mecca, 8b+, and Waddage, 8b, through to early repeats of routes such as Karma Killer, 8b, and Techno Prisoners, 8b+.
To begin with, Ethan concentrated on Raven Tor. Having previously focused on shorter routes, Ethan turned his attention to the longer routes of the crag. To get the best conditions, Ethan headed to the crag early in the morning, soon bagging an ascent of Waddage, an 8b that takes the full height of Raven Tor, climbing Chimes of Freedom, 8a+, before powering through the upper bulge with a big dyno move. Commenting on redpointing Waddage, Ethan said:
"The feeling of being up so high and having climbed so many moves in a row is exhilarating and I can now see what I've been missing out on all these years!"
Ethan then turned his attention to the classic power endurance test piece of Raven Tor, Mecca - The Midlife Crisis, 8b+. After sorting out his sequence, he began redpointing, getting further each go, Ethan found himself falling from the finishing crack when his foot popped. Returning for another session, Ethan managed to redpoint Mecca, describing his ascent he said:
"This time I made sure my feet were well placed and crimped up as hard as I could on the last moves and I was then left with the absolute joy of clipping the belay on this classic test piece. A lifetime dream, a route I've looked up at and wondered about since I first visited the Tor as a kid, was complete, and it felt damn good!"
Next up, Ethan headed to Water-Cum-Jolly to look at Karma Killer, 8b, first climbed by Tony Coutts, the route waited 10 years before seeing a repeat from Jon Clark. Ethan described the quality and nature of the route:
"It has been on my ever growing 'wish list' for some time and I finally went to give it a serious look back in May, but then it got wet so I turned my attention to other things... The crux revolves around a small, thin, 'cornflake' undercut and a one pad mono... it is a pretty unique rig and wouldn't be out of place in the Frankenjura. I was incredibly pleased and slightly bewildered to get this done and make the 4th(?) ascent. It's firmly up there with my favourite ticks without a doubt and I'd highly recommend it."
Once the summer started to really heat up, Chee Dale became the place to be and Ethan followed the conditions here also, returning to Gran Techo, 8b, a route he had tried previously. First climbed by Kristian Clemmow, Gran Techo, meaning 'big roof' in Spanish, crosses a large roof. After sending the route quickly, Ethan decided to look at Bob Hickish's direct; Techno Prisoners, 8b+, known for its reachy moves. Ethan described the effort he put into his actual redpoint ascent:
"I've had to try enormously hard on routes many a time, but my effort on Techno Prisoners seem to eclipse previous endeavours. It literally felt like the fight of my life! I could have dropped every move after the crux so easily, spat into the waiting void behind me. Maybe the next try would have gone better if I had blown it, and quite often I prefer to climb something with the feeling of being in total cruise control on every move. But to have tried so hard and succeed makes it all the more sweeter.
A big shout out has to be given to Kristian for all the hard work he puts in on establishing first ascents and re-equipping lines. He does A LOT! His Gran Techo rig is a total dream and I hope to see lots of people getting on it. Also cheers to Bob for having the vision and motivation to put up Prisoners!"
Ethan has also climbed the following stand-out routes in the past month:
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