Bold New Wimberry E9 for Nathan Lee

by Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor Oct/2013
This news story has been read 15,087 times

Nathan Lee has climbed the blank wall at Wimberry between Appointment with Fear and Appointment with Death to give a new route now named Unknown Stones. Nathan has graded the line E9 6c.

The route tackles the steep slab of gritstone via tenuous moves on pebbles, and is very bold.

Nathan Lee on the top crux of his new E9 'Unknown Stones' at Wimberry, 75 kb
Nathan Lee on the top crux of his new E9 'Unknown Stones' at Wimberry
© Neil Furniss

He has blogged about the ascent:

"As the days ticked by I felt more and more nauseous at the idea of returning, at the idea of climbing on that slab. I thought constantly about those tiny stones, each one of them a completely unknown quantity, and for all I knew held in by nothing more than a few square millimetres of coarse moorland grit. The week crawled to its conclusion, Friday was the day, it had been set in stone. There were people keen, the weather forecast was good, this was it. Until it wasn't. It drizzled most of the way there, on arrival the crag was damp in some places and sodden in others. This had not been forecast. In an act of blind and naive optimism we set about chalking and towelling the damp rock, after a few hours of no rain and a strong breeze the route had dried out enough to work the moves again. I was hesitant to try the slab, pebbles pull out of damp rock much more readily, and if I lost another of my confidants the route may cease to exist. Drier and drier the route became, the excuses were slowly dissipating on the breeze. Two more full links and I'd reached the magic number in my mind, five...

...Pull on, swing out, the crux mantle on Fear runs smoothly on the now dry slab. Stand in balance, tug the rope, its dragging. Commit to the next section of Fear, a balancy step through and rockover. Stood on the resting foothold the situation suddenly becomes all too real. My position, standing on the lip of this great axe of rock slicing clean through any thought of control. The option to doubt yourself there is immense and, like a certain slab in Wales, you have to choose to continue.

After a few tricky set up moves the long crux section is reached. Thumb down on one pebble, pull hard on pebbly crimp, reach over for a tiny pebble. Then its another tiny pebble, then a good pebble, undercut this to the good holds. Halfway through this sequence and I pause, the rope is dragging. I experience a feeling new to me within the realms of hard grit climbing, a complete lack of control. In that instant there is no choice to be made, instinct kicks in and you keep pulling, no matter how fragile the little quartz stumps. The good holds are reached about two metres below the top, and so begins the victory march. When the jug is reached I'm in no rush to top out. This route has dominated my thoughts for weeks, and now I let the relief wash over me. Even after topping out its a few seconds before the inevitable release of anguish. Lent on my knees at the top I wasn't sure that I had climbed the route with the respect it deserves, but perhaps it had let me off..."

  • You can read more on his blog (with more photos).

Nathan Lee is sponsored by: Boreal and Mammut

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