Andi Turner has just climbed the first ascent of one of the 'Last Great Problems' of Staffordshire gritstone, the prow directly below The Press at Ramshaw. Andi has been trying the line for the last 5 years, he has named it Reg and tentatively graded it E7 7a.
Andi first tried the line straight up, but as holds were lost, Andi began traversing into the route from Night of Lust. Andy described the climbing on Reg:
"The last move is real heart in mouth glide using a terrible wide pinch. The way I do it requires a bit of precision in that for a split second you're not really holding on anything, just using the momentum of letting a toe hook drop off to propel you up. I had a few pads and three spotters, the pads were two deep in the middle and good for dropping off, but likely useless in the event of fluffing the last move. The guys had all said they'd catch me, but Mark Sharratt told me afterwards that his plan was to basically get out of my way if I messed up...Thankfully, third go was charm and I held the top hold. My first go being thwarted by the sun in my eyes, and my second was just a typical bottling."
Andi's original name for the route was Pity, after a comment made by Adam Long upon hearing that Andi was trying the moves on a shunt. However, after chatting to Adam, who revealed that he wasn't dissapointed in Andi, but simply pitied him, Andi decided to name the line after his late Jack Russell who had accompanied him many times to Ramshaw and loved heading out to the crags. Andi commented on the level of obsession that this particular first ascent drove him to:
"It's a massive achievement for me, and has really captivated me for several years, I've had a constant paranoia that I would lose the line to someone else. Especially as time wore on and I had invested more and more time into it. I would regularly do a drive-by of the crag on my lunch time to make sure no one was up there! I do feel very free now and happy to go somewhere different on a nice day for a change!
I finally made a pledge this year to do it and after another "close" attempt three weeks ago vowed not to drink until I had it in the bag which was a big deal for a habitual drinker like myself. Twenty days on the wagon and the route was mine, I was at the pub a couple of hours later! It tasted sweet!"
Andy was unsure of the grade of the line but did give the following explanation of his thoughts on the difficulty of the route:
"I imagine it's font 7C or thereabouts and a bit wild and high. It's worth an E grade somewhere between 6 and 8 perhaps, but it's just really hard to tell. At the end of the day, I've still not climbed Charlie's Overhang, so it could be E2, but if someone put a gun to my head I'd say E7 7a, but I suppose the next ascentionist should be in a better position to say. For me it was E8, for the next climber it could be E6 I guess. But really all I'm bothered about is that I was lucky enough to get up it, such a mega line!"
Andi's ascent was captured by Guy Van Greuning and will be featured in Guy's forthcoming film 'Gritual', documenting a winter in the Peak District. Thanks to Guy for providing the screen-shots.
Andi Turner is sponsored by: Boreal, Finger Buzz and The Climbing Factory
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