On Sunday the 19th January, Ryan Pasquill made the second ascent of Sleepy Hollow, E10 7a, aka Headless Horseman Direct, at The Roaches. This was first climbed in December by Pete Whittaker who climbed it quickly, despite its obvious difficulty. (UKC News Report)
Ryan headed out the previous weekend with the intention of leading the route, but was thwarted by wet rock. This weekend everything went smoothly and he made a successful ascent after around three sessions on the route since Pete made the first ascent.
Ryan is no slouch on grit, having made a number of impressive ascents of hard routes, often onsight or ground-up in a very understated style. Ascents include; the first ascent of Gerty Berwick, E9 7a, Ilkley (UKC News Report), flashes of hard grit routes such as; Knockin' On Heaven's Door, E8 6c, Curbar (UKC News Report), Slab and Crack, E7/8, 6c, Curbar (UKC News Report), Gaia, E8 6c, Black Rocks, End of the Affair, E8 6c, Curbar, and Countdown to Disaster, E8 6c, Rocky Valley, (UKC News Report) to name just a few.
UKC got in contact with Ryan to find out more about his ascent and what motivated him to try it:
What inspired you to have a look at this line? Had you always wanted to do it, or was Pete's FA what got you motivated?
Ryan: I abseiled down it once a few years ago. I managed all the moves and knew it would go but I was a bit too hungover to really tell how hard it was. I headed back a couple weeks later for round two but the weather didn't play ball and it started snowing heavily before I had chance to get on it. I never made it back after that, I always had the intention but could never find my 'round tuit' (sorry, dad joke). When I heard Pete had done it, I thought 'Shit, another one bites the dust at the hands of Peter Whittaker'. I was very impressed and when I saw the pictures I was inspired to have another look.
How long did it take you? You climbed the route this Sunday, but had gone to attempt it last Saturday but been thwarted by a wet crag, had you had many more sessions on it?
Ryan: Well, if you exclude my ab inspection a few years previously then it took me three sessions. The first was a quick play at the end of a day of bouldering. I worked the moves and managed it in a oner but decided not to go for the lead as my skin was too trashed. The next time it was wet when we arrived. I spent some time trying to dry it and got it just about climbable, I was getting ready for the lead when 'of course' the heavens opened and it was wet again. Next time it was dry and I finished the job.
Pete found the climbing "thin, crimpy, pebbley and droppable on any move", how did you find the climbing?
Ryan: Pete's description of the route is spot on really. Its quite precarious climbing, if you fall off its usually because of a foot popping rather than fluffing a move. Your footholds are a mixture of poor smears and pebbles so its hard to make the climbing feel solid. Having the pads on the ledge certainly help to make it less committing.
Ryan'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.
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