Arya, 7B+ FA for Jemma Powell

by Duncan Campbell - UKC May/2014
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Jemma Powell making the first ascent of Arya, 7B+, Rhiw Goch, 144 kb
Jemma Powell making the first ascent of Arya, 7B+, Rhiw Goch
© Alex Mason

North Wales-based Jemma Powell has just made the first ascent of a hard new problem at Rhiw Goch in the Conwy Valley. Jemma has called the problem Arya and graded it 7B+, though feels it may well be harder.

Six sessions after first trying the line with warm temperatures preventing numb fingers, Jemma topped out on one of the hardest boulder problems she has ever done. Jemma described the day:

"It was sunny and I was able to climb in a T-shirt. I knew I wouldn’t have many goes in me, as my skin was still thin. It never properly healed the whole time that I was trying the problem. Just before my third go of the day I thought of some of the things that Kieran King had said to me during our last session. I brushed the holds (what I like to call a psychological brush) and for the first time, I consciously looked at all of the top holds before I set off. For some reason, I knew I was going to do the problem on this attempt."

Jemma first tried the problem in early March after flashing the line to the left, Moria, 7B. Jemma's first few sessions were thwarted by poor skin and difficulties with her Raynaud's phenomenon as she explained further:

"I suffer quite badly with Raynauds, which affects my circulation. Consequently, I often find it difficult to thaw out my fingers. They go white and numb and often don’t get warm again until I’m back in the car. It is at this point that I sometimes wish I am at home, cuddled up on the sofa and watching a film with Max and Alex. I often have an intrinsic battle at times like these; where I feel guilty that I’m not at home fulfilling my duties as a Mum."

Jemma has called the line Arya after a character in the popular series 'Game of Thrones', Arya is a fiercely independent woman, reflecting the fierce, crimpy nature of the climbing and also it being independent from other lines on the block. Commenting further on the grade, she said:

"I've only given Arya 7B+, as I haven't done any 7Cs yet. I do think it might be harder. I have been doing 7Bs and 7B+s fairly quickly. I flashed Moria, 7B, and I did Wonderwall, 7B, in the Crafnant valley in about five goes. Arya took six, skin ravaging sessions."

Jemma Powell making a hard move to a thin slot on Arya, 7B+, Rhiw Goch
© Alex Mason


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