Orrin Coley climbs new 8B+ at Forest Rock

by Nick Brown - UKC May/2017
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Orrin Coley has climbed a long standing project at Forest Rock in Leicestershire. Orrin has graded the problem Font 8B+, although it is extremely long for a boulder problem and could potentially settle at a f8c+/9a grade. The problem is called Ladybird Orgy after a huge gathering of the insects took place at the crag.

Orrin likens Ladybird Orgy to Belly of the Beast and Never Ending Story. All are extensions and significantly longer than the average boulder problem. In 2012, David Skoczylas did the first ascent of In Search Of Blame (8A) and the year after, Johnny Argue added a further extension calling it In Search Of Tyler (8A+). Orrin’s problem links these two problems together and adds another hard 7C+ (Missing ink). Orrin said: “If I had to break it down without going too in depth, you climb a 7C+ into a 7C+ into an 8A.

Orrin told UKC that he went through a long battle on the project:

“My process of working it kind of happened by accident I suppose. I went in march 2015 intending to climb elsewhere but didn't manage to so I just naturally ended up in the cave and thought I'd give "In Search Of Blame" a go since I was there and surprised myself by doing it fairly quick, having found the huge spanned crux impossible previously. I knew straight away I would try to do "In Search Of Tyler" next and then, hopefully, the project.

“I managed "In Search of Tyler" just over a month later after a few sessions working it. I set to work on the project the same night I sent that, but didn't really have any idea how hard I would have to push myself in the end. There where so many different factors I ended up having to work with to even consider sending it. Firstly, it took me over a year to figure out the beta to "Missing Ink." I know that sounds mad, but it has a totally insane sequence. It's so so cool, involving a massive bicycle into a huge rose which just sounds mad, but it really is the only way it’s possible!”

Orrin also had to contend with the fickle conditions in the slate cave, where it is either good or everything is wet – but rarely perfect. There is often only a small window every year where you can climb on the problem without the holds being wet.

“My sequence ended up being about 34 hand movements, which maybe would have been okay if it wasn't so Damn hard! I thought at the end of 2016 I'd manage it and Invested a crazy amount of time into it while conditions where good but it just wasn't enough. So as soon as conditions got even remotely good this year I just sieged the hell out of it.

“I got super close before the Switzerland World Cup but just fluffed it. Once I got back I had about 2 weeks before leaving for the Asian rounds of the World Cup and I just couldn't leave it. I had never been so close I could practically taste it, so every spare moment I went there to try it. There where even times I couldn't even climb because of conditions but still went just to look at it and see if I could figure any micro beta to help.”

Speaking of the grade, Orrin believes it justifies 8B+, although would not complain if someone suggested a route grade.

“I put loads of thought into the grade. It's kind of a tough thing to grade being a long traverse. It was obviously harder than anything I'd ever done before, but differently so because of the endurance required.

“So I tried a few other climbs of similar length and difficulty to gauge an idea such as "Belly of the Beast", "The Never Ending Story" both long 8B+ boulders and although I didn't do them in the short time I tried them I knew straight away this was up there if not harder, at least for me. But I also asked friends of mine who had either worked parts of this with me or done similar length things. To be honest I got told 8c+/9a sport grade by quite a few people! But I also had a few friends agreeing on my hunch of 8B+ boulder. If anyone ever came and managed to send it, but disagreed on the grade I've suggested or even suggest a route grade (which maybe could be more accurate?) it wouldn't bother me. The grade isn't what drove me to do this. It was about the challenge, I had history with the climb and the cave. Maybe it's not a king line but I created this dream on my first ever visit to Forest Rock, my home crag. I went there for the first time with my friend Will Smith when we where younger. And saw this climb among many others which had never been climbed and thought it looked crazy, maybe impossible.”

Orrin is sponsored by: Evolv, Metolius and prAna

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