Nathan Phillips has flashed Ropes of Maui (8B) in Llanberis Pass. This is the hardest flash of a boulder problem on British soil. Tyler Landman flashed an unnamed 8B in Valais, back in 2008 - noting that it felt 'soft' for the grade. Nathan went onto consolidate the rest of the day with ascents of Diesel Power and Mr Fantastic.
Nathan describes Ropes of Maui as "a fairly long boulder, so none of the moves are super hard - it's just about getting everything right. The moves are quite shouldery and there's a tricky heelhook that could easily slip." Nathan had planned to put a "good amount of effort into the flash go," preparing by watching videos of the climb and visualising specific foot placements. "When we arrived at the boulder I could remember most of it, but as it's quite long I had to improvise a little for some of it."
Flashing 8B is something Nathan has wanted to do for a while, but he says we can expect more from him in the future - "there are always bigger and better things to do and more goals to set. I am feeling really good at the moment and it's definitely showing on the rock. The British Champs are not too far away and then I go to Rocklands for a month, which I'm really excited for! Nathan has achieved an impressive amount for a 22 year old, winning a youth World Cup and competing in the seniors for several seasons already, as well as climbing Font 8B+.
Several Brits have come close to flashing 8B on other occassions; Ned Feehally has done several on his second attempt, Dan Varian did Khéops in Font on his second attempt and Dave Barrans climbed through the crux on Ropes of Maui, only to fall higher up. Nathan's ascent is particularly impressive due to the long and complicated nature of the problem and there are lots of opportunities to fall off, particularly higher up after the crux, where the holds aren't particularly obvious.
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