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Gordon soloing Unclimbed Wall, Harrison's Rocks, 1982
© Gordon Stainforth
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That rope is not ours. I remember being really pissed off about it. It had been more or less abandoned by some party for quite a long time. It was hanging straight down UW and I flicked it as far as possible to the right, so that it got hooked on various tree roots and things. It was doubly annoying because it removed the purity of it and also presented a potentially disastrous temptation. I would much rather it hadn't been there, because anyone who has done the route will know you couldn't possibly save yourself on the crux by trying to grab it. The crucial ironstone flake finishing hold that I have just reached is v near one's limit in terms of rightward reach, which is just why many people come off there. For some reason I can't remember, it's very hard to get your left foot much further right than that, and your left hand is on the potentially explosive, very rounded and polished 'bear claw' hold. Many of the holds used to have names in the old days (eg, the letterbox hold on Birchden Wall that snapped off in about 1970) - I wonder if they still do?
Gordon Stainforth - 11/May/07
it was still being refered to as the "bear claw" hold a couple of years ago when i climbed this. i had gotten to the hold and was contemplating the next move when two older climbers walked pass and offered me some advice which i took. cant remember exactly what it was but it worked a treat! it wasn't a solo ascent i hasten to add!
ROFFER - 07/Feb/08
Glad to hear that the hold is still called that!
Gordon Stainforth - 07/Feb/08
Just last October I heard it reffered to as the Bear Paw. If it's of any interest to you this route was the first 5b that I self belayed on (using a gri gri) and it's impossible to take in around that move. I get really bunched up to make the crux reach which made for some amusing falls that make people jump! You couldn't even call it a fall - but I guess some top ropers don't ever see that?
tommyzero - 29/Feb/08
I climbed it yesterday and it's still referred to as The Bear Claw...
Euge - 03/Sep/12
Great to hear that these old classic sandstone climbs are still standing up to such heavy use.
Gordon Stainforth - 03/Sep/12
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This picture is copyright. If you want to reproduce or otherwise re-use it, please email the photographer direct via their user profile. Photo added December 17 2003.
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