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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

LPT White Headwall Project Goes Down!!!!

Back in late May, Neil Dyer and Pete Robins bolted the much eyed but never tried white headwall above the Walking Mussel down LPT. Ben Pritch has stuck a couple of studs in it years ago but no one ever put any serious effort in. Pete had been eyeing it up and checking it out from Over the Moon. After bolting the route the boys could try it properly and it was immediately apparent that it was a special route. The top headwall was immaculate. The holds were perfect and took no cleaning, it was made to be climbed. The moves went fairly quickly with a probable Font 7b+ ish sequence after the shakeout on Walking Mussel. A big move to a flat crimp in the middle of the wall seemed the first stopping point but some more big moves on very tenuous footholds were waiting at the end. Pete and Neil went to work and soon both were on redpoint. Pete had the initial advantage of having done Walking Mussel before but Neil was immediately strong on the boulder problem crux and was more consistent than Pete in getting to the top headwall. I started filming up on a rope hoping to get the first ascent on camera for a film project. Dyer steamed ahead and soon made the initial crux move to the flat hold. It seemed like the end was near. Pete was getting more consistent on Walking Mussel but wasn't close to latching the flat hold. Weeks and weeks passed and it was clear that it was only going to go down after a proper seige. Both climbers coped well with the extra pressure of being in a race for the FA and they tried it together getting down whenever they could. Neil was soon latching the flat crimp almost every go. He was in pole position but there was always something not quite right whether it be conditions or his feet popping on the last moves. He knew that Pete might well top it out if he could get through that move so the pressure was kept on. Dyer was tantalisingly close but Pete was utilising the persistence that has got him up so many hard climbs in recent years. I asked him if he was getting fed up with it and he replied "well i've got nothing else to do!". Me, Neil and Pete went down there today. After the recent shit conditions we were pleased to find it fresh and breezy. Pete had probabaly his best ever go but still failed to grab the hold. I was working the crack on Over The Moon and so clipped into a bolt to give the lads a redpoint. Dyer set off and soon got to the familar shakeout. It was the first time i had been filming on a rope on the route since June. He latched the hold then latched the next big pop out right. This was it, i was praying he wouldn't slip off the top out. He maintained composure and topped it out much to everyones excitement. It really is a amazing route and is a great achievement for Neil to add one of his own thats so good after so long climbing in the area. Its also nice to finally see him do a hard route. He'd never climbed harder than 8b in Britain until this which was quite frankly underachieveing as he's such a monster! As for the grade after the intitial inspection everyone seemed to think it would weigh in at 8c. Months later and with Pete still not even getting through the first crux it seems more like 8c+ and indeed Pete said its harder than Liquid Ambar and Sea of Tranquility for him, its certainly taking more effort. All we need now is for Neil to come up with a good name. Any ideas are welcome. I'm trying to put together a film about the new routes so keep an eye out for the footage.

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1 comment:

Richie Crouch said...

Nice one Neil!

Good to see a true beast achieving! :)