Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Return of the Jedi

Since climbing The Power of the Darkside earlier in the season, I've been super psyched to get back to Bank Quarry and try its bigger and harder sibling, Return of the Jedi. I remember reading about Pearson climbing this a couple years back and being pretty impressed with the line and how cool the climbing looked. At the time it was another world really and I never had any thoughts about ever trying it.

Heres a link to the UKC news story they ran at the time. 

The bottom half of the route and the bulk of the climbing is completely unprotected and features some very WILD moves up the arete. I guess this could just about be classed as a highball... but its definitely getting pretty close to what you might start to consider a route and not just a boulder problem. Once through this though its still not over and after stashing some rotten cracks with slightly suspect gear you have one final tricky move between you and the top. At this point it is 110% NOT a highball!
So with all this in mind I can totally see why it was never given a 'proper' grade and instead the unknown tag of HXS 7a. Whatever that means... Personally I felt the climbing to be somewhere in the region of F7c+/8a as a whole, maybe slightly easier...

Since being first done its had just two? ascents that I know of, from Ryan Pasquill and Dan Varian. They both did the route ground up which required some serious commitment and balls, so massive respect to those guys!

We all decided to check it out on a rope first and see how it was feeling. Ed had persuaded Dave Mason to make the trip over to try as well and he was looking strong and fired up. The crux revolves around a crazy dynamic move to a good flatty and once we had this dialed I knew it was game on.
I stuck this move on the lead but then missed the next tag in move and took the long flight down to the deck, missing the pads and just being caught by Ed! Annoyed but buzzing at the same time that it had been that close! After a breather I went again and this time didn't mess up, stuck the move, feet up and powered to the jug. Total relief!
Big props to Dave sending as well, proving he's not too shabby at climbing with a rope on either! Here is a cool video he put together of the ascent, which includes some big air time!

Putting aside all the talk about how hard it is etc, its just an fantastic line, with some truly great climbing. I really enjoyed the process with this one and again its cool to see the progression and to keep moving forward. Cheers to Ed, Dave and Gracie for all the support!

Thanks for reading

No comments: