Friday, 6 December 2013

The New Statesman

Firstly I'm really psyched to announce I've joined the Edelweiss UK team, they've been quietly making the best quality ropes for years and it will be great to be able to get out climbing on them.

Second, my ascent of the New Statesman at Ilkley last month has been made into a film by my housemate Kevin Fenemore who is the man behind Abstract Normality Media:

Jacob Cook climbing The New Statesman, E8 7A from Abstract Normality on Vimeo.

I haven't blogged about this ascent yet because I've been waiting for the video to be ready.

Jordan Buys kindly posted an interview with me about the New Statesman on his blog, rather than writing a lot about the route I thought it might be most interesting if I just posted that interview here:

Jordan: How old are you, where are you living?
I’m 25 and I’ve been living in Leeds for the last two years.

Can you give us a brief summary of your climbing life so far, highlights etc?
I started climbing aged 7 in London, but something happened 4 years ago whilst I was living in Oxford and I became extremely psyched, I haven’t looked back since. Over the past few years I’ve undergone a bit of an apprenticeship into hard adventurous trad in the UK. Going from having no idea what I was doing and all my gear falling out, to repeating a bunch of trad test pieces onsight or from the ground up. Routes like Lord of the Flies, Ghost Train, Masters Edge, Positron etc. My climbing highlight so far was probably doing the E8 Point Blank in Pembroke ground up over a couple of sessions, a process involving some 20m lobs!

Over the summer I took the next step into adventurous climbing by going big walling off the west coast of Greenland. To be honest in terms of big walling I feel remarkably similar to myself 4 years ago starting to trad climb. But I’m really keen to put the time in and learn the tricks of the trade; Yosemite here I come. More big wall first ascents in adventurous locations is the dream.

Can you describe The New Statesman in three words?
Spicy Arete Burger.

Did you find it easy, scary or full of bird poo?
I got completely shut down on my first session and thought I’d probably never do it. Amazingly on my second session I found some new beta and was able to top rope the route in a one-er, it seemed a shame not to go for it there and then! I was very scared, it was the first time I’d ever really headpointed a grit route (or any route!) so the whole process was a bit new to me

A trickle of bird poo actually served as a tickmark on the thank god jug near the top!

Why did you get on it in the first place?
It’s been on my mind that I had to try it ever since I moved to Leeds, such a good line and it’s only half an hour from my house! Also I’d been watching Neil Bentley on it in hard grit for the last 15 years.

How many times did you watch Neil Bentley on Hard Grit to get motivated?
Many, many times! It wasn’t until I actually tried the route for myself that I realised just how bad his sequence actually was!

Do you rate the new cafe at the crag?
3 quid for a coffee?! It’s a disgrace…

Did you wear your lucky underpants that day?
I wasn’t expecting to lead it that day because it was only my second session and I’d gotten spanked on my first. Luckily all of my underpants are tie-dyed anyway…

Have you any designs on other grit routes in Yorkshire?
Yes! All of them. Right now I’m pretty psyched about Ilkley, my mission is to climb all the routes there. I recently did Cindy Crawford, Desperate Dan and Guillotine. Next up are Snap Decision and Milky Way, I may even have a play on Loaded; who knows, maybe I can lank my way past the crux on that one too! Unfortunately this may mean I finally have to do Botterill’s Crack as well, grim.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Desperate Dan and Guillotine

We had a great day up at Ilkley last week, finally putting the Grove Gardens pad stash to good use.

After warming up on Bernie the Bolt, a great highball 7B+. I managed a ground up ascent of the precarious Desperate Dan, E6 6b, and a headpoint of the chillingly bold Guillotine, also E6 6b. Rather than waffling about the climbs I'll just put the video up, here it is!

Desperate Dan and Guillotine, two E6s at Ilkley from Jacob Cook on Vimeo.

I think I'm starting to feel in the zone on the grit now. Last weekend I managed a lifetime ambition by making a ground up ascent of Ullysses Bow at Stanage, pads or no it was still bloody scary :p. No video of that one though.