Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Lizard King

I finally succeeded in leading my project at Ilkley!

I first tried it 4 months ago, a few days after doing the New Statesman. Basically I got on it because I'm not strong enough to do the crux of Gerty Berwick and wanted to find another way up the wall!

You do the crux of the New Statesman to a shake, then swing left and do a crazy rock-over move to reach a pod in the wall halfway up Gerty Berwick. You follow this route for a couple of moves before going left again with a cool cross over sequence on pockets, this part is a bit easier than the start but the gear isn't great and you're really high at this point.

Red: The project
Blue: New Statesman
Green: Gerty Berwick
By far the crux for me was the rock-over in the middle. It took me around 8 sessions to figure out, and even once I could do it consistently it still felt absolutely terrifying. The move involves getting fully rocked over on a heel and then just falling sideways and grabbing the next hold on the way past. I'm pretty sure this is the kind of move Dave Graham describes as a "drive-by"... Also you don't have any gear at this point and it's getting close to the limit of what could be called "highball".

The actual lead felt incredible. I don't think I've ever been so focused. It felt as though I was watching myself climb it, and climb it perfectly.

Yes it's a link-up and maybe not the most obvious line on the wall but once you've been on there it's actually the easiest way up that bit of wall. Anyway, I had a great time climbing it.

It's for sure the hardest thing I've done on trad and I think it comes in at about f8a+ but it's always hard to tell with these things. I've given it E9 7a and it's called the Lizard King. Partly as a Jim Morrison tribute and partly to draw attention to the fact that many of the current world leaders are actually Lizards. (Although the name "State Pension" was a clear front runner for a while.)

Abstract Normality Media caught the ascent on film, here's a few screengrabs from that:

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