Revelations 8b at Raven Tor
(video to follow shortly!)
Revelations was a hard project for me and a classic route and that made it feel very special when I managed to send.
In the first half of 2016 I had been training hard for the BMC Youth Climbing Series and the European Youth Color Festival in Imst in June. I knew after winning both that my hard work had been paying off and I was feeling strong. With no major competitions coming up I really wanted to look for a hard project and I found it in Revelations.
I had been told that the route was really ‘heightist’ with a tough 7c boulder problem at the beginning of the route being particularly hard using the normal beta. The rest of the route included a big undercut move onto a mono and into the bottom of the groove with a knee-bar rest. I then needed to move to the top of the groove and traverse right a few moves pulling onto the technical slab at the top of the route to the belay.
Apparently Revelations is a 7c route on top of a 7c boulder problem, although I think my sequence used twice the number of moves through the crux (5 hand movements and 6 foot movements). 2 of these moves felt really desperate with terrible feet and I needed everything to go perfectly to stick the moves.
I would love to get some feedback from others about this sequence as to me it makes the boulder problem feel harder then 7c but I do not have a lot to compare to!
Once through the crux the rest of the route felt like a nice 7c and I had previously used it as a warm up prior to working the crux so I was confident that if I got through the crux I would be able to go on and tick the route although the first time this happened in a combination of pump and excitement I dropped the move from the mono into the groove.
I had looked at some videos of people climbing Revelations for some beta but I couldn’t use the sequence that taller people used. During a session on the route with one of my coaches Graeme Harwood belaying me, he encouraged me to think about the problem and how it felt and how I could make the move stick. It was then I found a sequence that allowed me to use a tiny right hand undercut that allowed me to walk my feet through and come back with another hard move to complete the crux.
After doing this once, I thought I was on the verge of ticking the route, but on my next sessions I couldn’t stick the move to the undercut once during the whole day!
During half-term I was determined to finish the route and my dad and I stayed in Tideswell for a week only a few miles away.
After a few more sessions making sure I knew every move I took 2 days rest to try and make sure I was at maximum strength, then for the first time got through the Crux on the Saturday. I then came back on the Sunday and on my 3rd attempt of the day I completed my project.
It was a great feeling and I was really happy to have climbed such a difficult and demanding route and to be the smallest and youngest person to be able to climb it.
Some questions from the BMC…
Did you work it over half term?
Yes, I worked the route for a week over half-term with rest days but I also had some sessions in October. Luckily we had a 2 week half term so I didn’t have to rush and I had to take rest days when dad made me.
How long did it take?
I had about 12 sessions in total. After the crux I had all the moves from the top of the route in 1 session, and climbed it from the crux in my second session. The crux took me about 5 sessions in total to work out my own beta because the moves were so tiring. It then took about another 5 sessions to link everything and finish the route.
Highs and lows?
Lows. The biggest low was not being able to repeat any of the moves in the crux when I felt I had worked out the sequence and feeling like the route may never go at the beginning of half-term after so much work.
Highs. I was happy to find my own beta through the crux and it was my first ever route where I could use a knee-bar. My mum also made me my favourite banana cake for every trip! The best feeling was sending the route.
What’s your next project?
Hubble… I saw William Bosi climb it and thought I would love to give it a go and you can never set your heights too high. Ha ha ha.
I would like to try Mecca (8b+) also at Raven Tor as well as climb a lot more harder routes that do not take as long to project.
What do you like about working sport routes?
I don’t know! I just like getting to the top and I don’t like unfinished projects.
Any comments from others on the Raven Tor scene about his ascent from people who were watching?
Raven Tor was quite quiet when I climbed it, although a man called ‘Stone’ and a few others were quick to congratulate me. When working the route lots of people had been really supportive including Jim Pope who made me an extended brush on a stick to make it easier to clean the holds and William Bosi was really encouraging just after he sent Hubble!
Why this route – is he interested in the style, the history, etc…
I first went to Raven Tor with Mark Croxall and Danie Rushmer from Craggy Island earlier in the year when it was still quite wet and we did some bouldering. I knew I wanted to come back and climb some of the routes, and the first time I tried Revelations I knew I wanted to climb it.
What kind of routes do you like?
I like power endurance routes but I am happy to try and climb anything.
How was the crux?
The crux was really hard. It’s a font 7c boulder problem but I feel my sequence may be a little harder… See blog above!
Any tips for the route?
Train really hard, don’t complain about the conditions. Feet and body position are really important through the crux. If you get through the crux then don’t blow it like I did because you can’t believe what just happened.