Hazel Findlay wins the race to F8c

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It’s no secret that British women are climbing harder than ever before. But until this weekend, only four British women had climbed F8b+ and everyone was wondering who’d be the first to crack F8c. The wait is over, and we have a winner: Hazel Findlay with her ascent of Fish Eye at Oliana.

Until this weekend, the upper limit of British female sport climbing was F8b+. Only four had managed this elite grade: Lucy Creamer (Kalea Borroka, Siurana), Hazel Findlay (Kalea Borroka), Mina Leslie-Wujastyk (Mecca, Raven Tor) and Katy Whittaker (China Crisis, Oliana).

But BMC ambassador Hazel Findlay has proved, once more, that she’s right at the top of her game with a successful redpoint of Fish Eye (F8c) at Oliana. Time to ask her some questions.

How long were you trying it for?
I did it on my seventh day. Some days I tried it twice, others just once.

What’s the route like? Could you describe the crux?
The crazy thing about Fish Eye is that there is no real crux. There are probably three obvious hard sections, but the hardest part is that there is no easy climbing. It’s really sustained for 50m, from the start to the top, and it’s really steep until the upper crux. This is just steeper than vertical (sport climbers call it a slab, but it’s not) on little pockets and crimps. The redpoint crux for small people is this big move left at about half height. It’s to a good hold but if you’re pumped you can’t hold it.

How did the redpoint go?
It felt really easy. On my previous highpoint attempt, I was power screaming, and I actually strained my forearms because I tried too hard when I was ridiculously pumped. That set me back for a few days, because I was trying to climb but I still felt pumped. The day I did it, it was actually a bit too hot but I’d rested for two days and I felt fresh. 

Did you pick the route for the grade or the line?
I picked it because my friend Walker was trying it, and he said it was really good. When I first started trying it, I never even thought I’d do it this trip. I just said: “Well, I’ll work out the moves for next year so I know how fit I’ll need to be”. I thought I’d need to train for a route like that. But then I gave it a random try and got through the first two cruxes, so I knew I could do it.

Did you train specifically for it?
No way! I spent the winter walking with heavy rucksacks in Patagonia. It was the worst training you could think of.

What’s easier for you: F8c or E9?
Haha! About the same. Although I spent a few more days on the F8c. But I’m a better climber two years later, so maybe the E9 would feel easier now.

The British women are really inspiring at the moment, but who inspires you?
Anyone I see trying really hard, my friends at the crag, strangers at the crag. The grade doesn’t matter. It’s all relative: you just have to try hard with what you have, whether that’s V2 strength or V13 strength.

So, what’s next?
Well, I tried Mind Control today and it felt easier than Fish Eye, even though it’s supposed to be F8c+. But I only have a week left and it’s wet so it looks unlikely. Then it’s Yosemite in May!

Who will be the first British woman to climb F9a? Who knows – but one things is for certain: at this rate, we won’t have to wait long.

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12 Sherpas Killed on Everest as Serac Collapses

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As widely reported in the mainstream media, at least twelve Sherpas have been killed on Everest in a huge serac collapse.

One of the most comprehensive reports on this tragedy is by Alan Arnette, and he explains on his website:

“Around 6:30 am, April 18th, an ice avalanche occurred off the West Shoulder of Everest hitting an area just below Camp 1 which is located at 19,500′ but near the top of the Icefall. The estimated altitude was 5800m or 19,038′.”

The Sherpas were fixing ropes in preparation for the spring climbing season in a heavily crevassed section of the notorious Khumbu Icefall known as the Popcorn Area (photo on Alan Arnette’s Website). A huge serac, which has caused major concern on Everest for some years, collapsed with a large amount of Sherpas working on the lower part of the mountain.

From Alan Arnette’s report:

“Immediately after the avalanche spray subsided, Sherpas searched the debris field and found 8 survivors. Eyewitnesses reported boots protruding through the snow. Many however were buried and their bodies recovered later. A person can suffocate within minutes when buried under heavy snow.”

It is thought that around 100 Sherpas were above the incident and are now waiting on the mountain until the route is safe for them to descend.

This video shows a similar collapse from 2009 that occurred in a similar place (just slightly lower down) on the mountain.

Metolius Mastercams

Metolius Mastercams

Rock & Run

Size: 00-6

£39.00

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  • A flexible, single stem unit with an ultra-narrow head width for hard aid or free climbing
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  • 7075-T6 aluminum
  • Sizes #00-#6
  • CE/UIAA certified
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Mountain Equipment Trojan Jacket

24006_M039 Nautilus

With full stretch, this lightweight Soft Shell is designed for the most demanding alpine and mountain environments.

This highly protective Soft Shell is completely windproof and extremely weatherproof thanks to its WINDSTOPPER® X-FAST fabric. Our Active fit and helmet compatible hood make it the ideal layer for moving quickly on long routes in rapidly changing weather.

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  • YKK® underarm pit zips
  • Adjustable cuffs and dual tether hem drawcords

Mountain Equipment Ibex Trouser

22947_M004 Black

A proven best seller, this versatile Soft Shell Pant is ideal for mountaineering and trekking in cooler conditions year round.

Designed for the adventurous hill-walker, scrambler and mountaineer in need of a lightweight mountain pant that can cope with technical terrain and fluctuating temperatures. Perfect for long days above the tree line.

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  • EXOLITE II fabric; the perfect balance of insulation, wind resistance and protection
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  • Zipped lower leg gusset and hidden drawcord channel at hem (drawcord not included)

Mountain Equipment UltraTherm Jacket

24010_M004 Black

A phenomenally versatile jacket that combines wind proofing and temperature regulation in one fast drying package.

Windproof, fast drying and functional across a huge range of temperatures and conditions the Ultratherm Jacket is essential kit for everyone from serious mountain runners to alpine climbers. Perfect when worn alone for the most highly aerobic activities and yet layers smoothly.

Features & Benefits

  • He30 outer fabric; exceptionally lightweight and windproof
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Scarpa Jorasses Pro GTX Mountaineering Boots B3

 

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A quality progressive mountain boot offering a great blend of performance, comfort and weight saving.

The Scarpa Jorasses Pro GTX are versatile mountain boots suitable for long winter approach walks, general mountaineering and ice climbing. 

The core of the Jorasses versatility is it’s clever midsole that is stiff enough for full step-in crampons yet flexible enough to take the pain out of walk-ins. 

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Boot Grade: B3 – suitable for C3, C2 or C1 crampons

Ideal Crampon Rating: C3 – fully rigid

Shauna Coxsey Climbs 2nd 8B

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Shauna Coxsey has just returned from Albarracin, Northern Spain, where she climbed her second boulder problem at the 8B grade with an ascent of Zarzaparilla. 

Shauna broke the news on her Twitter feed saying:

“Today I did my second 8b! 😀 SO PSYCHED!”

Shauna has previously climbed Nothin’ But Sunshine, 8B, in Rocky Mountain National Park, and was the first British woman to climb an 8B boulder problem

UKClimbing.com asked Shauna some questions about her climbing:

You are better known for your competition climbing, but have also climbed 8B – what is your relationship with climbing outside?

Shauna: Climbing outside is like a treat. I get to do what I love without the pressures and stresses that come with competition climbing. I love climbing outside and feel I have so much more improvement to make.

You recently had a frustrating trip to Switzerland where you battled to climb two 8A’s when you had your sights set on climbing 8B again – did this make you more motivated for Albarracin

Shauna: Not at all. Although it took me a few sessions to climb Freak Brothers, 8A, in Switzerland it is one of my biggest achievements to date. I just like trying hard and pushing myself.

Is it stressful knowing that you only have a short trip to climb your rock goals before it is back home to train for competitions?

Shauna: No, I treat my trips outside like a holiday and my biggest goal is to have fun. I choose to compete and spend time training so I can’t exactly complain. I just feel lucky that my coach manages to fit in all of my training as well as a few trips.

Did you do any specific training before heading out to Albarracin to prevent another trip like Switzerland?

Shauna: I didn’t fear another trip like Switzerland. And nope I didn’t do any specific training or preparation.

You are soon to be heading off to the first of the World Cup events, is this it for rock climbing for you until that is over?

Shauna: Yeap. I will focus on the World Cups for the next few months. It is such a busy season this year so there will not be any time for rock climbing until its over.

Black Diamond Momentum AL Harness

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The Momentum AL gives climbers of any discipline the same comfort, ventilation and durability that Black Diamond harnesses are known for, at a price fit for dirtbags and new climbers alike. We outfitted the Momentum AL with a traditional waistbelt buckle and our trakFIT leg loop adjustment system, which uses a simple, secure slide adjuster to quickly and easily adjust the diameter of the leg loop and provide a wide range of fit. The waistbelt is built with our Dual Core Construction, which uses two slim bands of high-tensile webbing on the outer edges of the waistbelt and a venting OpenAir foam insert in the center to offer breathable, lightweight comfort without pressure points.

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  • Adjustable, releasable rear elastic riser
  • 4 pressure-molded gear loops
  • 12 kN-rated haul loop

 

Petzl Meteor III Plus Helmet

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The Meteor III + ultralite helmet not only weighs in at just 235g but also conforms to UIAA Climbing, European White Water and Cycling standards so is a true multisport allrounder.

Its innovative adjustment system allows each wearer to adjust the helmet to their head shape and, for maximum comfort when other lids are keeping in the heat on sporty summer crags, it’s also one of Petzl’s most ventilated models.