We all know that there are “Super Wads”, like Sharma, McClure, Ondra and Usobiaga, that can warm up on an F8a and slip off the last move of an 8c on their first go, but for mere mortals ie everyone else, getting up routes of this grade is a serious and often unattainable challenge.
This is where Pete comes in. He’s always been a trad climber at heart, and transforming an authentic traditional climber into an 8c sport gymnast is about as common as the Devils Appendix coming into condition* (- it formed twice in the last 18 years!)
Most Trad climbers, can hang on to rock for what seems like hours, working out the moves of this vertical chessboard. In fact probably more akin to a limpet, that a human and often possess an unusual ability to stay cool in particularly spicy situations.
The sport climber, on the other hand, exhibits the skills perhaps of a frightened spider -incredible strength and agility with lightning fast moves and pinpoint accuracy.
Turning a limpet into a spider isn’t easy, where as the other way round is relatively straight forward, you just need to chill-ax and move a bit slower!
When I first saw Pete working the moves on Liquid Amber, it looked like a BIG ask. Just clipping the rope into the quickdraws was described by Pete as an English 6c move, he made it look desperate, and far from achievable.
What happened next, is a brilliant thing, and the whole reason why I am writing this piece.
Pete kept trying.
He turned something that was primarily unattainable into one that is possible. And that is really impressive, and perhaps a lesson to us all. As Henry Ford once said “ Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t…you are always right.”
Go for it!
(One of the most impressive and striking ice climbs in Britain)