Well I've been very busy since I last wrote about trying Cry Freedom. That was going really well but I just kept finding myself at that last hard move time and time again. So I started going elsewhere.
I checked out venues like the Cheedale Cornice, which is quite good for onsighting, a highlight was flashing an 8a called The Roof Warrior. Another peak trip saw my partner pull out on Cheedale at the very last minute so I headed to the Tor to see who was about. Thankfully, Steve and Karin Crowe were there beasting the long routes at the left. Steve suggested I have an onsight attempt of the full Prow from the ground. I tied on not expecting a great deal since the wall was coming into the sun and the route is so long I could hardly see where it went at the top. Steve told me to aim for the big roof and I set off with that roof slowly getting closer. The rests are good but the route just keeps on coming. Anyway, in a blur I found myself pulling over the roof, desperately trying to slot in knee bars. I eventually found one but it proved easier just to keep pushing on though the jugs. So, before I knew it, I had my second 8a onsight in the UK this year.

Above: Birdman (E5 6b) at Kilnsey.

Feeling a bit fitter, I headed back to do battle with Cry Freedom but this time it was wet through. We decided to check out the upper ledge instead, I must have been fitter because I redpointed Toadal Recall 8a, The New Age Traveller 8a and finished off with Herbie 7c+, a good day.

Above: Birdman (E5 6b) at Kilnsey. 

Then the next thing to make things more challenging was an intense week of heat, so we opted to do some trad at Kilnsey. Dihedral Wall, the E5, was the first to go down, what a fight though - my sweatband was soaked by the end!!  I have often looked up as I walk past Comedy at the E5 crack to the right and said, "one day!!". Well this was that day; off I set up the greasy steep crack full of nests. Once I finally committed to the vicious lay back sequence, I found it was not 'the way' as I pinged off, ripping gear to fall pretty close to the deck! After 2 minutes and the ropes pulled, I was back on board. By some crazy jamming leading me off into certain ground fall territory, I made it to the belay. It was fun!


Above: The Traverse of the Gods (F8b+ ish) at Craig y Longridge

Playing aside, my main training for Cry Freedom was to drop in to Craig y Longridge whenever I had a spare evening. After a bit of cleaning, the Traverse of the Gods (F8b+ ish) fell pretty easily – in fact I did it 4 times left to right and twice right to left in an eight-day period. And true to the legend of Mark Leach, Cry Freedom went down within the week! I hadn't quite spent the epic 46 days trying it that he had, but I was still super chuffed when I finally stuck that last move and clipped the belay. In my opinion, Cry Freedom is the hardest route I have achieved (so far!) and it felt like a real milestone.

It was really nice that my friend Gavin Gray managed to capture the ascent on video too:  http://vimeo.com/26550919

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