Over the years Pete and I have tried many different forms of climbing, but one that we keep coming back to time and time again, is the traditional “climbing challenge.” A day of rock that has set boundaries, rules and a very specific goal. There is of course, rather a lot of stupidity thrown in, but that’s up to the individual!
We started our climbing partnership by trying to break the record for the most number of climbs soloed in a day – we exhausted ourselves doing 550 in over 17hrs – and have done many other challenges that involve speed climbing or silly fancy dress outfits since then. It’s been extremely entertaining finding someone else who’s up for these kind of days out and is prepared to push the boundaries of what’s possible. It’s that pushing of boundaries that I think has led us to our next challenge: one where both of us are very, very close to our personal limit.
Pete and I are off to Yosemite in a couple of weeks for some big walling and we wanted to create a challenge that would sort of mimic what we’d be trying to do out there. So we came up with attempting all the Brown and Whillans routes on the Eastern and Western edges in a day. That’s just under 130 routes and up to E6 6c.
It seemed a little (very?) unrealistic when we came up with the concept, but now as I sit here the day before setting off to try it, I feel truly doubtful. That’s what we want though, right? Where’s the fun in trying something where the outcome is guaranteed and you won’t be pushed right to your limit…. yeah…..? I think I feel ok about the amount of climbing (which is around 6000ft of rock) but it’s the roughly 22 miles of running on top, spread across 17 different crags and keeping going for a whole 24hrs at a fair whack that I know could push it. 90% of it has to be soloed and there’s no space for food breaks, mistakes or getting lost. Oh God…. what have we let ourselves in for?!
Here’s a photo to cheer you (or me) up whilst I’m thinking about our midnight start and the first route to warm us up being MAy35 at Bamford.