Epic fact no. 410: 'ground up' refers to climbing a trad route without top-roping or rappelling it first in order to inspect the holds and the moves.
Tim Emmett is in Wales this week to attempt the third ground up ascent of Extinction (E8, 6c), the first route of its difficulty to be climbed in this manner. On hand to belay is Stuart Cameron, the second guy to ground up the route. Like any good Brit, he shouts encouragement in the form of insults and abuse.
Encouragement is especially important when Tim reaches the section of the route where his 'protection' consists of hanging a shoelace with a carabiner on it over a small spike and then hoping to God it will hold if he falls on it. When it's all over Tim looks like he wants to cry, you feel like you want to cry, and Stuart is laughing. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
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