Pete Whittaker’s ascent of Baron Greenback, E9/10 7a, at Wimberry was not only one of 2013’s best ascents but resulted in one of the Uk’s hardest routes, period. On the same day Tom Randalll succeeded in making the second ascent ascent of Sam Whittaker's Wimberry masterpiece, Appointment with Death, E9 6c.
This short video from Hotaches brings both these ascents together in an intense movie which shows the commitment and daring which goes into hard grit.
Cementing Pete’s status as a ‘gritstone God’ after plenty of hard first ascents and repeats, including the phenomenal ‘Dynamics of Change’ at Burbage South, Pete felt that Baron Greenback even put that into the shade. “Baron Greenback’ is the hardest thing I’ve done on grit and an accumulation of everything I’ve learnt climbing on gritstone, along with a bit of consistant training on some weaknesses. I’m very very pleased to have done this route. First ascents are always more special to me then repeats.” Not only that it’s a proud line and as Tom says “I think it’s up there with all of the hardest routes on grit. It’s a very special route indeed, if you’re talking about cool, asthetic, big and hard lines.”
Appointment with Death, E9 6c, had stood unrepeated for around 10 years; its location on the wild Wimberry buttresses, combined with the difficult nature of the pebble pulling climbing (and maybe the name) had put people off. Tom writes about the day: "Often when you go out with friends at the crag, one or maybe two of you come away something really ballsy in the bag. It’s just the way it works out. One of you mops up the collective pysche and cashes in, whilst the others are often happy to support and wait their turn some other day. When myself, Pete and Nathan Lee headed up to Wimberry we all had projects that we vaguely hoped we might climb that day, but it all depended on time, temperatures, sequences and luck. By the end of the day though, the planets had aligned and somehow all three of us had succeeded. It’s strange looking back on the day now and it seems with retrospect that as each person succeeded, that made the next person even more motivated and committed. It was like a tsunami of positive gritstone force was rushing up the Wimberry slopes to push gravity the other way. Walking back down to the car park in the evening, the collective haul was the 3rd ascent (solo) of Order of the Phoenix by Nathan, the 2nd ascent of Appointment with Death by me and the 1st ascent of the Wimberry Prow project by Pete."
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