“So psyched to tick the classic Raindogs 8a at Malham Cove on Sunday the 25th October 2015…”
Why I wanted to climb Raindogs…
I always want to climb hard and never give up if I know it can be done and I wanted to climb an outdoor 8a – my first serious outdoor project. There are lots in the UK but most of them have big spans and reaches – possibly too big for me at the moment but I knew Raindogs was a very famous route and a very hard 8a but knew it was also within my reach. I asked my Dad if we could go there for me to have a look and we did for a weekend in August.
When I got there I just stood there looking at the big rock in front of me. It was fantastic. It made everybody up there seem so small, I knew I just wanted to get on it and feel it.
Having tried the route over a weekend I knew it would take a lot of effort and I knew I would need to know every move which I would only be able to do with time on the wall. I persuaded Dad to find somewhere to stay in Malham for my October half-term and we set off to a small cottage in the centre of Malham for a week.
1 Week in Malham
At the beginning of the week the holds didn’t feel that good and every move was hard. I knew this was going to be a fight and I was right. As the week went on I could do all the moves and by Wednesday on I had the route down to 3 sections; – the ground to bolt 2, bolt 2 to 4, and bolt 4 to the chains.
I had a rest day on Thursday and by Friday felt I was ready for my first attempt and Ian Dunn was on hand to belay me and give me some excellent advice as I continued to work the route. It was very sustained with no rests anywhere and as I climbed up the holds felt worse as I was getting more pumped. At some points it felt like I had an anchor on my back pulling me away from the wall until my hands had to let go.
We had the cottage for a week and on the last Saturday I was so close to the chains but I didn’t have anything left for that day. I knew I could do it so begged Dad to find somewhere else to stay – I didn’t want to go home until I grabbed those chains! We drove around and eventually found a Travelodge in Skipton, not exactly 5* but it had a burger king 🙂
On Sunday Ian Dunn was there again to belay me and on my first attempt I hit the chains but couldn’t quite hold them – I was gutted as I thought I had the route finished. However on my second redpoint attempt of the day I finally grabbed the chains and I knew I’d completed the hardest climb and challenge of my life so far!
I was relieved to tick the route and so excited at the same time – it was also a great feeling to know I am the youngest British person to date to climb an 8a and the youngest ascent ever of Raindogs following some great climbers to previously tick the route.
I got a big cheer from people who stopped to watch and I just thought ‘Yes, job done!’ and down I came. I immediately put my coat on packed up my bag and said to Dad “we can go home now”. I knew I was exhausted from climbing relentlessly for 7 days out of 8 and we had a 6 hour drive home!
However I totally forgot about the gear that had to be brought back down – but luckily a kind man offered to go and get it for me – phew! thank you kind man.
When we were ready to leave the crag, another very kind lady (think she is called Anna) gave me a chocolate orange as a present as she had seen me having a battle with the route all week and I offered her some of my chocolate orange earlier in the week. It was such a nice gesture and as soon as I got to the car I ate it all – it felt like it was a trophy!
I now want my next challenge to be an 8a+/8b but possibly closer to home – maybe in the Peak District once I have had a chat with Mark Croxall (one of my coaches) who knows the area well.
I’m not sure yet what it will be – but I already can’t wait for my next challenge although I know the weather is bad now so maybe I can get Dad to take me to Spain or Greece 🙂
Thank you to everybody who made this possible for me especially my Dad x