E6 6c/Font 7b First Ascent ‘The Kraken’ Video and write up

Wow what a weekend 🙂

I had been searching for my next new line and found the perfect candidate at Birchen edge.
Unlikely I know but here is where I found one. A nice overhanging prow/arete.
After seeing this I had wondered if it was possible for a while but weather had kept me away and annoyingly when there was good weather I was working.

On Tuesday the 12th I ended up with the day off. Not for climbing but it allowed me time to finally get out and play on this line.
Having invited my friend Joe Heeley out we headed to the crag and got on abseil, cleaned the route and got ready to play.

It took us a while to work out a sequence up the thing and surprisingly a different sequence for both of us.
Funnily enough we both tried each others way of climbing and didn’t like the feel of it so stuck to our individual ways.

So Sat 16th was the day for the go.
Both feeling pretty nervous about it as we knew the consequence of a fall would not be pretty.
Luckily I felt strong on the day and did not have any problems but Joe had some issues to begin with 😛 nothing to do with ability but all down to head space as he has not done hard trad before.
In the end we knew the moves, we knew we could do it, it was just down to ‘man up’ and give it a go.

We managed to fit a nut in on the back of the overhang which gave us confidence to go for the lead. It was not a good placement but we hoped it would hold in the event of a fall.
Either way we did not end up testing the gear until … my friend Danny Coleman gave the route a go. He fell from the penultimate move going up to the break.
Luckily he had decided to put all the mats we had with us (8 ish) down and this ended up saving his legs/pelvis.
When he fell the nut didn’t even hold for a split second and he was on his back on the pads with my arms under his armpits lol what a fall 🙂

Made us think what could have happened if we had fallen with the few pads we had down. “Not worth thinking about” we decided as success was there and the pub was calling.

I graded the route E6 as the nut placement we used could have a micro cam put in its place. It felt serious as dropping any of the initial moves is likely to do your back some damage and a fall from higher up on the insecure slopers would be easy and end up ruining your day.
For those of you so inclined it would be possible to put down lots of pads as my friend did and do it as a scary highball and would go at about Font 7b, though this is not the style it was done in.
Therefore this route has both a Trad and a bouldering grade as follows: E6 6c/Font 7b

First ascent of 'The Kraken' E7 6c

First ascent of ‘The Kraken’ E6 6c/Font 7b

Happy at success on 'The Kraken' E7 6c

Happy at success on ‘The Kraken’ E6 6c/Font 7b


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