Friday, 24 August 2007

New 8a+ 'Cutlass' at Berry Head, Devon

Last week Neil Gresham pushed the UK's hardest DWS grade up to 8a+.

'Cutlass' (which Neil has named the route) was originally climbed on top rope by Ken Palmer, but never soloed. Some time after, Mike Robertson pointed out the line to Neil and explained its history. Neil returned to Berry Head in August this year to begin working the route in a traditional manner. No top roping, just ground up attempts. On Monday 13th August, after four days of effort and 13 tries, Neil finally put the whole thing together to deliver a cutting edge 8a+.

This is what Neil had to say about the route:
“ ‘Cutlass' lies above the start of 'Rainbow Bridge' at Berry Head in Devon. It can be reached easily by a short traverse and is not too high (40 feet in total). The climbing is very steep, bouldery and the moves become increasingly difficult the higher you go, with the crux being the second to last move. Grading this line is tricky because it's quite short. It certainly felt harder than the 'Wizard', 'Jaws' or even 'Adrenachrome' (other semi-established 8a Deep Water Solos), as well as classic 8a sport routes like 'Cider Soak' and 'Rain Dogs'. If V9 bouldering equates to 8a+ then I guess that is what the route should be graded."

Luckily for us, the whole thing was captured on film by award winning film maker Richard Heap, who was there filming the final stages of ‘Hard XS’, which is due out later this year!

Photo: Neil Gresham on 'Cutless' F8a+, Devon
(c) Richard Heap.