127 days on one route. You must be joking right? I kept a diary of the progress. I keep a diary of all my climbing. Sometimes it’s good to look back.

I’ve put the saga here so I can look back on it if ever I need to. Seems like a good place for safekeeping. Could also be useful for anyone else looking for the beta on the sequences.

The route…

Climb Raindogs, (without grabbing the chain!) to a bridged rest below the bulge. Attack the bulge (font 8a) to a crozzly hold where its possible to clip. This is the junction between Rainshadow (RS) and Rainman. From there reach right to a wide pinch, and with a poor kneebar clip a double draw. Move up via a hard boulder problem (boulder 1) to a tough undercut clip. Move into next boulder problem. This involves: LH thin tufa; RH squarecut sidepull; LH crimp; RH razor crimp (razor1); LH undercut; RH peg pocket; LH crimp (razor2); RH adjust pocket; LH intermediate; LH ‘hearbreaker move’ to thumb-catch-sloper; RH crimp; RH undercut; LH windmill to finish! Lastly, climb the 8a headwall of Batroute (BR).






bolted the line. Looks like enough holds, though last few moves look hard and may be a hold missing!



March 9th

1st go on the route, 2 moves I could not do at all, and could not see how to do, and a few moves that look probably doable, but a lot of very hard moves.




2 sections I can’t do. Top impossible bit can be missed with a stretch into Batroute.



April 15th

managed all the moves, but move right to BR seems only way as top bit too hard. It needs an awful peg pocket with the right hand and only possible with the left.



April 25th

all moves, but only very short links. New bit is 3 parts, move R from RS (Rainshadow) to pinch, then boulder section 1 to undercut clip, then boulder section 2 into BR (Batroute).



May 1st

managed to link from RS to BR. Good link, pretty tough. Taken quite a few days to do this link. Has to be 8c really, or worse, since I have onsighted loads of 8b+!


july 8th

finest pedigree – 9a+


Nov 5th

Cruz Diablo – 8c+ mexico 1st ascent






back on, nowhere near link of last year



April 2nd

still stuck on 2 moves, move R to BR seems the only way.



April 16th

struggled today



May 10th

no progress, and now realise I can’t even clip on the new section!



May 15th

tried a random RP twice, getting through RS crux and moving R to wide pinch then clipping long draw and immediately falling off. Well, its 8c+ to there, and would probably have done OK on Rainshadow



May 17th

Great progress. RP again. Twice got past boulder 1 to undercut clip, then 2 moves higher to the square-cut sidepull



May 19th

too tired for any kind of RP, fannied with moves, trying to figure direct after Adam Ondra had found my stretch R into Batroute easy, and he could traverse into the massive pocket. This makes my route look a bit rubbish, and will be much easier for him than me.


May 27th



June 1st

traverse of the gods



June 5th

trying to figure top



June 7th

RP to grabbing undercut clip, then gave up, too warm today



June 14th

too boiling to even do the moves. Moved to different climbing.



Oct 6th

didn’t go on project, way out of depth, looked on it longingly with knackered fingers. Is that it, Is it all over? Feels absolutely impossible that I’ll ever get back to that level.





May 21st

Still a no go, cortisone in finger, knee cartiledge torn and waiting operation. Project laughed at me from above. No point even looking



June 5th

Upstairs project, which looks brilliant



June 7th

Too injured to climb, glued some loose blocks on upper project



Sept 15th

Long lay-off. Upstairs project, downstairs way out of depth, but fingers still not great. Was on RP, but useless



Oct 25th

too wet for upstairs, so back to old project. Had drill today so placed bolt for straight finish that avoids stretch into BR. Looked like almost impossible few moves. Not sure it will go. Seems like a lot of features though, all just a bit small.



Nov 4th

Playing on the final section. All about getting old peg-pocket with RH, OK to get with L but useless for last move. Found crucial undercut crimp under a bit of rotten rock. This could be it. So move with RH works, but I catch pocket all wrong and there is no way to re-adjust. Not exactly a mega break, but at least move possible.



Nov 6th

Figured a sequence. Feels like 8b+ just the top bit, but managed the link. That’s from the undercut clip into BR via high section and not the old stretch R. Much better, but harder. So now, in theory I have done the entire route in 2 halves. So it’s possible, in theory, but by me? Not sure, and I have to stay un-injured, which is unlikely.





Feb 26th

Did all the moves on top bit, but only moves, no links. Also failed on RS bulge



Feb 28th

Route in 5. Now its defined in sections. 1/RD, 2/RS bulge and stepping Right to pinch clip. 3/Kneedrop section on nasty edge to undercut clip. 4/undercut clip into BR via pocket stab. 5/top 8a wall of BR.



March 4th

Too tired to climb much. A figuring out day, though found nothing new. Sequences dialed I think!



March 7th

Redpoint, floor to wide pinch, then after a long rest, section 3, then 4 to crag top. Fingers trashed after that



March 12th

No progress, moves desperate, and failed to get through bulge from floor a few times. Usual links above




Failed to get through bulge from floor. Linked from RD belay to razor twice, then broken. Good links




Same links again. Peg-pocket stab move section feeling so unlikely from even half way up!




RP from floor to square cut, then link from belay to squarecut, then links on top. Felt more likely




RP, floor to slap to razor. High point. Frozen fingers. Looks close in terms of distance, but I think its miles away! 2nd RP to squarecut. So good efforts today, getting way up there from floor.



April 7th

Working on THE link, RD belay upwards. If I can get this it will feel psychologically possible. 1st go Got to peg pocket stab move, just. 2nd go to squarecut, 3rd go just through bulge. Good to go crux bulge 3 times, even if its just from RD belay.




main lesson, one day rest not enough! Useless, totally failed on link, barely managing to get through bulge at all.




Nasty cold. Failed on link, best was to squarecut, then next go just scraped bulge




Not happening. I need to be doing links on top bit. My strategy is not working. I need volume on ALL of the top section, not falling off halfway through. Decided to try a variation start as a training exercise, to start up BR to the big kneebar rest, then step straight into the new top section. This could be a good intermediate exercise as a way to get used to the top bit after some climbing. And to be fair, if this works I might get a route out of it as I won’t be getting my original concept any time soon!




Yep, switched plan now. As managed to RP from floor to pocket stab, twice! This route must be potentially easier than the link from RD belay. This highlights how full on the RS crux bulge is.




3 RP’s all to stab move. 1st go almost held, other 2 no way. But good progress




2 RP’s. 1st got pocket at last, but not well, and only managed to move feet a bit, 2nd was a wild slap to pocket




3 rp’s, all to same spot, slapping pocket. Sorted a new bit of foot beta, but not sure it will work.



May 2nd

2 RP’s. 1st to usual! 2nd snapped a foothold, Bummer. Still goes but harder. Just what I need!




3 rp’s to same spot! Held pocket once but not good enough. Beginning to think I’ve blown it, its too hard for me! I’m not holding the pocket, and there is still lots to do after that! Loss of foothold makes it a bit harder too.




Breakthrough day! Held pocket well, sorted feet, managed to re-adjust RH in pocket and set for final heartbreaker slap, but RH was all wrong and I was out of there. 2nd go better, sorted RH well, but then it pinged out as I went for the ‘heart-breaker’ slap to the sloper. Awesome, really psyched!!




Great conditions. I knew I would do it. But I didn’t! Foiled by the snagging krab, Rich Heap had left it open when filming. Gutted! 2nd go fell on heartbreaker slap, 3rd go actually almost held the sloper. All over it today, it just would not give in!




1st RP. Perfect condition. Felt OK, though top of BR was harder than I expected, could have dropped it!! Amazing, sitting on the top looking back at the crystal clear view. What a place. Very satisfied. But still. This was a filler in, I know that, this isn’t the route!


july 12

Tom et je ris



Sept 14th

Back again, all desperate, failed to even do bulge! Top links barely possible. Wow, amazing what a bit of time off does.




On RP, failed to get through bulge a few times. Managed top link from undercut clip a few times, but this means nothing now. Have to remember it is still a hard link though




Project too wet, went on upstairs proj, but that too wet too




poor conditions, struggled to even do bulge so gave up



Oct 8th

Again project wet, so played on upstairs proj




Upstairs proj now soaked, back on main proj, but nowhere near it! Struggled on all of it, miles off. Not worth even trying again this year






3 x 8b o/s and 2 x 8a+ o/s in Spain in 2 days




Straight back to it. Worked bulge a bit. Managed floor to part way through bulge. Then RD belay to kneedrop section. Top bit feels nails!




Raindogs too busy to even get on proj. Managed one link from RD belay to squarecut, then just RD laps between others




Went from RD belay to razor, then from floor to razor! Eh? Makes no difference doing raindogs first? That makes no sense. Could be extra psyche, or that I have RD dialed? Figured a way to get RH into undercut clip, better than LH, but a bit of a clock move could be tiring. Excited to try this out as could make a difference!




some holds wet now, but climbed through bulge to undercut clip twice. But undercut wet so impossible to pass, not that I was near.




felt tired so worked on link from RD belay to explore new sequence. It works, kind of, but think it is too many moves, and I think I would have got further if I’d not bothered.



April 1st

Too hot, pointless, played on downclimbing RD. With so many queues on RD its useful to have a very high clip as it keeps me out of the way. Managed down climb of RD at about 8b+. So in theory I could have a ‘pre-clip’ on RP really high!!




Failed a few times to get through bulge. So went on RD belay link again. Got to razor using new clock move, but seems not worth having, too many moves.




Waste of time today, and very frustrating. Whats the point of spending all season building back up to a level that is nowhere near. Basically I already know its too hard, the curve doesn’t come close to the target. I’m out of time already. Mentally its over, probably forever, with motivation to reach high points only. Managed floor to undercut clip. And yes, that’s high, but its nowhere, again!




warm and humid. Fell on bulge 3 times, desperate to get through just to prove I can, but failed. Played on clock move and it is bogus! Have to abandon. And also the high pre-clip just isn’t ethical for me to have! I must clip just like leading Rainshadow.



May 8th

so out of shape. Failed on bulge from floor, then failed on bulge even from belay. Useless




good conditions at cliff. Floor to squarecut. Then belay to same. Felt good, but then its just the same and nowhere really. Seems my performance is so up and down. When it goes well I love this process. But realistically what am I actually doing? I’m not going to do it this year, and I’m not going to do it ever!




filming for BMCTV on proj. tried hard, but failed to get through bulge. Went from RD belay to razor, and top link later for camera. Has to be it for this year. Miles away.


June 12th




Sept 12th

planning day for filming with Bear Grylls! Then just one go on route. Tried a link from belay and got to undercut clip. Then top link. Forgotten how hard it is!



Oct 7th

filming with Bear Grylls! Then one go on route, but not psyched, just did the moves



Turkey, 8b+ o/s


Nov 6th

Evolution at Ravenstor lapped 3 times with short rest. Puts perspective on Malham project!





March 12th

Day 1. RD a few times. Then bulge a few times. Belay to undercut clip, but wet. Then undercut to top. OK for day 1




good links. Floor to undercut, belay to undercut. Too wet to pass




floor to undercut clip, then floor to just short of squarecut. Good link! Near high point.




Same as last trip, trying small beta change but it doesn’t work, needed to try on RP to realise that as it felt it could work on link.



April 13th

On link from RD Belay, managed to razor twice. Not bad, but managed this last year. Need to be stronger. Trained at home at 11pm - psyched




too hot, waited all day. Then OK. 2 x from floor to just short of squarecut. Good links.




Failed on bulge from floor so worked on RD belay link. Twice to the stab, so pretty good. Home for more training at 11pm, weights and Fingerboard




Focused on the belay link now, I want this to go, and it should go, then I can move on. Twice to stab but didn’t hold! Vague knee-bar after RS bulge I found while hanging there. Marginal, few seconds really, probably useful.




feeling injured in shoulders now. Same link plan, same place, off at the stab move twice




Same again exactly, however, despite no gain, I felt good on it, solid. Really enjoying the moves. Have to watch shoulders




Just once on belay link, not quite to stab, so packed that in and went for shorter links. Top link 3x in a row. Handy mileage but kind of pointless




Getting so slick on belay link, but still not held stab. A few beta changes to note. Feel really good on it now. Link must go!




Tired from work, link was too hard, only to razor. Played on top of BR



June 1st

Felt burnt out. Managed Belay link to stab yet again but blown then. Shoulders too injured to try hard again. Back to usual level now




Twice to stab from belay! Bah, just can’t nail that move! And I can’t get this link. I think this link is harder than Batman. It must be 9a+ as a link. So font 8a into 8c+ = 9a+? sounds about right. Or maybe this link is even harder? I’ve spent 75 days now and still not done this link. But a bit wet, crag starting to seep – what, its june!




undercut wet so just tried from floor. But still got to razor! So I’m getting to almost the same spot regardless of if I start from the belay of the floor? Is that psyche?




managed from floor to stab! Definite high point! Some beta changes mean I am flying through! Feels awesome. But battered later and failed to get through bulge twice. Very good though. And a good point to finish the season. Still feels like a long way, but enough to keep me motivated to get back on it.


July 12th




Sept 17th

re-start. On Belay link, not quite to stab move twice, then volume on top




same again. So I need to understand it’s the stab move I am just failing on. But its cos I’m faded. Its hard, but I have nothing left




Good efforts today from floor, once to stab, once to razor. That’s awesome. BUT spotted a major sequence change, getting LH into pocket instead of R, much easier, then use the tooth as a side pull for RH to move LH to the micro block, then RH into pocket. Absolutely can’t believe I didn’t spot this. All that messing around years ago trying to find a way to get RH into pocket!! And then years of trying the section with the poor undercut. What an idiot! Very exciting!



Oct 5th

Condensed crag, even failed on RD! But went on upper bit excited about new sequence. But straight away ripped the tooth off, totally lost, no chance of repair. Gutted. How about that for a teaser? Not happy.




Belay link, to stab, as usual! Played on top and found new sequence for heartbreaker move, its easier, but more moves, so 50/50. But I’m not even getting there from belay link. But its great to play and find new stuff. Makes me wonder if there is more stuff?




Feeling good now, twice to stab move on belay link, almost held pocket, just not quite. Feels like I’m about to do this link. Then mentally I’ll be ready




cold fingers again thwarting my links. Twice to stab. Worked new top bit, it is better, but on slopers a long time compared to old way, so feels way longer and may be very important. Will only find out on long links.




Poor condition, only got to razor on belay link. A playing day, can’t figure out which top section?



Nov 2nd

Rubbish conditions! Did RD a few times and then bagged it all and did some other routes






Spain, 9x8a, 2x8a+, 2x8b, 1x8b+ o/S in 6 days



South Africa Trad, up to E8 flash




Day 1. Great start! Very cold but great condition. From floor to razor. Later too cold so just worked



April 4th

Not quite so good, worked on links. Also broke part of foothold for heartbreaker move. This is essential for hands and feet so will need a dab of glue.




Floor to slap to razor. Good RP indeed!




Floor to razor and fell getting LH into undercut. High-point! Psyched. Rubbish kneebar I think makes the difference. Its not a big difference, it feels like it should, but it changes the energy systems a bit, with a sprint I power out, not that pumped, with the kneebar I fall off pumped, but only a move higher!




Floor to crimp




Floor to Stab move!! Very exciting. A real high-point. So just maybe it could be possible? If I hold the pocket well I should get a move higher, then it’s the heartbreaker… that’s really close… wow, it could go!!




Floor to stab move twice! Very keen now. Late night training, no drinking for weeks, given up gluten for weeks, stretching all the time, and still more I can do!




Floor to stab and then floor to razor. Was really   hoping for progress here! Worked on links later - shattered




Floor to razor. But crag packed and RD busy, had to wait for ages.



May 3rd

Floor to razor again. Then failed to get through bulge a few times. But did 2 x link from junction to BR. This is a good link really, must be 8c+




Fell in bulge twice. Not great conditions. Got better later and got to razor, but very tired




3 x to razor! Good volume, but no high points. I’m a few moves off the high point now. Starting to get frustrationg.




Too warm. Got good later. But tired. Spent a while figuring moves, barely any beta changes, possibly a few things, but I have played with everything now!!




Last day, and I knew it. Heart not in it, I figure I am burnt out now, I’ve been going backwards a while. However, that pressure-off thing helped, and from floor I got fingers in pocket, soo close to holding, but not quite. But I was blown really. I need to have a bit left there and I didn’t. But good place to leave it, I’m pretty psyched!




4x 8b+ in 5 days


Sept 20th

Day one this season, all a bit of a shock. I tried all summer to keep in shape, very hard work! But today was really tough. Failed on bulge completely!



Oct 2nd

Waste of time, just broken, fingers felt like they would snap! Too much other climbing. Just once on route, and barely did the moves!




Better, but really struggling with bulge. Managed it only from RD belay. Did link from junction to BR though, so slowly building back up.




Threw in a few RP’s. Once to Squarecut, once to undercut clip. So a long way to go!!




Same again, though nearly got to razor form floor, then to squarecut. Throwing in RP’s now but I think I need more volume on upper wall. I’m still doing links at the end of the day but is there any point trying RP, when I know for absolute certainty I won’t do it?




1st go to razor from floor, 2nd go fell from bulge, 3rd to undercut clip. Good efforts. Good volume on RP, not enough volume on upper section. Quite motivating. But what am I actually trying to achieve?




A while off with half term kids hols, and I felt like I’d stepped back. No RP today, just working again



Nov 4th

Better than last day, some working, then floor to razor later then more working




The end!!! Good conditions, wanted progress, but fell off bulge 3 times! Gutted really. Mentally gave up. Will I even come back?? I’m now so many years in. Its been great, and to be fair there isn’t much else to do at Malham, but that’s not my reason for being on it. I love the process, the journey. But now it really looks like the journey has no end, and I don’t think I can just carry on forever!





March 13

And so it began. But long gone was my psyche, and as we drove there I just didn’t care! Only there for Sharples 60th. Ended up on project, but why? Injured in fingers, injured in shoulder, out of shape. Crag soaked, even RD wet. This is pointless. Managed RD after drying it, and then the bulge in isolation just. Great! That looks great!




Day 2, amazing conditions. Have recovered fromm injuries a bit. Did much better, enough to maybe even think I should continue again! Floor to through bulge. Also junction to heartbreaker move. Then shorter links.




worst conditions ever, seeping and condensed. Failed on RD! spent ages drying the bulge and then did it in such crap conditions. Managed it 3 x with just a few minutes rest. Then later another few times. Strangely satisfying, to have given myself a ‘training target’. So if I can do the bulge in those conditions surely I’m all over it!!



April 3rd

Floor to razor. SO getting back there again. Feels like decent progress now. Also found new beta tweek in bulge- after all this time. Not much better, but a little!




Tired from work setting. So just links today to get volume up




perfect conditions. Need to be on it now! RP from floor to stab. But had high pre-clip. Now time to be clipping on real RP




Grabbed day with kids in tow, only tried in sun and warm. To undercut clip, but good to keep hand in




Felt a bit rusty, Too warm in sun, just did links to get used to it again




2 x floor to stab. So back on high points. Feel pretty good this year. Not sure if it’s the micro beta? Bulge I’m getting most times, Kneebar I’m really milking though its so intense on the body, then I’m so fast on the next section.



May 1st

Still fell out of bulge! But 2nd go to stab, 3rd go to stab! Getting there! Feel all over it, but 100% effort needed every go and all way up!




twice to stab, once fall on bulge. No progress, but feel like I will make some soon. Almost held pocket. Put work into links too




Same again. Need a breakthrough. Spent ages trying to find anything! Actually spotted slight foot beta on stab move. Looked promising! Marginal, but may be enough. How come after 120 days I still find something new??




Progress. Beta worked. So marginal! But twice held the pocket. Once just for a second, then next go managed to move feet. So a breakthrough. Now it actually feels possible. For the first time ever its ON!! Need more progress though. Its still a bunch more after that.




Bah, utterly awful conditions. Condensed, just played on last stab move to see if really works. Then abandoned




Breakthrough day! Held stab, got razor 2, but then fumbled RH change in pocket. Slapped heartbreaker, no where near, but still, that’s the last move!! WOW, its happening!




Good conditions, though warm at first. But ominous, as forecast truly boiling. Everyone talking of sacking off Malham. No one coming after today. I had 2 goes, 1st held stab, but not well, 2nd just slapped stab. That’s it, its over again. But last move. Then I had a last go ‘to get the draws out’ but conditions amazing, just kept going, no pressure. Then I’d held the heartbreaker, and the RH crimp, foot on edge, reached for final undercut… but somehow just short. 5mm further and I was in. But NO. so gutted. Suddenly I was devastated. First time ever on this route I have been truly gutted




Long lay off with 27degrees and humid. Still humid today but now grasping at straws. Ditched all work till end of June and planned loads of visits. I HAVE to keep trying. But tough, no belayers, often warm. Today not great, humid, warm, still, midgy. Very psyched though. 1st go off bulge, bah. 2nd to the heartbreaker!! 3rd to stab. Strangely felt a way off, when I’d always thought the heartbreaker would be just so close!



June 2nd

twice to heartbreaker! Its coming, but feel like I’m pushing it now. Its mentally hard work. It would be easy to leave it till next season. I think that’s what will happen




YES!! Was it always on? I don’t think so. Was this my last chance? Maybe, forecast is truly awful!! Pressure was on! First go was great weather, but rock a tad warm from sun. Almost held heartbreaker. Then tired. Felt drained, disappointed, felt that was it! Rested 3 hr, then nailed it. BUT so close, like ridiculous, closest ever, almost dropped very last move to good holds, and then even in BR I absolutely struggled. Panicked at BR rest and stayed for ages. But then the last 8a wall was easy, and just SOO much fun. Every move I knew it was gonna happen, the moves just flowed, and then at last, it was over.