Monday 8 June 2020

'Alone' - Sandstone's Hardest Climb?

On the 18th May 2020, Peter Wycislik made what is perhaps the first ascent of the hardest route on sandstone. The side face of the Elephant's Head at Eridge Rocks has long been considered to have the potential for a very hard route and this climb has been tried by some of sandstone's strongest climbers, including Ben Read who has a list of hard sandstone ascents as long as his arm. Peter Wycislik is perhaps the dark horse of sandstone and has a large number of impressive sandstone ascents to his name. He had been trying this problem for a while and with the dry conditions and a prolonged period of rest during lockdown, has come out all guns blazing and finally completed the project which he as named 'Alone'.

The climb is currently described as having a bottom section which is fairly easy, with a few moves into a perfect crack which leads to a small two fingers pocket (around French 6c). From the pocket, make a desperate move to a very poor sloper and a half dynamic move to better holds thereafter. The top section is a much easier but sketchy (French 6a).

The crux move is reported to be around Font 7C+ and combined, the climb is rumoured to be approximately a sandstone style French 8b, but Peter has decided not to give it a grade himself until someone else can help confirm the grade.

'Please be aware that the rock is particularly soft in this area so if you do try this or any other climb in this area, to continue to ensure your karabina is over the edge, and remove any contact between the static anchor rope and the rock by use of rope protectors.'

Peter has also recently made the second ascent of Brutus - Low Start (Font 8a+) which is currently sandstone's hardest boulder problem, which was put up by Ben Read back in June of 2019.