Ben Cossey, The True Master of The Master´s Edge?

by Mick Ryan The Master´s Edge In December 1983 Ron Fawcett made the first ascent of The Master´s Edge, E7 6c,the square cut arete in the Green Death area of Millstone in the Peak District. As one climbing magazine said at the time: “while the rest of us were tucking into Christmas lunch, Fawcett was out at work at Millstone.” The Master´s Edge has two shotholes below half-height (see photo) where the only protection, a Tri-cam and an Alien, can be arranged. Fawcett abseiled down this route before his ascent. At the time of this first ascent, Ron Fawcett and the young upstart Jerry Moffat, were vying for the crown, Master of British Rock. In the same year as Fawcett climbed Master´s Edge, Moffat made the first ascent of Master´s Wall on Clogwyn du´r Arddu in Wales. Moffat said about Fawcett´s Master´s Edge that “anyone who could do this climb without abseiling down it first, or practising it on a top rope, would be a true master.” Twenty-two years after the first ascent there have been several no-practice-ground-up-onsight attempts at The Master´s Edge. The late Wolfgang Gullich made a valiant attempt but broke his back in a fall whilst testing the gear. Nic Sellars of Sheffield come close, on his onsight or ground-up attempt he fell way above the gear on the final moves. He then pulled his ropes and got it on his second try. On the 8th March Ben Cossey, the Australian climber who may have assisted you in the Outside Shop in Hathersage where he works, made an equally valiant ascent ofThe Master´s Edge. Since arriving from Australia last November, Cossey, age 22, from the Blue Mountains of Australia and a dual Australian-UK citizen has turned many a head with his nighttime headpoint of John Dunne´s Parthian Shot E9 6c (Burbage South) and his outstanding solo of Johnny Dawes´ Gaia E8 6c at Black Rocks. Climbing ground-up (no top rope practice) Ben started up The Master´s Edge but fell low down when he fumbled the low bouldery starting sequence. He then got back on and fired The Master´s Edge, placing a white Alien and a number three Tri-cam (borrowed from his Swedish-Australian friend, Rosendorph) in the shotholes and made it to the top. Again, like Nic Sellars, a one fall, no-practice ground-up ascent.