Divided Years 4th Ascent – Ricky Bell

by Mcclown & Jack Geldard UKC Dave MacLeod on Divided Years – E9? Reported by Mcclown: Divided Years got it´s 4th ascent by Ricky Bell, the first local to succeed. He´s proposed the grade of E9 6c. He climbed the route, placing the gear on lead, taking some big falls on his quest for a clean ascent. For those who don´t know Ricky, he´s the guy climbing all the hard stuff in Underdeveloped. Also he´s featured fairly heavily in the Onsight Trailer, as he takes a massive whipper in Fairhead as he misses a 6ft sidewards dyno on one of his new routes. On ticking Divided Years he has now climbed every established route in Ireland of the grade E8 or higher. This means he´s got his work cut out for him now to keep on putting up new lines, although it doesn´t look like he´s having too much trouble after adding a new hard E8 6c(More Info) to Fairhead a few weeks ago. For more info on Ricky´s ascent view Simon Moore´s post on fairheadclimbers.com Ricky Bell shares some thoughts on the route: “It´s been a bit of a goal for me for a very long time. I started climbing in the Mourne´s with my dad when I was about 10, around the time ´Dunney´ put up this perfect line. I pretty much decided I wanted to do it then, but it took a while. My mate Si and his wife Jackie moved back form the States this year and we decided we´d both get our heads down for a bit and try and do this route. Si and I used to run about the Mourne´s together when we were kids trying lines we shouldn´t really have been on. It´s been good to get climbing with Si again and we´ve both been down in the Mourne´s the last few days having a go on lead. For me the climbing is pretty hard, more like 8b than 8a+ but I could be wrong. More of a stamina issue than how hard the actual moves are. Bare in mind we don´t have any bolted routes in Ireland and the best training facility in the country is a board in my folks back garden! Simon and I both fell a few times on the move into the crack after placing the crux wire. We both realized we didn´t quite have the gas for the whole route but didn´t want to sacrifice placing the gear on lead. Various attempts to gain stamina on the quick didn´t quite work (3 red bulls and an aspirin) but we soon figured out that you could place a big bird beak or ´Simon´s pecker´ in the mono before the crux and then run it out through all the hard climbing leaving out the crux wire. It´s not exactly the most inspiring looking bit of gear but it made the difference and occasionally got tested. I had the good fortune of going firstyesterday and just about shuffled my way to the top. Si fell off on pretty much the last move before easy climbing. A move my mum could do in her bare feet! Not bad for someone who´s last three routes are The Salathe Wall 2005, Mizen Star E2 at Fair Head 2008 and The French Route E2 (on second) Mourne Mountains 2008. We´ve got to work all this week but I´d imagine there´ll be a cheeky sick day some time soon for Simon to climb this amazing line that´s inspired the both of us since we were kids.” Thanks to Ricky for the information. Info from Jack Geldard: Divided Years was first climbed by John Dunne in 1995 when John was 27 years old.John originally graded the Route E10 7a and it waited 10 years for a repeat at the hands of Lakeland climbing star Dave Birkett.The following year Dave MacLeod made a repeat and proposed a down grade to E8.It seems like the grade might be now settling at E9 6c. The route is one of the most inspirational lines in the UK, tackling a huge overhanging bastion of rock in a beautiful and remote setting. Dave MacLeod describes it as: “This is one of the best single pitch routes I´ve ever seen or done” The sport grade would weigh in at around F8a+ (possibly F8b) and the route is known to be well protected.Both John Dunne and Dave Birkett are thought to have had a few pre-placed runners on the most difficult section, whereas Dave MacLeod and Ricky Bell placed all gear on lead.Ricky took some 30ft falls on to hand-placed bird beak runners during his ascent. Congratulations to Ricky on his ascent and thanks to Mcclown for the report.Additional thanks to Si Moore for fact checking. Watch Ricky in action in the Underdeveloped Trailer: