New E9 for Birkett – VIDEO

On Friday 20th July Dave Birkett sent his latest project at Cam Crag, Wast Water, weighing in at E9 6c. With the absolutely atrocious weather that has been pounding Britain lately, it is highly impressive that Dave has found dry rock, never mind a hard trad line that resides on a mountain crag. Alastair Lee was there to film and document the climb and reports that Dave reckons its by far the hardest thing he?s done this year. The route takes a plumb line to the left of the striking arête of Cam Crag which Dave first climbed three years ago (Nowt Burra Flee?in Thing, E8 6c).There is now a 3 1/2 min film clip of the ascent available on the Posing Productions website. A longer version will feature in their upcoming DVD – PSYCHE – due in Autumn. The climb is a very serious affair with only dubious protection for the first half of the line which also contains the hardest climbing in the form of a series of steep, strenuous 6c movies from under-clings, side-pulls and the odd gnarly crimp. Dave commented that placing the no.4 wire on lead at about 12m (which is the first good protection) is as hard as the crux sequence lower down and puts tremendous strain on the left arm. From there the angle eases slightly and the protection is good but well spaced amongst the sustained 6a/b reachy climbing to the top.Alastair Lee comments more – “We?d all been getting pretty frustrated by the weather as Dave had been raring to lead the route for the past 10 days. Countless attempts were cancelled due to rain then on Thursday 19th we all took the 90min nightmare scree/bramble fest only for heavy rain and rising mist to render the route unclimbable. 24hrs later we were all back and this time everything went according to plan. It was clear Dave was pretty gripped for the first half as he was breathing very heavily, his mental strength kicked in though as he kept it together in impressive style”.

Dave Birkett on his new E9, 6c on Cam Crag in the Lake District

Some screen grabs of the ascent can be seen at the Posing Productions website here. You can also see a superb film short of Dave working the route and the marginal gear being tested.