Roaches and Curbar – Hard Grit Repeats

by Kevin Avery-Assistant Editor – UKC Alastair Robertson has made what is thought to be the first repeat of the testing Julian Lines slab route, Judge Jules E8 7a at the Nth Cloud area of Staffordshire´s Roaches. Alastair climbed the route in a head-point style (cleanly leading it after top-rope practice) with protection from a low wire in a pocket (as used by Lines on the first ascent) but said: "thankfully I didn´t test the fall." Then on the 24th January he turned his attention to head-pointing another difficult slab in the form of Curbar´sKnockin´ On Heaven´s Door, E9 6c.Alastair had this to say about his ascent: "With regards to Knocking, I did the route placing all the gear on the lead which included a small blade peg up and left (the one which was historically pre-placed) which I think people had assumed was ´unplaceable´ on the lead.  That, combined with the pecker/rurp stack seems to be pretty good and I took a couple of falls." Knockin´ On Heaven´s Door E7? Alastair is apparently something of a "slab genius" according to his friend, Ally Smith. Ally also told us that Alastair felt that E7 6c was a more realistic grade for the latter route. You can view Alastair´s UKC profile HERE Thanks to Ally Smith and Alastair Robertson for providing the details for this news item and to Jenny Clarke for providing the image.