Posts in E10 trad climbing
Mind Riot E10 first ascent

I could feel the remaining window of autumn was closing pretty fast to lead my Shuas project. On one hand, I did expect to be good enough to be even close to leading it, so its hard to be frustrated. On the other, as it dawned on me that there actually was a possibility I could do it, I was obviously highly motivated to grab the chance. I arranged with Masa Sakano to climb there on a good forecast and started to get scared.

As I left the house to meet Masa and his friend Ed in the morning, it rained most of the drive over (not forecast). But it was dry at the car park, so we proceeded. In the vlog episode above you can see it turned out to be a desperate day for preparing myself for a lead, with constant start-stops with rain showers.

On my first attempt, I slipped off one of the holds on the technical crux, but thankfully a body length before the runout gets into the slab-hitting zone. Thankfully the gear all held, although I later saw that the cam on the left-hand rope had half slipped out of its placement and had held on two cams. This probably helped me relax a bit. The second attempt I climbed the crux probably better than I ever have and same for the upper crux. I was definitely climbing well for me and feeling fit, light and strong.

Overall I’d say the route is almost as hard as I’ve climbed on trad. It was a long time ago but probably only Echo Wall is harder, since it is more serious again with poorer protection. In some ways, this route is more similar to Rhapsody - both in the region of 8c to top-rope. But this one has ground fall potential from a couple of moves at the end of the crux, and is in a mountain situation rather than an accessible roadside crag. So you may well ask why do I give it E10 when Rhapsody appears to have held its grade at E11.

The short answer is I’m not sure and just being a bit conservative really. I climbed Rhapsody a long time ago and maybe its harder than I remember? I’m also maybe not as bold to apply such a ridiculous grade as E11 as I was in the past. I’m not sure if that is right or wrong. It’s also not that important - someone else will come along and repeat it at some point and will have a more objective view than me. All that’s really important to know is that aside from Echo Wall I’ve not climbed a harder trad route than this.

I will be back to Shuas next summer. Not for anything quite as hard, but there are at least three more routes of E8 or harder that I’ve either cleaned already or know are possible. Its such a great place and can’t wait to get back there. For now, I can move on to several other projects for the autumn and winter, from a base of climbing well and feeling confident.

Oh, one last thing, the name comes from the Soundgarden song which I listened to a couple of times while jogging up and down the hill to try this project. Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I’ve spoken recently about depression and suicide and one of many horrible losses in recent years was Chris Cornell who sung the song.