Last week we headed down to Spion Kop. There is a line there that I have been thinking about since I first visited the crag a few months back.
The routes on the central tower of Spion Kop are great routes and well worth a visit for anyone operating at E5ish but there was one gaping hole which cried out to be climbed. It is the direct start to The Love Story E5.
I roped down the line an gave it a clean a few months ago as it was a little sandy, and saw that all the moves would go, although they would be pretty hard and bold. The crux was pretty blank and didnt look to have any gear except one small hole. I didnt have any gear that would fit in this hole. I wanted to avoid bashing in a peg if there was any other way. After much deliberation I brought a bolt, wrapped it in finger tape and worked out a way to hand place it on the lead.
On saturday 9th of June Giles and I headed out to try the route.
I fell off it twice on top rope and worked out the rest of the gear. I managed to do the crux sequence a few times so decided to go for it on the lead.
Before I knew it I was placing the bolt, cruising past the crux and towards the top. On reaching the top I was filled with mixed emotions, I was pleased to have climbed the line but also slightly sad about how calmly and smoothley it had gone. The route hadnt put up much of a fight. I think maybe this is what Headpointing is like, but I dont really know as I have not Headpointed a hard route before.
I have called the route Hole Lotta Love.
With regards to the grade and style of the ascent I climbed it after top rope practice and used one boulder pad at the bottom and a hand placed bolt on the lead (see video). I am offering a grade of bottom end E8 6c. The reasons for the grade are you are climbing fairly unprotected 6c moves about 8 meters from a boulder strewn bottom and you would not spot the protection easily onsight. The moves may not be to physically challenging, but I found them technically complex and precise. This route is significantly harder than any trad route I have done before. As I have already stated the route felt quite uneventful to headpoint. Never the less this is a great new route with a nice direct line at a crag already graced with some wonderfull challenges.
If anyone fancied a bash on the route give me a shout and I will lend you the bolt for protection.
(As a side note, the day I had a Nesscliffe last week where I spent the day falling off routes on the onsight attemps was in many ways more fun than this experience and it just shows that you do not have to be actually ticking routes to have a great time!)
I hope to see people on it! It needs a 2nd ascent!