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First E7 onsight (Read 32412 times)

shark

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First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 12:57:18 pm
Iíd always thought it was Seb doing Snap Decision in 97 as at the time it was reported as the first.

Following a discussion on ukc Iíve been doing a bit of googling. Pollittís second ascent of the Bells is said to have been onsight here but Iíd be surprised if it didnít involve some pre-inspection, cleaning or beta from Redhead. Anybody know?

Also if Strawberries is E7 (surely!) then Stefan Glowaczís onsight ascent in 1987 has to be a potential contender.

Any others?

To some extent this is evaluating the past through modern day spectacles as the strict understanding of onsight and itís covetousness as a style didnít really become a thing till the 90ís with sport climbing or at least that was my impression at the time. Certainly onsight and flashed were often confused (anyone remember the onsight flash?)

Johnny Brown

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#1 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 01:16:01 pm
Quote
Certainly onsight and flashed were often confused (anyone remember the onsight flash?)

Potentially huge tangent, but they were crystal clear as explained to me in the nineties. Flash meaning simply first go, onisght meaning without beta. So 'onsight flash' makes perfect sense. It was only in the noughties that flash evolved (through confusion I think) to mean specifically a beta flash, and anything other than an onsight flash became dumped into groundup.

I'd be very surprised in Seb did the first in '97, they were becoming common in '99 when I did my first.

teestub

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#2 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 01:41:48 pm
My money would have been on Jerry, just looking at Revelations, it has him down as onsight solo of Linden (E6) in Ď83 and then The Phoenix (13a so E6ish?) in Ď84. It looks like he just got psyched on sport and bouldering in the late Ď80ís though.

Think you dropped this JB 🏅

Duncan campbell

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#3 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 01:48:03 pm
I can't find it anywhere now but I swear I read something about Dougie Hall doing one in very good style (whether it was a pure o/s i cant say) maybe up at Dove Crag? But tbh maybe that was on an E6 but the bir of writing as a whole was about the E7s.

Will Remus start making a list for this? Finally we are out of the redpoint lists and onto the good ones! (eh Mr Fiend!?)  :lol:

Steve R

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#4 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 02:01:36 pm
From a bit UKC logbook spying, Mike Owen has quite a few E7s logged as OS from 89/90.  Looks like he was contemporary with Twid Turner so guess he might've been at the same sort of level too? https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/showlog.php?id=94701&sort=g&country=0&crag=0&gradetype=0&partner=0&year=0&season=0&pitches=0&nresults=50&pg=1
Maybe Seb's ascent of SD was reported as first E7 OS on grit?  :shrug:

teestub

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#5 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 02:07:30 pm
Maybe Seb's ascent of SD was reported as first E7 OS on grit?  :shrug:

Probably first person from Sheffield

Will Hunt

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#6 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 02:10:30 pm
Maybe Seb's ascent of SD was reported as first E7 OS on grit?  :shrug:

Probably first person from Sheffield

Does anything else count?

Teaboy

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#7 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 02:30:44 pm
I’d be surprised if it didn’t involve some pre-inspection, cleaning or beta from Redhead. Anybody know?
I obviously don't know but he wrote an article in High magazine on it at the time and it was certainly clear in that that there was no pre-inspection. I don't think the route was in a guide at the time so he probably had a first hand account from JR of the climb but beta is a continuum so I don't think that in itself would be disqualifying.

Quote
Certainly onsight and flashed were often confused (anyone remember the onsight flash?)

Again, going back to the magazines of the day, Mick Ryan wrote an article in OTE about 1989 (in the context of sport climbing) and that was the first time I was aware of the distinction.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 02:35:55 pm by Teaboy »

shark

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#8 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 02:33:05 pm
Potentially huge tangent, but they were crystal clear as explained to me in the nineties. Flash meaning simply first go, onisght meaning without beta.

About as fragile as crystal too when what is considered as constituting beta varies.

I think itís fair to say that the bar was lower in the 80ís. I know climbers who watched someone top rope the route before climbing it then considered theyíd onsighted it.

Iím sure others have felt theyíve done a route onsight by the mores of the day that might not stand up to the modern standard of no beta. Factor in hazy memories as well and the topic is  :worms:

From Stefanís testimony itís clear that heís onsighted Strawberries in the modern sense. Pollitt on the Bells could be another. Phil Davidson on Deathwish in 1982 has been mentioned to me as another contender.

petejh

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#9 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 02:34:21 pm
Maybe Seb's ascent of SD was reported as first E7 OS on grit?  :shrug:

Probably first person from Sheffield

Does anything else count?
Apparently not Will. Has it ever? Pre-internet the only ascents that existed were those reported to mags. Post internet, insta.


Craig Parnaby may have onsighted Zero (e7) in the late 80s, along with others around the grade. According to one of my climbing partners who used to climb with him.

Will Hunt

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#10 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 02:39:14 pm
beta from Redhead.

Is JR capable of giving beta? I can only imagine a stream of consciousness causing the aspirant leader to think that all the holds would be shaped like knobs and fannies.

edshakey

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#11 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 03:04:15 pm
beta from Redhead.

Is JR capable of giving beta? I can only imagine a stream of consciousness causing the aspirant leader to think that all the holds would be shaped like knobs and fannies.

Does knowing what type of energy a rock has count as beta?

remus

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#12 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 03:34:14 pm
Iíd always thought it was Seb doing Snap Decision in 97 as at the time it was reported as the first.

Interestingly I just had a look on the ukc logbooks and Seb has logged it in 1995 and says "1st grit E7 onsight", so I guess he probably thought/thinks there's other E7 onsights which came before.

andy popp

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#13 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 03:51:29 pm
Iím sure others have felt theyíve done a route onsight by the mores of the day that might not stand up to the modern standard of no beta. Factor in hazy memories as well and the topic is  :worms:

I "onsighted" The Salmon in the early 90s. Though I feel like I onsighted it (and I did all the hard climbing fully onsight), I had some very inconsequential beta for the easy climbing low down and it likely wouldn't pass muster as an onsight today. I wonder how much that is true of some of the other claims from the 80s/early 90s? However, I think there's no way the first E7 OS was as late as '97.

Didn't Steve Mayers OS some E7 FAs on The Range? And what about Vickers?
« Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 04:14:30 pm by andy popp »

cheque

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#14 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 04:09:06 pm
About as fragile as crystal too when what is considered as constituting beta varies.

Onsightís a virtually indefinable term, everyone has their own idea of what it is. Some people think you canít onsight a route if youíve read the guidebook description or belayed someone on it, others have some old school definition which seems to simply mean ďdidnít top rope it firstĒ, some think climbing down to the floor is the same as being lowered off etc.

Going off whether people have logged ascents as onsight on UKC is dodgy because thereís almost as many methods of using it as there are climbers- the digital equivalent of using different coloured pens or symbols when ticking a guidebook.  :lol: At least one of the people I have listed as a partner on there logs every single route they climb as onsight regardless of the circumstances.

dunnyg

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#15 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 04:11:21 pm
Is that Will Hunt? I heard he onsights routes he's top roped twice and fallen off on the redpoint 3 times. Logbook of lies, that.

andy moles

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#16 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 04:19:37 pm
I think it's a reasonably well definable term as long as it's acknowledged that there are different shades of onsight, and that the difference between a very 'pure' onsight and a chalked-to-fuck one where you've had a good gander from every possible angle before tying in and the guidebook description is on the generous side is potentially greater than the difference between the latter and a minimal-beta flash.

Something in one corner of a box may sit closer to something in a corner of the box next to it than something in the opposite corner of the same box, kinda thing...  :-\

Though I also think the settling of these rigid style categories has a fair bit to answer for in fucking up some people's enjoyment of climbing.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 04:28:25 pm by andy moles »

shark

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#17 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 04:30:36 pm
Iíd always thought it was Seb doing Snap Decision in 97 as at the time it was reported as the first.

Interestingly I just had a look on the ukc logbooks and Seb has logged it in 1995 and says "1st grit E7 onsight", so I guess he probably thought/thinks there's other E7 onsights which came before.

Yes - I think it must have just been a claim for grit rather than all rock types and Iíve misremembered

Neil F

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#18 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 04:40:55 pm

Onsightís a virtually indefinable term, everyone has their own idea of what it is. Some people think you canít onsight a route if youíve read the guidebook description or belayed someone on it, others have some old school definition which seems to simply mean ďdidnít top rope it firstĒ, some think climbing down to the floor is the same as being lowered off etc.


I log all the routes where I've belayed someone on the line just before I did it, as 'Flashed with beta' (assuming I did actually flash it!), as attentative belaying and onsighting are mutually exclusive in my book.

I do remember once belaying Jon de Montjoye on one of his routes at Falaise du Renard near Vallorcine.  Jon was great at giving me copious beta, which naturally I lapped up, giving me a ticklist which somewhat exaggerated my capability. Jon's girlfriend expressed a degree of scepticism at my achievements, so when I came to belay Jon on Sikapath, I sat on the ground, well within her view, deliberately facing out from the crag.  I did get my on sight tick on that one, though Jon told me I did it all wrong  :lol:


Banana finger

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#19 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 04:49:04 pm
Surely knowing the grade counts as beta?  ;)

Fiend

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#20 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 05:38:51 pm
Will Remus start making a list for this? Finally we are out of the redpoint lists and onto the good ones! (eh Mr Fiend!?)  :lol:

I might have to take a cold shower!!

Such a remuslist has been a long time coming.


mrjonathanr

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#21 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 05:50:48 pm
My money's on Dougie Hall.

petejh

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#22 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 06:37:24 pm
Quote from: me
Craig Parnaby may have onsighted Zero (e7) in the late 80s, along with others around the grade. According to one of my climbing partners who used to climb with him.

It may have been a little later actually, out of curiosity just unearthed this great article from stone country press (I hope they don't mind me sharing here): https://www.stonecountrypress.co.uk/2009/08/unsponsored-heroes-craig-parnaby_12.html

(off topic, have standards really improved in trad? I'm tended to think not).


''You never know who your heroes are going to be in the climbing world. They end up being people entirely different from the abstracted heroes you started with in the climbing mags - the ones photographed doing crazy solos and hand-stands against the cliff faces. If you are lucky enough, they are people you climb with for a few years. They often disappear from the climbing world into real life and don't come back, which only makes their legend stronger. For me, Craig Parnaby was one of these vanishing legends.

Craig was inimitable and his ability on rock was terrifying. I first met him at the Bowderstone in the early 90's, a 'beginner' doing laps on the classic 6a crack. He was a youth from Coniston in the Lakes, with Gecko hands and lithe forearms, reminding me instantly of Ron Fawcett's build - you could just tell he had the genetics. Even as a beginner he moved on the rock like a bent bow, always tensioned, never loose and arse-out-the-window like the rest of us. He came to Glasgow, ostensibly to study medicine, but he set about dismantling reputations in his own casual and unassuming manner. Over his few years of climbing he onsighted some of Britain's hardest rock climbs, never once pre-inspecting or seeking beta, he just got on with it. One weekend he went down to Wales and onsighted The Bells, The Bells, saying it was 'rather easy', in the manner of a gifted schoolboy rolling his eyes at simplistic homework.

In 1996 I had my first experience of the 'Parnaby Day'. A Parnaby 'evening' would go something like this: drive to Cambusbarron in his beat-up Panda, do Grace Under Pressure, Big Country Dreams, Purr Blind Doomster, Quantum Grunt & The Crowd, go home, eat a spoonful of pasta, sleep, get up, phone someone and ask if they fancied the Coe. I said I did, but I would drive. On reaching the Coe I asked if he had enough lunch for two, I'd forgotten mine. 'Yes, I have plenty of food, John...' He saw the Tunnel Wall and said 'that looks rather good, we could climb there this morning'. He 'warmed up' by onsighting Uncertain Emotions, Fated Path and Admission, at one point down-climbing a crux because he 'hadn't done it right'. Then it was off to the Freak-Out wall to despatch Crocodile, Jimmy Blacksmith and Supernova before I wilted as a second and dragged him away to the pub. Craig hated the pub, it was missing good climbing time and he sat there flicking through guide-books 'oohing' at E7 6a's. Oh, and the food he brought that day? Two packs of Sunmaid raisins (the wee kids' boxes) and four Ryvita...

Despite his meagre appetite, Craig ate up the climbing grades like a mumbly-mouthed Pacman eating dots. He began to travel and climb widely, doing big repeats, taking the odd legendary fall, getting back on, doing the E6 or whatever, always persistent, always onsight, taking his time. His favourite trick was to arrive at climbing wall bouldering comps, climb to the crux, mutter a little, downclimb to the starting jug, shake-out and repeat this until he had solved the problem or the bored queue behind him moved on. He was barred from future boulder comps.

None of us could keep up with Craig's stamina and hunger. He was not afraid to take a fall or two either. One time at Auchinstarry, after a warm-up on Nijinski, he fell off the direct start to Blade Runner, landing on his head on the plinth below. He rubbed his head a little, inexplicably said sorry to the belayer and despatched the route with one piece of gear in disdain. He continued to motor through the bigger British extremes until his parents took away his ropes and gear and insisted he concentrate on his studies. He dutifully packed away climbing like a worn pair of boots and moved on with his career. But hell, he was a good climber...''

Duncan campbell

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#23 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 07:05:11 pm
So legendary. Wonder exactly how true all that stuff is.

He certainly sounds like he was at the cutting edge BITD.

webbo

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#24 Re: First E7 onsight
November 24, 2021, 07:08:08 pm
My money's on Dougie Hall.
I remember Dougie telling me a story which Iím sure I have recounted on another thread. He was talking to Pete Gomersall and Dougie said heíd been to Blue Scar and done a route up the wall where Death Wish, Great white go. Pete went a bit pale and enquired when Dougie had done it. Doug gave a date and Pete then said he done this route the week before.
Doug in recounting the tale said this was strange as it was heavily chalked to crux then no chalk above. Doug with a wink said I know who did it first.
I wish I could remember which route it was.

 

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