Dave Birkett E9 repeat at St Govanâs Head, Pembroke, Wales
On Tuesday 5th June Dave Birkett made the second ascent of The Brothers Karamazov E9 6c at St Govan’s Head in Pembroke, Wales.
On Tuesday 5th June Dave Birkett made the second ascent of The Brothers Karamazov E9 6c at St Govan’s Head in Pembroke, Wales. The route hade been first ascended just over a month ago by Dave Pickford who pre-placed a poor peg during the first ascent and removed after the climb to avoid it corroding. Birkett did exactly the same and led the pitch after toproping it briefly a couple of weeks ago.
St Govan's Head in South Wales is tidal and conditions dependent, and as Alistair Lee who filmed the ascent reports: "on the day Dave came to lead the route the bottom of the cliff was wet and all of the route quite greasy. There was no air movement and lots of sunshine so the the moisture was being drawn from the rock but not drying off - so it was a bit greasy. Dave was going to leave it till the next day but some clouds came over and the conditions became climbable."
As to the peg, Alistair explains "On mountain crags and sea cliffs in Britain it has always been the accepted practice to place the occasional peg. Of course they are placed with the least damage to the rock and the maximum protection for the climber. The peg on this route was perhaps more psychological as it pointed down and only went about a third of an inch into the rock. It's not all that common to find pegs on cutting edge routes and when you do they usually aren't very good."
Check out the video footage of Dave repeating the route by Posing Productions.
An enigmatic figure in British climbing, Birkett is without a doubt one of the great trad climbers of our time. Dave is responsible for a unparraled array of impressive first ascents and cutting-edge repeats throughout the entire UK, and at present all eight of his E9s are unrepeated, including "Return of the King" E9 6c (East Buttress, Scafell, 2006), "Welcome to the Cruel World" E9 7a (East Buttress, Scafell, 2002) and the 1992 testpiece "If Six was Nine" E9 6c on Iron Crag.
Although specialised in trad ascents, he has also redpointed up to 8b+, on-sighted 8a and sent Font 8a. Dave Birkett was born in 1968 and resides in the Lake District with his wife Mary.