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Sean McColl climbing Gaia (E8 6c) at Black Rocks, England
Photo by archive Sean McColl

Video: Sean McColl climbing Gaia at Black Rocks

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Canadian climber Sean McColl repeating the trad climb Gaia E8 6c, established by Johnny Dawes at Black Rocks in England.

Is yet another repeat of a rock climb established 30 years ago newsworthy? Especially considering the fact that, back then, it was first ascended in almost impeccable style and that, in the three decades that have followed, this style has almost never been emulated or improved on, with the notable exception of Alex Honnold in 2008? Bearing this in mind, the recent repeat of Gaia at Black Rocks in England by Sean McColl is certainly nothing new; McColl tried the moves on toprope before his repeat, while in preparation of the first ascent in 1986 Johnny Dawes only abseiled down to inspect the shallow groove, totally ignoring the dangerous exit moves to the right...

But what makes McColl's ascent interesting is that it was the Canadian’s first ever route on England’s famous gritstone, and one of the few times he has had to place trad gear in recent years. McColl obviously dispatches the route with ease, and quite rightly so: 30 years have passed and he is without a shadow of doubt currently one of the most successful climbers out there. But his joy, excitement and relief on reaching the good hold around the arête, and that of his belayer Jorg Verhoeven who climbed the route shortly before him, are indicative of the fact that this was nevertheless a special moment. One which, in 30 years time, will be just as authentic and special for those who dare to court this beautiful earth goddess.



13/11/2008 - Alex Honnold flashes Gaia E8 6c
26/04/2006 - Lisa Rands climbs Gaia E8 6c!

3/12/2011 - Johnny Dawes - the rock climbing interview
Interview with Johnny Dawes, one of the most talented and influential British climbers of all times.

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