An Italian Climber Battles English Grit

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In mid-March, Italian climber Michele Caminati took a ground fall from near the top of The New Statesman, a classic, sketchy gritstone route in Ilkley Quarry, Yorkshire, England. He fell about 25 feet, ripping out the micronuts and cams protecting the climb and slamming into a bouldering pad at the bottom. Luckily for Caminati, he walked away with only bruises and a stiff neck, and managed to get over the scare and send the route a week later.

As Caminati’s misadventure illustrates, Britain’s gritstone trad climbing scene is everything modern sport climbing is not: scary, heady, and genuinely dangerous. That’s part of why The New Statesman (E8, or about 5.13 R) has only gotten about six ascents since English climber John Dunne established it in 1987. And while advances in crash pad technology have since made the climb somewhat safer (a memorable scene from 1998’s Hard Grit shows Neil Bentley blowing up Therm-a-Rest mats to smooth out the landing), getting to the top still takes commitment.

Watch the video above to see Caminati take the grounder and come back to send.

—Adam Roy

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