Torbryan Quarry is a fairly popular crag and is home to some Devon Classics such as Threadbare (F7c+), Thread Flintstone (F7b) and Mayday (F6c). Thread Flintstone is also considered to be one of the best quarried routes in the UK. Threadbare has been the hardest route at the crag since it was put up in 1991 and the crag hasn’t been home to any F8’s; until recently…
Earlier this year I had been told about a project at Torbryan Quarry which is a huge (fairly obvious) link up rising traverse which takes in almost every crux on the wall and somewhere between 35 and 40 meters in length. The line can be broken down into two distinct sections; the first part is roughly 8a (and can be done by exiting up the Threadbare and into Mayday, called Red Thunder) and then you come to a poor shakeout where you can get a little (but not a lot) back before finishing up Vicious White Lie (7c). The line starts at Barney Rubble then traverses across into the crux of Thread Flintstone which is also the first crux of this route with some hard lock and slaps between undercuts/side-pulls. Then as soon as you exit this crux, without resting, you then move straight into the crux of Threadbare but continue moving out left onto the poor rest on Mayday (mentioned above). From this you can recover a little before heading out left into the crux of Little White Lie and then another vague rest on very good handholds but awful feet which makes resting here quite difficult but allows you to get your head together before the final section which traverses a long thin rail into some locks on slopers and some small slopey crimps before you finish up Wages of Fear to its lower off. I was first told about this line early this year and had a quick look at it but thought that it would be a project for the future which I wasn’t really ready for. So many hard moves on such a long route with no proper rests along the way… I expected it to take me many sessions and a long time to gain the fitness for it.After a few days on and lots of training Tom Newberry was keen to go and have a look at the line, so we headed over on Monday, put the draws in and started to piece the line together. Firstly we did the second half of the route which starts at Mayday and finishes at the Pebbles, Peggy Potato and Wages of Fear lower-off. We both did this on our first redpoint attempts and Tom named the route Vicious White Lie (as it takes in the cruxes of both Little White Lie and Vicious Delicious). After this Tom soon figured out a sequence for the first section but before redpoint attempts were possible the wall was covered in sun; conditions were far from ideal now and it became quite unbearable to climb in the heat. We called it a day there hoping to come back soon to finish it off and establish Torbryan’s first 8th grade route.
Just under a week later we returned; I did the second half again to warm up and refresh my memory and was soon ready for my first redpoint attempt of the day. I started up and moved through the crux fairly easily, made the tough clip and moved into the Threadbare crux before dropping it on the last move of this crux section which is a hard shoulder move which I hadn’t struggled on before, feeling very pumped! I worried that this would hold me back; getting so pumped, being less than half way and not even into the final 25 meters of 7c! Tom also went for a redpoint and fell on the same move. I went again and moved through the crux, then through the Threadbare crux feeling strong. I arrived at Mayday and spent a bit of time there preparing for the finish. I soon started moving again and before I knew it I was out of there, I got lowered straight away and recovered for my next attempt. Tom went again, moved through the lower section, got to Mayday and dispatched it from there. It was great to watch see and tense to belay on in some areas. Feeling inspired, I got back on, headed through the lower wall and was once again ready to move into Vicious White Lie; I moved upward and hesitated about using the newer beta which Tom used, it involves some reachy moves and this is how I had been trying it before but it felt very difficult being so stretched when tired and pumped so I decided to reverse back down to Mayday and tried to remember my original sequence which is more moves, so was a bit harder but using this beta I was more likely to do it with a bit of a fight. I went for it, and then reversed. Again I went for it and this time went all out, and dropped it. I realised that I was using the wrong hold and there was a fairly good hold which I missed, so I went through the sequence again and climbed it to the top. Lowered back down to realise that the whole wall was now in the sun, it was warmer than the last session and temperatures were now around 34/35°C. Conditions must have been the worst I have experiences at Torbryan, so chances of success were relatively little now, I was feeling quite tired and this would be my last session here for a while before I go to the Pyrenees.
Last attempt, I pulled on tied into a Mammut Serenity 8.7 which feels weightless so for such a long route it was the perfect option. I arrived at the crux, moved through it with some difficulty having to chalk up a lot on some bad holds and was soon into the crux of TB which felt easier than ever. Now onto the mayday hold where I spent less time than usual here and moved off it feeling okay but still felt the need to chalk up in some awkward positions and on poor holds. I flowed through the crux of Little White Lie and was now at the second ‘semi-rest’ position, at this point I was pretty sure I had it in the bag and tried to get as much back here as possible before nervously moving out left along the rail and onto the slopers and crimps… Now I suddenly felt pumped and from here it was a bit of a fight but to make it worse I went wrong handed to the small hold which you have to clip off and was locked on this whilst I hung around trying to clip in the wrong position. As it clipped I felt a huge relief and now all I had left was a run out on greasy slopers to the top. With a bit of a fight I stood on the ledge and did the few moves on the slab which lead me to the chains!
I’d done it, this was also my longest route yet but the endurance training recently defiantly helped me fight through that last section to clip the chains. The route was great fun and very interesting, lots of different aspects to it, the first crux is very different to the second and the second section is completely different to the first. Tom also put up another route at 8a called Red Thunder which does the first section but continues up Threadbare before moving out left to finish up Mayday to finish.
There are a few other hard links to go at Torbryan and I still have Threadbare (7c+), Threadbare (from left) (7b+), Little White Lie Direct (7b) and Crosstown Traffic (6c+) to do before I tick the crag.
Thank you for reading,