Poppy, 8b+

Poppy has always been a route which I’ve aspired to do, however I never thought it would be possible for me. It’s a really cool route which starts up The Cider Soak, and then it has a hard boulder problem across into the top section of A Fisherman’s Tale. To break it down it’s something like a V4 into a V9/10 and then a short 7c+ route to finish, it’s given an overall grade of 8b+. It doesn’t have any rests a long it and is around 17 pretty hard moves from start to finish.

I first tried it in April ’13 just after I had done my first 8b, I soon realised that it was far beyond me and that I wouldn’t get it done anytime soon. So I decided to leave it and I focused on trying to do all of the routes on Empire Wall! After finishing most of the routes on Ferocity Wall last week I knew that Poppy was the next thing to get on although I thought it’d be a bit of a long term project and I’d have to be spending a while on it to get it done.

Starting the crux section

Starting the crux section

I headed down to Anstey’s the day after I had done Tuppence Ha’penny and Pet Cemetery (I had also done A Fisherman’s Tale the previous day) so I felt pretty tired knowing that I should probably be having a rest day. Despite this I was looking forward to having my first session on Poppy in over a year where I wanted to try the crux move which I found utterly desperate last year. I warmed up on the route and tried the crux which I managed to do on my 3rd try! This was really surprising so I tried again and did it, again and it happened again! I put all of the quickdraws in, had a long rest and had my first redpoint attempt. I made it to the crux hold and fell off releasing it. This was a huge surprise- I realised that it was possible for me and probably wouldn’t be the long-term project I was expecting. As my session was coming to a close I knew I didn’t have much time left before I had to leave so I only had 15 minutes rest before having a second attempt; I went for it, made it through the crux… all I had to do now was make it through the last short section and it was done! I moved through it, all that I had to do now was the last move and I had done Poppy! I went for it, I dropped it! I was so upset but really happy at the same time, I knew that the route was definitely possible for me and I was looking forward to my next session on it.

I had two rest days in order to feel fresh for my next session on the route. When I arrived and got on it, I noticed that conditions were far from perfect and I didn’t feel very optimistic. I got down, had a short rest and decided to go for a redpoint attempt. I didn’t feel very relaxed from the start but proceeded and fell off just before the crux move. I felt very stressed and angry at the point for some reason; so I pulled the rope and went again straight away despite still feeling tired from my last go. This time I felt much more relaxed with a better mind-set even though I was definitely much more tired. I founded myself making it through the crux (even though I almost fell off on about 4 holds), again I found myself faced with this last move again… I jumped for the jug… I stuck it! I had just done Poppy!

Upper section of Poppy

Upper section of Poppy- Photo by Tom Wright

It didn’t sink in straight away but as soon as it did, I knew that I could definitely climb harder… I managed to get this on my 4th redpoint go so I knew that I could work something much harder. Poppy is considered hard for 8b+ and I’ve also heard that it has been given 8c in some magazine articles, so I’m almost definitely ready to take on something much harder now. I was very excited to do such a cool route and now I only have one route left to repeat on Ferocity Wall!

It was a huge shock to get this as my goal (which I thought was slightly unrealistic only two weeks ago) was to do Tuppence Ha’penny before my trip to Rodellar at the end of June. So to do Ha’penny and Poppy is very surprising but it does show that my training is paying off and I am getting into good shape for the trip.


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