I first tried the Cider Soak Left just after I returned from a trip to Rodellar back in 2014 where I climbed my first 8c, however I got on this route and I thought it was so much harder. It felt like linking a 7c+/8a into an 8A boulder with a fairly poor rest in between. It felt way off and I thought I’d have to put some serious effort in in order to get it done.
I didn’t try the route again until after I climbed Brian, the classic Anstey’s testpiece standing at 8c+ but still I didn’t feel like it could go anytime soon, the top boulder was just too hard to do some of the moves, never mind link them all together. I knew of several strong people who had been putting some effort into it with no success, so knew it must be pretty hard.
Anyway I got psyched on the route but ended up having 18 months/2 years off of climbing where I ended up climbing no more than 5 times in that time period. When the new Climbing Hangar opened in Plymouth in March, I got completely hooked on climbing again. I started to really enjoy the sport again and soon started getting into the flow of training; board climbing, fingerboarding, campusing, laps; all sorts.
I ended up back at Anstey’s two weeks ago with my friend Charlotte and I thought I’d give this project a quick try as a quick measure of progress to see if I’m anywhere near my level that I was at 2 years ago. I ended up finding the moves okay and felt much stronger on the route than ever before but didn’t have any serious efforts that day. I then got my regular climbing partner Alex Oates psyched to get down there a couple of days later where I started having some serious redpoint attempts and realised that the route was possible! I then returned a week later hoping to finish the route off and finally put this project to bed. Arriving I was very nervous as it was very hot and the crux of the route was in full sun but I quickly warmed up by trying the moves which gave me a very positive mentally as all the moves went fairly comfortably, on my first attempt I reached the boulder problem fresh and completely relaxed. I just climbed through the route completely nerve free and just enjoying the climbing one move at a time. I feel like I’ve almost never been in that state of mind where I felt no pressure to do the route on the attempt, if I did it I did it, if I didn’t then it didn’t matter… there was always a next attempt.
This cool-headed mentality paid off however and I just took one move at a time and soon myself catching the sloper at the end of the crux, I’d done it at last!
Doing this route feels like a huge step forward in my climbing, knowing that I’m back to full strength which I previously had and maybe even stronger, so it’ll be exciting to see what I can get done this summer.
I’m not sure about the grade as I’d always thought that the route was at least 8c, feeling like one of the harder routes I’ve done and a step above most things at Anstey’s except for Brian. However I think 8b+ is could potentially be more appropriate. Whatever the grade turns out to be its one of the best routes in my opinion with some brilliant hard climbing with big powerful moves on some small holds. On a side note, there will be a very hard project to do from Pet Cemetery into the boulder problem on this which looks like a good natural line to get done and could easily weigh in at somewhere between 8c and 8c+.
UPDATE (15/05/2018): After a lot of thought and discussion with some people who have tried the route I’ve decided that proposing 8c for the route is more appropriate.