8a in 9 simple steps

by Davo Flanagan

Is it possible for a non-talented climber to do Font 8a in a year of full time climbing? Yes, here is my simple 9 step plan which is guaranteed* to work or else you get your money back.

  1. First choose your 8a well. In Ireland it's a choice between

    • Darkness before Dawn, 8a+,Tank, Glendasan, Wicklow.
    • Dutch Gold, 8a, Crackland, Glendalough, Wicklow.
    • John's Crimp Problem, 8a, Big Jim, Glendalough, Wicklow.

    Darkness before Dawn is hard with loads of moves and a highball finish so not a good choice for an easy tick but what a line. Dutch Gold is one campus move on small crimps up in the scree, first done by Chris Davies, it's probably about 7b just to deadhang the crimps. John's Crimp Problem is probably the best choice as its only one (hard) move and it's very accessible being on the back of Big Jim. John Gaskins is one of the strongest climbers around so he could be a bit off the mark about the difficulty of what is effectively a pullup on a small crimp. Either way you have to unquestioningly accept guidebook grades no matter how soft they are, in this lies the path to success. Remember grades are an absolute scientific objective measure of the difficulty of a problem, a measure of a persons worth and don't vary whatsoever.

  2. Quit your job, get your Mum to sew on loads of logos onto your kaks, remember you are a professional now and are better than everyone else.

  3. Go to Glendo, try to hang the edge, fail (kicking your chalk bag is a good move at this stage) and go home in a sulk.

  4. Find a similar edge at your local wall and train like a demon concentrating on doing a pullup on this edge, don't bother with real rock, it's for punters.

  5. Maybe don't eat for a few days (or induce diarrhoea) before finally doing the move. Remember to shout just before you try it so everyone looks over, also don't wear any top so people can admire your suspiciously tanned and hairless chest.

  6. Come back a few days later with your photographer (you have a photographer right?) for the posed photos.

  7. Send out the press release to all the mags and websites. Update your 8a.nu profile. You now climb 8a, anything you can't do from this moment on is 8a+. Or you could tell no one which is the new telling everyone. Let it spread as a rumor, you are so underground.

  8. Write an article for the mag about how much of a wad you are.

  9. Retire. Get a roof rack and take up surfing or mountain biking.

Or you could not bother with any of this and just say you have climbed 8a but you don't have any proof and waffle on endlessly about honesty, jealousy, trust and nonsense romantic pseudo-philosophical concepts of movement.

In all seriousness it is probably possible given alot of dedication and some luck for an average climber to do a 8a in a year but that is not to say they would be solid at 8a.

* not a guarantee.