Violent New Breed | 9a+ Sport route at Giggleswick South

Simon Panton, from an interview with John Gaskins in 2002:

The G-Spot is a small, steep sector of Giggleswick Scar, set away from the main crag. You may have visited it to do Harry Tuttle F7b+ or Militia F8a+, and perhaps you noticed the absurd looking project line just right of Harry Tuttle. This project has a rather intriguing history. It was first bolted by John [Gaskins] in '93. During the summer of '94, whilst working on Hubble, John made a number of visits, beginning the process of move familiarisation that precedes a hard redpoint. Early in '95 one of the key holds on the crux section broke off in John's hand. Luckily his brother Tim, who was belaying, tracked the trajectory of the departing hold to the ground. The hold was retrieved and the decision was made to glue it back in place. Throughout '95 John spent 40-50 days attempting the line, finally falling off going for the finishing ledge late in the year. Throughout the winter of '95/'96 John trained hard, specifically focusing on replica moves of the project which John felt certain would be 9a. In march '96, he returned to the G-spot , spending more time reaccquaintinghimself with complexities of the movement over a three to four week period. Then, one day in early April as John arrived at the crag, he was greeted by a curious site. A large chalk arrow had been drawn on the rock, The arrow pointed to the top crmp that John had previously reinforced with glue. The words 'Tut tut' had also been written next to the hold in chalk. As John pulled up the rope to inspect the crimp, he realised to his horror that the main part of the hold had disappeared.

Understandably, John was devastated. He had invested so much time and effort in to this line, to have it all taken away from him through this anonymous act was heartbreaking. John took it personally, and a mood of delusion quickly set in. He describes it as a turning point in his climbing career. He abandoned sport climbing and channeled his energies exclusively in to bouldering for the next four years.

During my research work for this article I bumped in to John Dunne, and I told him about meeting John Gaskins and seeing some of his hard boulder problems in the south Lakes. Almost by chance I happened to mention the G-spot incident, and immediately JD's expression changed to that of recognition. It turns out that JD knew the full story. He told me that he had gone along to the G-spot with Andy Long to have a look at the project line. They had a good look at the route and both felt uneasy about the nature of the final crimp. To them it seemed like a badly glued artificial hold, so they decided to knock it off with a nut key. They then drew the arrow and the 'Tut Tut' comment on the wall and left the crag. I have spoken to both Andy and JD about the nature of the glued hold. Both were adamant that the hold they removed was entirely artificial, stressing that they meant no malice towards John, but felt that an ethical crime had been committed.

When I told John Gaskins about this he was equally adamant that all he had done was re-glue an existing hold back in it's original position. John was obviously upset by the incident, but, in the end, philosophical about the turn of events. He knew he would have completed the line in '96. It would have been the zenith of his climbing career and certainly a step forward for British sport climbing. But it was not to be. The edge has gone and time has healed much of John's disappointment. He told me that he has actually been back and done the move with the tiny remaining edge: " was probably V14, or say F9a before, whereas now it might be V15...the crux move is significantly harder than the crux move on Hubble. When I was doing Hubble , if I just pulled on in position; I could do the move statically every time, whereas the thing at Giggleswick, I can't do it every go and certainly can't do it statically. When I went back in the summer of 2000, it took me five days to do the move, even though I knew exactly how to do it."

John says he is keen to complete the line when he finds time away from his other projects. [1]


[1] On The Edge 120, page 52.

Contributors: remus

Pics + Vids

John Gaskins
Added at 11:07 on 05 July 2022


1 recorded ascents.

Climber Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
John Gaskins Lead | worked 21st Jun 2004
First ascent.




[3] News item in On The Edge Issue 140 August/September 2004

John Gaskins has redpointed his long-term project at the G-Spot, Giggleswick, Yorkshire, to give the first route to be graded F9a+ in Britain.

John reckons the line is harder than Hubble, the closest comparison route to it. Hubble took John 12 days, yet by the end of 1995 he'd spent 60 days on this line and not redpointed it.

John said: "It's very bouldery, V15 (Font 8c) or so, and is essentially five moves long, of which the first and last moves are reasonable (this climbing is preceded by a short and easy wall). Whilst straightforward the first move (gaining a very small pock mark edge) is the key move on the route in many respects. The move that follows represents one of the hardest moves I've ever done, being harder than any move on my project at Raven Tor [ed: Brandenburg Gate?]. The following two moves are easier although still hard, the first being harder than the crux move of Hubble. The final tricky move to a jug is not hard but is potentially fall off-able. All that remains are a couple of easy pulls on good holds."

John bolted the line back in the autumn of 1993 and tried it extensively over the summers of both 1994 and 1995. In 1994 he redpoint- ed Hubble but didn't make significant progress on this route. The following year he spent about 50 days attempting it, his high point being touching the good edge at the end of the major difficulties. But in early 1996 one of the holds broke and his interest in the line waned as it was then even harder.

John returned in 2000 and a number of days on the route saw him re-climb all the moves and link all bar the first of the five main moves. The following year saw him become involved in his on-going project at Raven Tor in part due to foot and mouth restrictions placing Giggleswick off limits'.

This year John had his university finals so his time was restricted, meaning trips to Giggleswick were more feasible than to Raven Tor (John lives in Carnforth on the edge of the Lake District).

John eventually redpointed the route on his own, tying off the rope to the first bolt and giving himself enough slack to get to the top, clipping the second bolt before the hard climbing starts and the third when it's finished but not enough to hit the ground in case of a fall. However, he didn't fall off.

There is a picture of John on this, however Dan Varian has spoken to the photographer, Ray Wood, who said that John was unable to repeat any of the hard moves.