The Walk of Life | E9 Trad climb at Dyers Lookout

UKClimbing.com

A route with a complicated history. An indirect line called Dyer Straits was originally climbed by Ian Vickers that used a lot of pegs (although the pegs were not placed by Vickers) [2]. James Pearson then removed the pegs and added a direct start suggesting the lofty grade of E12. The route was quickly repeated by Dave Macleod (who was injured at the time) who suggested a downgrade to E9.

The harsh criticism which was levelled at James from the climbing community for over grading the route led to him moving to Innsbruck to get away from the UK climbing scene.

James has subsequently discussed how, having grown up bouldering and leading short, bold routes on the gritstone, The Walk of Life was well outside his comfort zone and, lacking the skills to recognise his own weaknesses, then led him to suggest such a lofty grade. [1]

References

[1] https://open.spotify.com/episode/2HAuDaq2kSHM6L7vdDu6uu?

[2] https://www.planetmountain.com/en/news/climbing/james-pearson-interview-after-the-walk-of-life.html

Contributors: remus

Pics + Vids

James Pearson
Added at 22:12 on 27 December 2020
Dave MacLeod
Added at 22:12 on 27 December 2020
Charlie Woodburn
View this post on Instagram

Added at 12:02 on 10 February 2021
Ali Kennedy
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Added at 12:02 on 10 February 2021
Angus Kille
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Added at 15:09 on 03 September 2021
Angus Kille
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Added at 21:09 on 19 September 2021
Anna Hazlett
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Added at 16:06 on 20 June 2022
Tom Randall
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Added at 20:02 on 05 February 2023

Ascents

10 recorded ascents.

Climber Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
James Pearson Lead | worked 29th Sep 2008 E12
Dave MacLeod Lead | worked 2009 E9
Dave Birkett Lead | worked 2010 E9
Third ascent.

When everything settles down as regards the grade and the hype that surrounds it, it will be heralded as a modern extreme classic of the 21st Century.

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2010/05/birkett_repeats_the_walk_of_life_-_full_story-53538

Charlie Woodburn Lead | worked 25th Nov 2010
Ali Kennedy Lead | worked 17th Sep 2017
James McHaffie Lead | worked May 2018
Angus Kille Lead | worked 31st Aug 2021

The route was particularly intimidating, something about the wall makes it seem like it doesn't want to be climbed. It feels like the rock is conspiring against you and never offers enough holds to let you relax into the climbing, and despite all of the cracks, barely any of them hold good gear. Apart from the first 15 metres, it's not actually dangerous but you would fall quite a way before any of your gear holds, so you really don't feel like falling and going through the process again. It's unusual that being fitter or stronger or even bolder isn't enough to make the climbing feel easy, you still have to be focussed and committed, which is hard to maintain for 50 metres of runout slab climbing – progress up the slab is hard-earned and it felt really unlikely I would make it through without running out of skill/luck. Looking back I probably could have just worked the route a bit more and not tried to lead it so soon, but I wouldn't swap the experience I had for any other. [1]

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CT-Cm6kIhtR/

[2] https://www.instagram.com/p/CTW-ruKjHK5/

Anna Hazlett Lead | worked Jun 2022
First female ascent.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CfB0OpID5tH/

Tom Randall Lead | worked 5th Feb 2023
Calum Muskett Lead | worked 5th Feb 2023