Harder Faster | E9 Trad climb at Black Rocks

Harder Faster is the harder, scarier direct finish to Gaia.

Seb Grieve:

Very wild climbing. After the 'easy' Gaia start, paste right foot high and layback. Repeat twice and arrive at ledge. Graunchy mantle that could easily go wrong. Top roped clean several times but could not bring myself to lead.

Pics + Vids

Lucky Chance
Added at 08:01 on 10 January 2022
James Pearson
View this post on Instagram

Added at 12:02 on 10 February 2021
James Pearson
Added at 08:01 on 10 January 2022
James Pearson
Added at 18:12 on 02 December 2021


5 recorded ascents.

Climber Style FA Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Charlie Woodburn Lead (Worked) 1st November 2000 (approx)

As I flow through the sequence of moves, I am only partially aware of what I am doing. My thoughts are hazy, in a self-induced state of obedience. The body leads and the mind follows, always one step behind, always in a state of humble acknowledgement, registering the present as it flows, unaware of future or past, free from the savage responsibility of thought. Fear and thought are synonymous and consequently the most frightening part of the ascent coincides with the only moment of dominance my mind has: the decision to go. Concentration is of the essence, the act of forcibly stupefying the senses and allowing myself to follow the drift of my own body. As I climb, I feel as though I am leaving myself behind, and by giving myself up to the movement of the rock, by concentrating myself into the subtle tensions the moves require, I am able to escape the obligation to think, and this, more than anything else, brings me a measure of peace. [1]

[1] https://www.planetmountain.com/en/news/climbing/charlie-woodburn-gritstone-masterpiece-harder-faster-black-rocks.html

Seb Grieve Top Rope (Worked) 1st January 2001 (approx)

Top roped clean several times but could not bring myself to lead.

Lucky Chance Lead (Worked) 25th December 2003

Second ascent.

James Pearson:

We'd been out climbing on the gritstone, it was kind of a miserable, soggy day and then the sun came out, the skys were blue and we said "Maybe Harder Faster might dry out"...Toby just completely, nonchalantly, put his gear on and set off up the route. I don't even remember him top roping it before which is completely nuts now I know what the route is like!

He was absolutely in his element. He just did it. [2]

[1] https://www.facebook.com/rockarchivist/photos/a.143839010406318/143839783739574

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYA6r86JALU

Adam Watson Lead (Worked) 1st January 2012 (approx)

Third ascent.


James Pearson Lead (Worked) 24th December 2020

Fourth ascent.

Harder Faster always represented the epitome of what a hard grit route is. The climbing isn't too bad, but it's hard enough that you never feel in control and especially the style of the climbing, just being on those open slopers at the top. If something goes wrong you can't just pull harder to get out of the situation, you just hope it doesn't go wrong! [4]


[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2020/12/hard_grit_repeats_by_james_pearson_and_caroline_ciavaldini-72675

[2] https://www.instagram.com/p/CJVkwj-FiUr/

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gygJgiXGxOk

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYA6r86JALU