Transcendence | E9 Trad climb at Back Bowden Doors

Originally graded E9 but subsequently downgraded to E8 by Robin Barker after the second ascent. Purportedly has some of the hardest moves on a trad route in the UK, and a distinct lack of repeats has helped cement this reputation.

Pics + Vids

Dan Varian
Added at 14:01 on 06 January 2021
Robin Barker
Added at 14:01 on 06 January 2021
Robin Barker
Added at 14:01 on 06 January 2021


3 recorded ascents.

Climber Style FA Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Malcolm Smith Lead (Worked) 1st January 1994 (approx)
Dan Varian Lead (Worked) 9th March 2019

Robin Barker Lead (Worked)

Second ascent. Robin had a finger injury at the time!

In terms of the grade, I suspect I was a bit over-zealous with suggesting 6c and 7a is likely the correct grade. In previous discussions with Malcolm I think we agreed something like E8 / 7a / 8b / 7C+. Regardless of the grade, Transcendence is a very fine line with superb climbing and a might good effort from Malcolm at the time. [1]


I held Robin’s ropes when he repeated it. I’ll always remember because he was mid crux and then slapping for the break when a RAF Tornado roared past the crag a few meters away with a body shaking, terrifying, ear splitting boom just as he grabbed the break with one hand just as I clamped both of mine over my ears with the ropes held lightly in one hand. I was mightily relieved that he didn’t fall off. Great days 😳 [2]