John Gaskins

Also known as: The G

Quick Info

Nationality: GB
Hardest Boulder (Worked): 8C
Hardest Sport (Worked): 9a+
Hardest Trad (Worked): E10

John Gaskins is a controversial figure in British climbing. As well as an early repeat of Hubble he has claimed many ascents of hard routes and boulder problems. However for some of his hardest ascents it is unclear whether they happened. In particular he has been unable to describe the holds or sequences on his problem Shadowplay, and shortly after claiming the first ascent was unable to pull on to the problem to get photographs for his sponsors.

Similar inconsistencies exist on several other routes and problems he has claimed including Violent New Breed (9a+), Tranquilitas (8C) which John originally claimed as Karma of the Trees at 8A and Little Women Right Hand.

Despite the above John was a capable climber and almost certainly climbed several hard problems, such as Anaesthesia (8A+) at Woodwell.

References

[1] Interview with Simon Lee from UKBouldering.com https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbZALxPdjZg

[2] From the same interview as [1], footage of John climbing on his board https://vimeo.com/82936059.

Quick Info

Nationality: GB
Hardest Boulder (Worked): 8C
Hardest Sport (Worked): 9a+
Hardest Trad (Worked): E10

John Gaskins is a controversial figure in British climbing. As well as an early repeat of Hubble he has claimed many ascents of hard routes and boulder problems. However for some of his hardest ascents it is unclear whether they happened. In particular he has been unable to describe the holds or sequences on his problem Shadowplay, and shortly after claiming the first ascent was unable to pull on to the problem to get photographs for his sponsors.

Similar inconsistencies exist on several other routes and problems he has claimed including Violent New Breed (9a+), Tranquilitas (8C) which John originally claimed as Karma of the Trees at 8A and Little Women Right Hand.

Despite the above John was a capable climber and almost certainly climbed several hard problems, such as Anaesthesia (8A+) at Woodwell.

References

[1] Interview with Simon Lee from UKBouldering.com https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbZALxPdjZg

[2] From the same interview as [1], footage of John climbing on his board https://vimeo.com/82936059.

Excluded

Several of John's hardest claimed ascents have been disputed, though there are some examples of him climbing hard-ish (for example Anaesthesia is on video).

Dan Varian has tried many of John's harder problems and attempted to clarify where the lines go several times with minimal success. He goes in to detail here https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php?topic=30355.0


Pics + Vids

Added at 16:01 on 13 January 2021
Added at 16:01 on 13 January 2021
Hubble (9a)
Added at 09:12 on 29 December 2020
Isla de Encanta (8B, FA)
Added at 09:12 on 29 December 2020
Gaskins' Problem (8B, FA)
Added at 09:12 on 29 December 2020
At the Heart of It All (8B+, FA)
Added at 09:12 on 29 December 2020
Hugh (9a)
Added at 16:12 on 29 December 2020
Anaesthesia (8A+, FA)
Added at 16:11 on 18 November 2021
Brandenburg Gate (9a+)
Added at 18:11 on 18 November 2021
Violent New Breed (9a+, FA)
Added at 11:07 on 05 July 2022
© Ray Wood
Kaizen (8B+, FA)
Added at 11:07 on 05 July 2022

Ascents

24 recorded ascents.

This timeline is missing some ascents where the date of the ascent is unknown. Use the other tabs to view these ascents.
Year Climb Grade FA Ascent Date
1994 Hubble 9a (Lead) 1st January 1994 (approx)
1995
1996
1997
1998 Isla de Encanta 8B (Boulder) 1st January 1998 (approx)
1999
2000
2001 Walk Away 8B (Boulder) 1st January 2001 (approx)
2002 Walk Away SDS 8C (Boulder) 1st September 2002 (approx)
2003 Brandenburg Gate 9a+ (Lead Did not finish) 1st January 2003 (approx)

In interviews John has stated he got relatively close to climbing this line [2].

Redpoint highpoint was going for a blind edge at the very end of the hard climbing.

Paul Reeve also witnessed an attempt where John nearly made it in to Make it Funky. [1]

[1] https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,10607.msg647558.html#msg647558

[2] Interview with Simon Lee https://youtu.be/RbZALxPdjZg?t=1950

At the Heart of It All 8B+ (Boulder) 1st October 2003 (approx)
2004 Gossip 8C (Boulder) 1st January 2004 (approx)

At the time of the ascent Markus Bock publically disputed it. There was a lot of back and forth with no resolution.

Il Pirata 8C (Boulder) 1st February 2004 (approx)
Violent New Breed 9a+ (Lead) 21st June 2004

https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2004/06/john_gaskins_new_9a+_-_the_hardest_in_the_world-11117

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/ukc/gaskins_climbs_long-standing_project_to_give_a_new_9a+-90333

Excluded

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.

Head Like a Hole 8b+ (Lead) 7th August 2004
Shadowplay 8C (Boulder) 1st October 2004 (approx)
Excluded

When asked directly about it, John has been unable to describe the holds on the problem or the sequence he used on it despite supposedly spending tens of sessions over multiple years on it. Other capable climbers, notably Dan Varian, have been unable to find any meaningful holds.

References

[1] https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,30355.msg594312.html#msg594312

2005 Endless Nameless 8B (Boulder) 1st October 2005 (approx)
Gaskins' Problem 8B (Boulder) 5th October 2005

http://www.northwalesbouldering.com/newsitem.asp?nsid=141

2006 Information Highway Revisited 7C+ (Boulder) 1st January 2006 (approx)
A Moment of Clarity E10 (Boulder) 1st February 2006 (approx)

One of the last hard lines John climbed.

Climb Grade FA Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Violent New Breed 9a+ (Lead) 21st June 2004

https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2004/06/john_gaskins_new_9a+_-_the_hardest_in_the_world-11117

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/ukc/gaskins_climbs_long-standing_project_to_give_a_new_9a+-90333

Excluded

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.

Brandenburg Gate 9a+ (Lead Did not finish) 1st January 2003 (approx)

In interviews John has stated he got relatively close to climbing this line [2].

Redpoint highpoint was going for a blind edge at the very end of the hard climbing.

Paul Reeve also witnessed an attempt where John nearly made it in to Make it Funky. [1]

[1] https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,10607.msg647558.html#msg647558

[2] Interview with Simon Lee https://youtu.be/RbZALxPdjZg?t=1950

Hubble 9a (Lead) 1st January 1994 (approx)
Hugh 9a (Lead Did not finish)
Head Like a Hole 8b+ (Lead) 7th August 2004
Climb Grade FA Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Walk Away SDS 8C (Boulder) 1st September 2002 (approx)
Il Pirata 8C (Boulder) 1st February 2004 (approx)
Shadowplay 8C (Boulder) 1st October 2004 (approx)
Excluded

When asked directly about it, John has been unable to describe the holds on the problem or the sequence he used on it despite supposedly spending tens of sessions over multiple years on it. Other capable climbers, notably Dan Varian, have been unable to find any meaningful holds.

References

[1] https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,30355.msg594312.html#msg594312

Gossip 8C (Boulder) 1st January 2004 (approx)

At the time of the ascent Markus Bock publically disputed it. There was a lot of back and forth with no resolution.

At the Heart of It All 8B+ (Boulder) 1st October 2003 (approx)
Kaizen 8B+ (Boulder)
Traci Lords SDS 8B+ (Boulder)
Asphyxia 8B+ (Boulder)
Isla de Encanta 8B (Boulder) 1st January 1998 (approx)
Walk Away 8B (Boulder) 1st January 2001 (approx)
Endless Nameless 8B (Boulder) 1st October 2005 (approx)
Gaskins' Problem 8B (Boulder) 5th October 2005

http://www.northwalesbouldering.com/newsitem.asp?nsid=141

Shallow Groove 8B (Boulder)
Excluded

Dan Varian

Re shallowgroove i think it's incredibly important to stress that [Aidan Roberts'] is the second ascent of [Ryan Pasquill's] direct. The line John describes in his interview should get written up as a seperate finish after the first move. If vitruvian man has a RH and LH version so should this. Even more so because the RH line has a proven track record of attempts, fails doing moves etc but the LH line only emerged in johns interview and is something entirely different... If Ryans line was easy someone else would've done it in the last 17years. Aidan is super well suited to crimping utter crap whilst standing on a ledge (as is Ryan). Its one of the weirdest hard problems in the world IMO. Literally no extra kudos for a trainers ascent. [1]

[1] https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,10607.msg609908.html#msg609908

Little Women 8B (Boulder)
Excluded

John originally claimed at 8A+.

Impossible Slab 8B (Boulder)
Anaesthesia 8A+ (Boulder) 8B

Climbed with feet on the back and given 8B. New beta using heels on the lip has taken the grade to 8A+.

https://youtu.be/RbZALxPdjZg?t=856

Information Highway Revisited 7C+ (Boulder) 1st January 2006 (approx)
Climb Grade FA Ascent Date Suggested Grade
A Moment of Clarity E10 (Boulder) 1st February 2006 (approx)

One of the last hard lines John climbed.

Climb Grade FA Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Pump up the Stamina 8c+ (Boulder)