Johnny Dawes


Quick Info

Nationality: GB
Date of birth: 9th May 1964
Hardest Boulder (Worked): 7C
Hardest Sport (Worked): 8b+
Hardest Trad (Worked): E9
Hardest Trad (Onsight): E7
Hardest Trad (Flash): E7
Social Media

Johnny Dawes is very influential in British climbing, particularly in the 1980s and particularly in the Peak District and North Wales. Alongside contemporaries such as Jerry Moffatt and Ben Moon he helped take over the mantel from the likes of Ron Fawcett and pushed the standards in trad climbing to new levels, culminating in his ascent of Indian Face on Clogwyn Du'r Arddu (Cloggy).

Whilst Johnny's trad climbing was cutting edge he did not embrace sport climbing in the way that many did in the early 90s, though he did still climb up to 8b+, a very respectable level for the time.

References

[1] Interview with Niall Grimes and Nick Dixon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gfAxYENlmU

[2] Features in 80's Birth of Extreme

[3] Interview for the film Stone Monkey, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdeaV_vfp5Q

Contributors: remus

Quick Info

Nationality: GB
Date of birth: 9th May 1964
Hardest Boulder (Worked): 7C
Hardest Sport (Worked): 8b+
Hardest Trad (Worked): E9
Hardest Trad (Onsight): E7
Hardest Trad (Flash): E7
Social Media

Johnny Dawes is very influential in British climbing, particularly in the 1980s and particularly in the Peak District and North Wales. Alongside contemporaries such as Jerry Moffatt and Ben Moon he helped take over the mantel from the likes of Ron Fawcett and pushed the standards in trad climbing to new levels, culminating in his ascent of Indian Face on Clogwyn Du'r Arddu (Cloggy).

Whilst Johnny's trad climbing was cutting edge he did not embrace sport climbing in the way that many did in the early 90s, though he did still climb up to 8b+, a very respectable level for the time.

References

[1] Interview with Niall Grimes and Nick Dixon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gfAxYENlmU

[2] Features in 80's Birth of Extreme

[3] Interview for the film Stone Monkey, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdeaV_vfp5Q

Contributors: remus

Lists


Podcasts


Pics + Vids

Added at 08:09 on 11 September 2022
Added at 16:01 on 19 January 2021
Added at 17:01 on 19 January 2021
Added at 19:03 on 22 March 2023
The Scoop (E7, FA)
Added at 17:01 on 25 January 2024
© On The Edge Issue 2
https://www.mountain-heritage.org/
Velvet Silecne (E6, FA)
Added at 11:02 on 25 February 2024
Inuit (8b+)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 12:02 on 10 February 2021
Indian Face (E9, FA)
Added at 16:01 on 19 January 2021
The Meltdown (9a)
Added at 16:01 on 19 January 2021
Indian Face (E9, FA)
Added at 17:01 on 19 January 2021
The Quarryman (E8, FA)
Added at 17:01 on 19 January 2021
Indian Face (E9, FA)
Added at 17:01 on 24 January 2021
Indian Face (E9, FA)
Added at 17:01 on 24 January 2021
Indian Face (E9, FA)
Added at 17:01 on 24 January 2021
Indian Face (E9, FA)
Added at 17:01 on 24 January 2021
Indian Face (E9, FA)
Added at 17:01 on 24 January 2021
The Salmon (E7)
Added at 13:09 on 16 September 2021
Gaia (E8, FA)
Added at 10:03 on 08 March 2023
The Tesseract (E7)
Added at 20:07 on 25 July 2021
Avoiding the Traitors (E7, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 11:12 on 26 December 2022
La Abuela Carmen (8a)
Added at 09:01 on 21 January 2023
Inuit (8b+)
Added at 09:01 on 21 January 2023

Ascents

51 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 Style Ascent Date
1982 Downhill Racer Direct 7A+ Boulder | worked 1982
First ascent.
1983 Monopoly E7 Lead | worked 1983
First ascent.
1984 Sad Amongst Friends E7 Solo | worked 1984
First ascent.
The Salmon E7 Lead | worked 1984
First ascent.
Adam Smith's Invisible Hand E6 Lead | worked 1984
First ascent.
Ulysses' Bow E6 Solo | onsight Apr 1984
1985 A Fist Full of Crystals E6 Solo | onsight 1985
The Meltdown 9a Lead | did not finish 1985

Johnny put in some excellent links (estimated to be in the 8c/+ range) way back in the day, when 9a would have been the hardest climbing in the world.

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu2b4P6-IcY

Offspring E5 Lead | worked 24th Apr 1985
First ascent.
Perplexity E6 Lead | worked 9th Jul 1985
First ascent.
Dawes of Perception E7 Lead | worked 23rd Oct 1985
First ascent.
1986 Slab and Crack E8 Lead | worked 1986
First ascent.
Come to Mother E7 Lead | onsight 1986
First ascent.
Beau Geste E7 Lead | flash 1986
Velvet Silecne E6 Solo | onsight 1986
First ascent.
Piece Of Mind E6 Solo | did not finish 1986

Johnny fell of the last move on the onsight but remarkably walked away unscathed!

Art Nouveau E6 Solo | onsight 1986
Gaia E8 Lead | worked Mar 1986
First ascent.

An impressive effort after minimal top rope practice.

Coeur de Lion E8 Lead | worked 12th Mar 1986
First ascent.

Originally given E6!

Conan the Librarian E7 Lead | worked 21st Jul 1986
First ascent.
The Medium 8a Lead | worked 24th Jul 1986
First ascent.
Janus E7 Lead | worked 27th Jul 1986
First ascent.

Johnny initially graded it E7 7a because he thought the groove looked like two 7s.

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/dbpage.php?id=391050

End of the Affair E8 Lead | worked 7th Sep 1986
First ascent.
The Quarryman E8 Lead | worked Between 10th Sep 1986 and 11th Sep 1986
First ascent.

Johnny climbed the first 2 pitches on the 10th september and the second two pitches on the 11th september. He alter climbed the route in a single push.

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLyF8zcP674

The Fire Escape E7 Lead | worked 22nd Sep 1986
First ascent.
The Hollow Man E8 Lead | worked 2nd Oct 1986
First ascent.
Indian Face E9 Lead | worked 4th Oct 1986
First ascent.

I went for the crux, the motion startling me like a car unexpectedly in gear in a crowded parking lot. I swarm through the roundness of the bulge to a crank on a brittle spike for a cluster of three crystals on the right; each finger crucial and separate like the keys for a piano chord. I change feet three times to rest my lower legs, each time having to jump my foot out to put the other in. The finger-holds are too poor to hang on should the toes catch on each other. All those foot-changing mistakes on easy moves by runners come to mind. There is no resting. I must go and climb for the top. I swarm up towards the sunlight, gasping for air. A brittle hold stays under mistreatment and then I really blow it. Fearful of a smear on now-non-sticky boots I use an edge and move up, a fall fatal, but the automaton stabs back through, wobbling, but giving its all and I grasp a large sidepull and tube upward. The ropes dangle uselessly from my waist. Arthur Birtwistle on Diagonal, I grasp incuts and the tight movement swerves to a glide as gravity swings skyward ...

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMX4NAw0NSE

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNb5_PYRhQA

[3] https://www.facebook.com/rockarchivist/photos/a.149995619790657/149996096457276

Windows of Perception E6 Lead | worked 24th Oct 1986
First ascent.
1987 Rupert Road E6 Lead | onsight 29th Apr 1987
First ascent.
Llanberies E7 Lead | worked 5th May 1987
First ascent.
Clap Please E7 Lead | worked 8th May 1987

Johnny thought E6 6c.

The Scoop E7 Alternate Leads | worked Aug 1987
First ascent. With Paul Pritchard.
1988 Hardback Thesaurus E8 Lead | ground up 15th May 1988
First ascent.
1989
1990 The Very Big and the Very Small 8b+ Lead | worked 1990
First ascent.
1991 Tabou Zizi 8b Lead | worked Before 1st Jan 1991

Pre-1991. [1]

[1] The Power of Climbing (1991) by David Jones, page 192

1992
1993
1994 Jumpin' on a Beetle E6 Solo | worked 1994
First ascent.
The Angel's Share 7C Boulder | worked 19th Jun 1994
First ascent.

Originally climbed without pads at E8.

1995 Face Mecca E9 Lead | worked 1995
Avoiding the Traitors E7 Lead | worked 1995
First ascent.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/Cl1gyH2Drnd/

The Salmon E7 Lead | repeat 1995

Reclimbed after the loss of an important pebble.

1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003 Zen Boy E7 Lead | worked Sep 2003
First ascent.
Drummond Base E8 Lead | worked 23rd Oct 2003
First ascent.
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011 King of the Mezz E7 Lead | onsight May 2011
First ascent.

I did it on a whim really. We got to the top of the Quarryman groove and I thought what can we do? I’ve done all the existing lines before so I thought I would just go for the traverse line. I got across and suddenly found myself bridging on poor smears, hanging on an edge and having to dyne (sic). At one point I had to sort of layback on the cheek of my face so I could swap hands on a hold. It was very tricky. [1]

Neil Dyer:

It was desperate, we couldn’t really do the moves on the crux. Fair enough we had a sneaky beer on the belay which always takes your edge off, bt still; it was so hard and then run-out after the hard bit was outrageous. Johnny clipped the Fire Escape bolts and then that was it, all the way to the Blockhead belay!”

References

[1] Slate Historical Section

2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018 Inuit 8b+ Lead | worked 10th Nov 2018
2019
2020
2021 The Salmon E7 Lead | repeat 2021
Climb Grade Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
The Meltdown 9a Lead | did not finish 1985

Johnny put in some excellent links (estimated to be in the 8c/+ range) way back in the day, when 9a would have been the hardest climbing in the world.

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu2b4P6-IcY

The Very Big and the Very Small 8b+ Lead | worked 1990
First ascent.
Inuit 8b+ Lead | worked 10th Nov 2018
Tabou Zizi 8b Lead | worked Before 1st Jan 1991

Pre-1991. [1]

[1] The Power of Climbing (1991) by David Jones, page 192

The Medium 8a Lead | worked 24th Jul 1986
First ascent.
La Abuela Carmen 8a Lead | worked

After redpointing it Johnny lowered off and then climbed it no handed on top rope!

https://youtu.be/S_SmgaASssw?t=616

Climb Grade Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
The Angel's Share 7C Boulder | worked 19th Jun 1994
First ascent.

Originally climbed without pads at E8.

Downhill Racer Direct 7A+ Boulder | worked 1982
First ascent.
Climb Grade Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Indian Face E9 Lead | worked 4th Oct 1986
First ascent.

I went for the crux, the motion startling me like a car unexpectedly in gear in a crowded parking lot. I swarm through the roundness of the bulge to a crank on a brittle spike for a cluster of three crystals on the right; each finger crucial and separate like the keys for a piano chord. I change feet three times to rest my lower legs, each time having to jump my foot out to put the other in. The finger-holds are too poor to hang on should the toes catch on each other. All those foot-changing mistakes on easy moves by runners come to mind. There is no resting. I must go and climb for the top. I swarm up towards the sunlight, gasping for air. A brittle hold stays under mistreatment and then I really blow it. Fearful of a smear on now-non-sticky boots I use an edge and move up, a fall fatal, but the automaton stabs back through, wobbling, but giving its all and I grasp a large sidepull and tube upward. The ropes dangle uselessly from my waist. Arthur Birtwistle on Diagonal, I grasp incuts and the tight movement swerves to a glide as gravity swings skyward ...

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMX4NAw0NSE

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNb5_PYRhQA

[3] https://www.facebook.com/rockarchivist/photos/a.149995619790657/149996096457276

Face Mecca E9 Lead | worked 1995
Slab and Crack E8 Lead | worked 1986
First ascent.
Gaia E8 Lead | worked Mar 1986
First ascent.

An impressive effort after minimal top rope practice.

Coeur de Lion E8 Lead | worked 12th Mar 1986
First ascent.

Originally given E6!

End of the Affair E8 Lead | worked 7th Sep 1986
First ascent.
The Quarryman E8 Lead | worked Between 10th Sep 1986 and 11th Sep 1986
First ascent.

Johnny climbed the first 2 pitches on the 10th september and the second two pitches on the 11th september. He alter climbed the route in a single push.

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLyF8zcP674

The Hollow Man E8 Lead | worked 2nd Oct 1986
First ascent.
Hardback Thesaurus E8 Lead | ground up 15th May 1988
First ascent.
Drummond Base E8 Lead | worked 23rd Oct 2003
First ascent.
West Indian Face E8 Lead | worked
First ascent.
Monopoly E7 Lead | worked 1983
First ascent.
Sad Amongst Friends E7 Solo | worked 1984
First ascent.
The Salmon E7 Lead | worked 1984
First ascent.
Dawes of Perception E7 Lead | worked 23rd Oct 1985
First ascent.
Come to Mother E7 Lead | onsight 1986
First ascent.
Conan the Librarian E7 Lead | worked 21st Jul 1986
First ascent.
Janus E7 Lead | worked 27th Jul 1986 E7
First ascent.

Johnny initially graded it E7 7a because he thought the groove looked like two 7s.

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/dbpage.php?id=391050

The Fire Escape E7 Lead | worked 22nd Sep 1986
First ascent.
Llanberies E7 Lead | worked 5th May 1987
First ascent.
The Scoop E7 Alternate Leads | worked Aug 1987
First ascent. With Paul Pritchard.
Avoiding the Traitors E7 Lead | worked 1995
First ascent.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/Cl1gyH2Drnd/

Zen Boy E7 Lead | worked Sep 2003
First ascent.
King of the Mezz E7 Lead | onsight May 2011
First ascent.

I did it on a whim really. We got to the top of the Quarryman groove and I thought what can we do? I’ve done all the existing lines before so I thought I would just go for the traverse line. I got across and suddenly found myself bridging on poor smears, hanging on an edge and having to dyne (sic). At one point I had to sort of layback on the cheek of my face so I could swap hands on a hold. It was very tricky. [1]

Neil Dyer:

It was desperate, we couldn’t really do the moves on the crux. Fair enough we had a sneaky beer on the belay which always takes your edge off, bt still; it was so hard and then run-out after the hard bit was outrageous. Johnny clipped the Fire Escape bolts and then that was it, all the way to the Blockhead belay!”

References

[1] Slate Historical Section

Beau Geste E7 Lead | flash 1986
Clap Please E7 Lead | worked 8th May 1987

Johnny thought E6 6c.

The Salmon E7 Lead | repeat 1995

Reclimbed after the loss of an important pebble.

The Salmon E7 Lead | repeat 2021
Teenage Menopause E7 Lead | worked
Unfamiliar E7 Lead | did not finish

Johnny tried the line ground up for a long time.

The Tesseract E7 Lead | did not finish

Johnny tried the route in 80's Birth of Extreme.

Adam Smith's Invisible Hand E6 Lead | worked 1984
First ascent.
Perplexity E6 Lead | worked 9th Jul 1985
First ascent.
Velvet Silecne E6 Solo | onsight 1986
First ascent.
Windows of Perception E6 Lead | worked 24th Oct 1986
First ascent.
Rupert Road E6 Lead | onsight 29th Apr 1987
First ascent.
Jumpin' on a Beetle E6 Solo | worked 1994
First ascent.
Ulysses' Bow E6 Solo | onsight Apr 1984
A Fist Full of Crystals E6 Solo | onsight 1985
Piece Of Mind E6 Solo | did not finish 1986

Johnny fell of the last move on the onsight but remarkably walked away unscathed!

Art Nouveau E6 Solo | onsight 1986
Offspring E5 Lead | worked 24th Apr 1985
First ascent.
Rimsky Korsakov E5 Lead
First ascent.
Climb Grade Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade