Much to Pete Robins’ relief he has now completed his impressive project on The Diamond. Climbing conditions at the Little Orme crag had deteriorated badly over the last few weeks, to the point that Pete was using bucket-loads of chalk to simply dry the holds off. Yesterday was the first time the route hadn’t been damp or wet in eight visits. As winter approaches, the crag is unlikely to see many more good days.
Named Diamond Dogs and graded F8c+, it starts as for The Brute (F8b), on the compact and attractive marbled central part of the crag that arcs over your head from the beach.
Diamond Dogs heads straight up from The Brute’s first bolt, with some big moves, before the hardest technical section, a long Font 8a leading out leftwards to just past Pete’s fourth clip. Further big moves gain a shake at a niche; enough to get a bit back for the final 10-move Font 7c section to reach jugs mid-way up the crag. This is a natural end to the route, which is slightly higher than The Brute lower-off.
Pete says he can’t be sure about the grade until someone else tries it. He said: “Nobody else has been on any of the moves. I was fortunate that conditions were mint on my successful attempt although I felt really tired. I’ve been on the project day-on, day-off, for weeks now, often in wet conditions, so I’ve lost track of how hard it really is.”
“On my first go I fell off the last move and thought there’s just no way I’d have a better go in me. But I surprised myself, climbing it smoothly with no mistakes second time round and just about hung on to the final jugs. I was so relieved.”
There is an obvious second-half extension to the route that Pete has bolted but it was running with water. Pete said: “The extension is a lot easier than the climbing below and I don’t think it’ll affect the overall grade too much.”
Pete bolted the line in late August, and apart from a week’s sojourn to Mallorca, he’d been on the route three days out of seven ever since. But it’d turned into a race against worsening conditions.
This curving expanse of rock has held an allure for Pete since his first visit in 2009. Faced with a blank canvas he initially tried a direct start into his route that proved really hard. It was only when he was doing The Brute (F8b), a few months back, and noticed the light catching a sequence of crimps rising out leftwards into the line above that start, that his attention returned to the climb.
Photo: Pete Robins on a red point attempt a few days before his eventual success. © Ray Wood
Note: Article was first published on the 12/10/2012 but updated with further details on the 13/12/2012