My Halo (E7 6b) headpoint by 13 year-old

08 April, 2015
Archie Ball headpointing My Halo (E7 6b), Dinorwig Quarry. © Ray Wood
Archie Ball, who turned thirteen in January has headpointed the bold Dinorwig Quarry route, My Halo (E7 6b). Archie happily acknowledges that done in this style with the gear pre-placed makes it more akin to E5/6 climbing. However, the precarious climbing and a crucial micro-wire that is fiddly to place makes it a slate route that sees very few onsights.

Archie's Dad was on hand to belay, and ensure that the skyhook and IMP 3, protecting the hard moves up to half-height, were secure.

After his Life Assurance (E6) headpoint on the grit last September, Archie settled on My Halo as his next challenge.

Archie said: "It was an exhilarating lead and the whole process has really helped me develop my confidence."

He added: "For me the hardest move was the rock-over by the skyhook at fifteen feet rather the one just above the IMP 3 another fifteen feet higher. When I first started trying it about six months ago the top groove felt trickier than it does now but I guess that's because I've grown a bit taller."

At around half-height you can clip a new bolt on Windows (placed to the left of the original peg). From here it's steadier climbing, but run-out up the faint groove to some micro-wires in the break just below the top.

SkyhookHis father, Fraser Ball, explained how he felt about his young son making bold trad leads: "He was really wanting to do it. Obviously it's important to get the balance right between being encouraging yet remaining objective about the risk. But I wouldn't let him do it if he wasn't climbing it smoothly on a top-rope and the gear wasn't good where it matters."

"Of course he could have kicked-off the skyhook but then we had gaffer taped it down and seated it with some chewing gum to minimise that issue. I was confident the IMP 3 would hold even though it's a shallow placement. Having done the route in the early nineties I knew what was involved and it was something Archie had steadily built up to both psychologically and physically."

The last word goes to Archie: "Thanks to the Indy Climbing Wall for lending me an air cell bouldering Pad which I had at the foot of the route. Thankfully I didn't have to rely on it cushioning any fall."