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.
His 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."