8A for Jemma Powell

29 December, 2014
Jemma warming into the big shoulder move on Stoned Temple Pilots (8A). © Ray Wood
Jemma Powell has rounded off her Christmas nicely with an ascent of the Llanberis Pass 8A problem, Stoned Temple Pilots (STP), tucked away in the 'Hall of the Mountain King' behind the Barrel Boulder.

Although arguably Jemma has climbed 8A before, with her ascent of Corridors of Power this autumn, the grade of that problem swings between 7c+ and soft 8A.

Jemma said: "Today's problem has been far more rewarding because it felt 8A. Corridors is probably easier for short people and is more likely 7c+. I was a bit worried today after all the Xmas eating but I'd got through the hard climbing only to fall off the easier finish on my previous visit, so I knew I should be able to do it."

While Corridors took Jemma three or four sessions, STP took seven visits, getting it on her third go after warming-up on the problem and taking a tablet to keep the effects of Raynaud's syndrome at bay.

Interestingly, this was only one more session than the fingery new problem, Arya, that Jemma established at Craig Rhiw Goch this spring. At the time she graded the Lledr Valley problem 7B+, since the hardest problem she'd previously climbed was 7B, but Arya still remains unrepeated despite several attempts & is likely to prove a fair bit harder than 7B.

Jemma added: "Arya was the first problem I'd projected and it definitely felt harder than Corridors of Power."

Her ascent of Stoned Temple Pilots puts Jemma firmly in a select group of women who have climbed Font 8A or above in the UK.

Jemma's talent as a climber has never been in doubt. As a teenager she was a bright light on the competition circuit and the Junior British Climbing Champion, winning her first international competition when she was eleven in France.

Now 27 years old, she only returned to climbing about two years ago after a spell focusing on mountain biking and having a son in 2011.

Jemma Powell on her ascent of Stoned Temple Pilots and afterwards. © Ray Wood
Jemma said: "Having had a caesarian meant when I began climbing again at the Indy wall I had no confidence but surprised myself by being able to keep up with some of the girls doing 7As."

She continued: "Although I'm now a mum to a gorgeous three year old I'm climbing better than ever despite only being able to train two nights a week. Having Max has made me far more motivated and independent."

Related News:

The cave just above the Barrel Boulder has seen plenty of attention this year with the addition of a new start to Stoned Temple Pilots at 8B (Ropes of Maui) and a sit-start to The Tracks (Dead and Bloated) also given 8B.