Emma Twyford repeats Rare Lichen (E9 6c)

24 September, 2013
Emma Twyford pulling around the arete of Rare Lichen (E9 6c). © Ray woodEmma Twyford's ascent of Rare Lichen on Clogwyn y Tarw (Gribin Facet) - given E9 6c in the current Ogwen guidebook - means she now joins a very select group of women who have climbed at this grade. Hazel Findlay is the only other British female to have climbed E9.

Emma opted to make the fifth ascent overall of Rare Lichen with the micro-wires pre-placed, as the humid conditions didn't inspire confidence. Although the cloud inversions were pretty to look at, the occasional banks of cloud that rolled in to envelop the crag, did little to help improve things.

Emma said: "I remembered Hazel's advice that I should go with what I feel like doing. If it'd been better conditions I'd have considered placing the gear on the lead more seriously. Switching from the left-side to the right-side of the arete was the crux and if you blew it you're relying on a reasonable size 1 and a poor size 0 brass offset wire, a few feet down, to save you."

She added: "Earlier in the year Calum Muskett had reckoned it'd be a good route for me to try and I worked it out in two halves pretty quickly. I went back a second time with Alex just before going to Ceuse in August and got it dialled with a good sequence getting around the arete. I think my Ceuse fitness helped today."

Alex Haslehurst, who belayed her on the route, said: "It was pretty chilled really as I'd seen Emma top rope it twice before absolutely fine and today she did it first go on the rope. All she needed was a bit of support and to relax. The only off-putting thing was my phone going off four times as she was leading it."

Emma's previous hardest trad lead was a headpoint of Monopoly (E7), at Millstone. Although Emma is probably best-known for her sport climbing prowess, with her flash of Statement of Youth (F8a) and having climbed F8b, she has got back into trad climbing since moving to north Wales two years ago. This summer she onsighted her first E6, the burly Pretty Girls Make Graves, and has been consistently onsighting E5's. Earlier in the year she narrowly missed out on an ascent of Kaya (E7) on Glyder Fach, falling off the last move.

Approaching bank of cloud. © Ray WoodLast year, in the Lakes, Emma climbed the difficult Hell's Wall (E6 6c), considered F7c/7c+, second go. Also at the Bowderstone Crag she came close to headpointing Bleed in Hell (E8 6c) in one session, falling off going for the good finishing hold.

Early on this summer James McHaffie made the fourth ascent of Rare Lichen and prior to that Calum Muskett climbed it in 2011 as a 17 year-old while studying for his A-levels.