So Ray’s roof, it was originally climbed by American offwidther Ray Jardine back in 1977 and given the grade of 5.11c (or E4). It has since been upgraded to E7 (you can see how far Jardine was ahead of his time) and only seen a number of ascents and still seen as being one of the hardest offwidths in Britain.
Anyway me and a friend climbed it over two years ago now, to get the 5th and 6th ascents. Since battling against some of Europes hardest offwidths in the summer and hanging mostly from our legs rather then our arms, we decided it was time to step it up a bit.
So on Saturday armed with Friends (that’s mates) rather then cams and pads rather then a rope we set off on the mission to solo this test piece.
After taping up and running round a bit to get warm I decided to crack on, (pun not intended.) I crossed the initial horizontal roof using hand, fist and foot jams with relative ease and landed myself at the lip turn (the crux.) My hands had gone slightly cold but I decided to push on anyway to see what the score was. With minimum fuss it was all over, just like that! I’d just done the first solo ascent of Ray’s Roof, the test piece that had stopped Johnny Dawes, Johnny Woodward and Boone Speed, I’d just done as a warm up.
The summer of hanging upside down must have really helped as two years ago, the thing was a real fight even with a rope, now I could warm up on it!
The climbing was so enjoyable, I soloed it again!
I then headed to Ramshaw and flashed Dangerous Crocodile Snogging E7
You can read a more in depth article (where there are some pictures) written by me and my friend who also soloed it on the same day here.