Some limestone bouldering from Anston stones...
Mike Adams (hero) recently put up a new 8b+ at Anston Stones, near of all places. Fire in the Rain starts as for an old 8a+, White Light Direct but rather than moving out right to an obvious ledge it tackles the prow head on via some tiny holds, long moves and bad heel hooks. Sounds contrived? Well it is a bit, but your climbing the obvious line in its entirety and once in sequence the “out of bounds” ledge wouldn’t be much help anyway.
I did White Light Direct a few weeks ago. Although the individual moves felt ok linking it was not so easy. The hard moves are very tension dependant. The footholds are tiny and miles away from the handholds, which aren't good enough to be swinging around on. The last hard move is a “ninja kick to heel hook” which felt desperate after the rest of the tension sapping climbing below.
I dropped the last move a number of times (my tension deficit disorder was playing up) before returning a few days later with a fresh core, fresh skin and crucially a brand new pair of edging shoes (Anasazis) to seal the deal.
It felt good to be able to try really hard without just tearing your skin off in a matter of goes (as I had got used to over a winter of climbing on gritstone!) Limestone is great for really physical moves, but its also far more technical than it gets credit for. It was a nice change.
Anyway, after doing White Light Direct I had a quick play on the finishing moves of Fire in the Rain. They felt totally desperate (using Mike’s sequence) so I kind of sacked it off. There was still one move I couldn't even get close to doing, and the others felt hard so I knew that in my current state there was no way id link it. I lost interest.
Next time I found myself there I wasn’t even climbing. Dan (Varian) and Michele (Caminati) went for a go on White Light. Dan’s finger was in a bad way after an argument with voyager so he was mummified in tape. He got stuck into Fire in the Rain as the holds didn’t dig into his fresh wound too much. After some experimenting he had found a very efficient sequence for the end and linked it from standing. That was it, I knew that I could (probably) get through the start again so if I could make Dan’s new sequence work then it might be on for the link.
Next session I quickly did the top, the new sequence working perfectly. Bon. A few goes later it was linked, mostly. Technically I haven’t actually repeated this as I dropped off at the jug on the lip rather than topping out, but in my defence I didn’t have a pad under me and my spotters were at the other end of the crag. Nothing like controversy is there…
This problem felt hard, but its also really good. It is the line of the crag (if a little blinkered) and has some brilliant and very hard moves on it. Anston Stones is also a lot closer to Sheffield than people think. It is quicker for me to get there than it is to get to Raven tor or Rubicon or many other “classic” peak limestone venues.
Regarding the grade, I have no idea. If you ask silly questions you get silly answers.