Last Friday, Jordan Buys joined a very select club with his ascent of Rainshadow (9a) at Malham Cove. We caught up with him to talk redpointing, window cleaning and his predictions for the future of climbing.
First things first: congrats! So, are we right in thinking that this is the third ascent of Rainshadow?
Thanks, yep you are right its the third ascent.
Tell us a little about the route:
It is smack bang in the middle of Malham Cove in Yorkshire. It's about 20-odd metres long and extends Raindogs, a classic 8a. It is some of the best rock I have ever climbed on; if any small section of it was a route or boulder problem on it's own then it would be well sought after! As it is, you get one big classy beast.
So it's been climbed by Steve Mcclure and Adam Ondra. That's a pretty exclusive club to join - just how did it feel to clip the chain?
Felt mint! It was ace to know I was right in trying it in the first place. If you never dare yourself to do something you'll never find out what you can really do.
How did you celebrate?
Initially quite a few whoops then went to the pub and played a game of pool. I knew I must be on form because I beat Naomi (wife) for the first time in as long as I can remember!! Then champagne of course.
What first attracted you to Rainshadow?
Well I remember seeing Steve (Mcclure) on it years ago and then Malc Smith and Chris Cubitt. At that time I was still having a hard time on their warm ups, I then thought how ace would it be to be up there myself. It all came down to when I went to pick something new to start projecting. I had just done Cry Freedom and was keen to look at Bat Route but it was raining so hard that the river under the crag had risen above the gate at the bottom of the cove and everything at the crag was soaked. The only thing dry was Raindogs/Shadow so I thought it would be worth having a mess around. Lo and behold, I loved it.
How long have you been trying it?
Well I think when I first had a play was summer 2011. I got very close to doing it in summer 2012 but then the weather turned bad. Then I picked up an injury just as everything was drying up again, so I had to let go of the dream for another season.
What made the difference, why did you finally get up it - was it diet, training.....or even luck?
I did watch my diet and planned my training around peaking that very day. I knew I was going to do it. Also a big shout out to Jonny Lyon for the wooden pinches he made for my board at home. They rocked!
We've heard it was quite the weekend? Rainshadow, a Cheedale E7 and winning a competition? How do your fingers feel after that?
Yeah, pretty tired after that lot. I think getting pumped silly trying to trad climb the day before really helped me on Rainshadow, like some last minute training or something! The comp at The Climbing Barn felt super relaxed compared to the other two days but it was probably the most demanding on my body as the beast that is Dave Jones pushed me all the way in the finals. I was fully against the ropes at all times!
So, what's climbing 9a like for us punters? Can you talk us through the crux?
Its full on, I used to think the stuff I had done on grit was hard. This sport malarkey can't just be done by talking positive to yourself, or by trusting a smear. The crux is only something like font 7c+ but that has to be dispatched after doing Raindogs the hard way (as in no chain grabbing). You need to enter the crux feeling fresh as a daisy like you've just stepped off the floor. The crux involves squeezing pinches like a vice!
Now you've headpointed E9 (Widdop Wall), onsighted E8, bouldered V13 and climbed 9a, which must make you one of the UK's top all-round rock climbers. But if you could only do one style of climbing, what would it be, and why?
I could never do just one type, I would get bored and probably give up!
Let's get the crystal ball out - what will British climbing see in the next five years?
I think there will be a lot of handsome mid-thirty year olds climbing harder than ever before ;-)
So, what's your view on climbing and the Olympics? Good, bad, ugly?
Think its cool, but I hope folk will continue to remember why they climb. Climbing is quirky and different. It is not regimented and clinical like some Olympic sports are.
You're not a full-time climber, do you think you'd climb even harder if you could give up the day job?
I dont know, its not something I've ever thought about and I dont think it will ever happen.
Just how do you manage to stay enthusiastic when battling the weather both window cleaning and on routes?
I dont think twice about it, I just get on with it. It isn't as bad as everyone really makes out. The bad weather normally comes at a time you need to head inside and train anyway. I try and see it as a blessing in disguise.
What's your number one training tip?
Don't be worried about being seen to 'fail'. The climbers who give it full beans will be the ones that succeed.
What's the next project?
I'm not going to say...
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