Roberts ticks Digital Crack â€“ Europeâ€™s highest F8a/+
- Thursday 6th August 2020 at 7.50pm
Aug 5th; 2017
Seventeen years after first setting eyes on Digital Crack, John Roberts has finally got the tick!
Digital Crack, Europe's highest F8a/+
Located on Cosmiques Arete high in the Chamonix Aiguilles, Digital Crack is Europe’s highest F8a/+. Painfully sharp holds and the altitude limit the number of attempts that is possible on Digital Crack in a day – plus it is blasted by the sun for most of the day. Originally graded F8a, it’s started to appear as F8a/+ in guides recently.
Digital Crack on the Cosmiques Arete.
John explains on social media his fascination with Digital Crack: “Aged about 17 I rocked up in Chamonix, with Chris, and the first route I ever did here was Cosmiques Arête. I remember looking up at Digital Crack, and thinking one day it would go. 16 years later, and finally, today was the day.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing as John explains: “After many frustrating attempts, split tips, bad weather, a broken ankle and a year of extra training, it was pretty bloody good to stand on top of it this afternoon!”
John and his ‘support team’.
And on the grade: “It's actually given 8a+ in a few places now, but it's too difficult to judge. Harder than the last 8a+ I did! It's basically a fiercely fingery 6m V7, into a 7b, but the altitude burns... (after the 6cish first pitch) and you get very few goes per day as (in Hazel's words) it's sharper than a bag of biting weasels.”
So what is John doing next? “Time for a burger and a beer...”
Photos: Lin Dolan and Heather Swift