Neil Gresham
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Rock World Tour
China 2006
Axeman, F8a (1st ascent)
It was obvious that we would find ourselves back in China after such an amazing first trip. Except on our second visit we became a little over-excited and it turned out to be a disaster. We were so eager that we returned in the rainy season and the line I bolted at White Mountain never dried out. Worse was that Seb Grieve, broke off a flake whilst bolting his project and ended up in hospital in Shanghai with a broken foot. We fled back to the UK to re-group and returned a third time in October to settle the score! Seb’s foot had just-about healed and he finished his route, except it turned out to be a fairly poor 7a and (contrary to his reputation for boldness) the bolts were placed really close together - there was no way he was chancing a fall onto his foot. My route proved to be the best yet, ‘the Axeman’ 8a, is the line of the crag - a giant and grotesquely steep, endurance test on perfect rock. With a week to spare we were shown to another cliff called Lei Pi Shan where I added ‘Single Life’ 8a+, and Mike Robertson bolted an extension which we left as a project for a talented young local lad called Abond. We were delighted to hear a month or so after our return that China now has it’s first 8b+.

Axeman, F8a
Axeman, F8a
Photo: Mike Robertson
Single Life 8a+
Single Life 8a+
Photo: Mike Robertson