King of the Mezz E7 6c starts from the New York belay (at the top of The Quarryman groove) and clips the bolts on the initial section of The Firé Escape before dropping down and following the obvious line of overhangs leftwards until it is possible to climb up to the Blockhead belay. The hardest section is reasonably close to the bolts (which is a good thing as it’s desperate!) but beyond that there is a heart chilling run out.
A typically flamboyant onsight gesture from the original slate master, leaving his seconds (Neil Dyer and Oskar Anderson) gasping at the difficulty and boldness of the line.
“It was desperate, we couldn’t really do the moves on the crux. Fair enough we had a sneaky beer on the belay which always takes your edge off, but still, it was so hard and then the run out after the hard bit was outrageous. Johnny clipped the Firé Escape bolts then that was it, all the way to the Blockhead belay!”
“I did it on a whim really. We got to the top of the Quarryman groove and I thought, what can we do? I’ve done all the existing lines before so I thought I would just go for the traverse line. I got across and suddenly found myself bridging on poor smears, hanging on an edge and having to dyno. At one point I had to sort of layback on the cheek of my face so I could swap hands on a hold. It was very tricky.”
The name is reference to Johnny’s recent competition win at the Castle climbing wall in London.
Aside from climbing rather well, Johnny is currently doing the final photo captioning on his much anticipated autobiography. Expect to see copies of it in the shops soon.