Alex Waterhouse Repeats The HUGE Careless Torque Ground-up

Devon Local Youth, Alex Waterhouse, 17, has repeated ‘Careless Torque’ at Stanage, Peak District in ground-up style over 2 sessions. The route, now given Font 8A, Was originally climbed by Big Ron Fawcett who jumped from the neighbouring route (not To Be Taken Away) at increasing heights as a tactic for testing the landing, in 1987. Thank you to Simon Rawlinson Photography.

Alex Comments:

“I tried it first after the youth open lead in the first week of December, and had reasonable success, sticking the crux multiple times but I still hadn’t managed the first move and had never got the top move either. I went home and got some new beta from videos of Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and Cailean Harker on it. From then I knew it was possible and planned to come back after Christmas.”

After liasing with Billy Ridal and his father Wayne Ridal, Alex and his Father Phil Waterhouse joined the Ridal’s to make the journey in the Ridal family 4×4. Deciding to continue despite snowy and icey conditions, Team Ridal-Waterhouse safely made it too Stanage and got to work on the route, drying the top jugsfor over half and hour before even attemping to climb.

“I couldn’t actually do the first move for ages, but once I’d managed the knack of it I was getting it almost every time. I soon got past the crux again and was standing up on the easier upper section, which compared to the crux is much easier [F7B/+?] but also a lot higher.The problem is about 7m high and on my first go of the day past the crux I dropped the very last move, and as a result took a pretty hefty fall onto my arse. Thanks to the spotting of Billy Ridal and his dad it was okay, but I suspect I’m going to ache tomorrow!”

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“The route is 7m high and I only had 5 pads. When I took the big fall, Iactually missed most of them, and only hit the corner of one. If you’d like some numbers, from 6m and a final velocity of 11m/s, I stopped in 0.16 seconds… a decelleration of 7G!”

Alex eventually managed to succeed on the route and he explains what atracted him to climb it:

“The problem is one of the most striking and impressive lines in the country, where the high arete is gained through a delicate and powerful rockover. This style of move suits me well as I have pretty flexible hips! I decided to climb the route without toprope practice and therefore took about 10 falls past the crux in my 2 sessions.”

Alex has recently been accepted to Dartmouth College, and Ivy League university in New Hampshire, USA. He will attend in 2016 after a gap year.


Alex Waterhouse is a British Team climber sponsored by High Sports who travels the world competing in international and national competitions. He has made ascents of SW classics Tuppence and Jungle VIP and runs TinyClimb Chalkbags in his spare time. |