One month ago after completing my project The Singularity I wrote:
I have proposed the (no doubt controversial) grade of 32. I am not "setting" the grade of the route - it's simply my best guess; something to be confirmed by future ascentionists. We hopefully have a brigade of strong southerners coming up for a winter trip this year, so I hope they'll be keen to jump on and tell me what's what. Regardless though, it's my hardest piece of climbing, and I'm really happy to have done it, and sad that the long, repetitive journey is over.
Well, I got my wish. On Thursday, quiet achiever of Australian climbing Nigel Campbell had a crack. His Blue Mountains crimp strength really paid off for him on this route. He actually looked more solid on the tiny crimps of the crux section than on the easier sections with bigger holds! The real news however is that he devised a sequence to avoid my strength-sapping dynamic throw down low, and also came up with a way to eliminate my low percentage slap to the crux crimp (the move I fell off about 50 times). Amazing!
This just highlights to me what tunnel vision I get while working a project, and the enormous benefit that can be gained by working hard routes with someone else to bounce ideas off. While he hasn't sent the route yet, his sequence looks significantly easier and a lot more solid and controlled - perhaps a grade or two easier than my original proposal? The draws are still on and he'll be back on it soon. We'll see.