Keita Kurakami is one of the world’s leading climbers when it comes to hard and run-out trad climbs.

During his current visit to the U.K. for the international climbing meet, he ticked Walk of Life E9 6c (5.13+R) on a sea cliff at Dyer’s Lookout.

Keita Kurakami working on Walk of Life E9 6c. Photo Keita Kurakami

Kurakami, 31, worked on the route for a few days on top rope before attempting to lead it. On one try, an edge broke and he whipped 20 metres ripping gear.

On May 13, with a crowd of climbers watching, he pieced it together. The first ascent by James Pearson in 2008 took 45 minutes.

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Gear on Walk of Life. Photo Keita Kurakami

Pearson graded the route E12, but Dave MacLeod later downgraded it. MacLeod wrote in his blog after, “The first reason the walk isn’t harder than E9 is there is no requirement to be fit. It’s possible to take both hands off on almost every move (not that you actually would, but the point is it’s not at all strenuous).

“Apart from the start which is rather sparsely protected, the remainder is pretty safe with many pretty good bits of gear, right where you need them. It’s also on a very non serious outcrop which is easily accessible with no logistical hassles.”

Watch Pearson make the first ascent in the video below. In 2016, Kurakami sent Japan’s hardest trad multi-pitch, see more here.


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