Tom Randall Sends a Runout Trad Classic in the U.K.
The Wide Boyz and Lattice Training founder climbed the iconic The Walk of Life E9 6c on his birthday
A few days ago on his birthday, U.K. climber Tom Randall sent the epic slab line, The Walk of Life E9 6c. Located on Dyer’s Lookout, a big sea cliff on the north coast of Devon, England, The Walk of Life is a famous 60-metre slab climb first sent by James Pearson in 2008.
The route is highly technical—climbers have to make use of terrible footholds and tiny crimps to move through continuously complex sequences. Making this all the more difficult is the fact that the route is seriously runout and gear placements are finnicky and not exactly confidence-inspiring.
The Walk of Life is perhaps most famous for its original proposed grade of E12 7a by Pearson, the hardest grade ever assigned to a route in the U.K. After making the second ascent, Dave MacLeod downgraded the route to E9 6c and subsequent ascents have confirmed this lower grade. The third ascent went to Dave Birkett, who said, “If you were to apply a sport grade to Walk of Life it would weigh in at about F8a+, or American 5.13c R.”
Via Instagram, Randall had this to say about his birthday send: “Bottom bit was scary, but all the rest was totally sublime. Full flow experience where I hardly knew what was happening.”
Randall is one of the top trad and crack climbers in the world. His highlights include FAing Century Crack 5.14b in Utah and The Kraken V13 roof crack in Devon, as well as repeating Cobra Crack 5.14b in Squamish. In Summer 2021, he and fellow Wide Boyz member Pete Whittaker made the FA of the 800m Great Rift 5.13, perhaps the strangest “trad” climb in the world. The pair spent four days and three nights climbing a 70-pitch horizontal crack on the underside of an elevated highway.
You can watch films of Pearson’s FA and MacLeod’s second ascent of The Walk of Life below.