REDEMPTION: The James Pearson Story

Join James Pearson and Caroline Ciavaldini, as they talk about their exciting new SPOT Climbers project, and present James’ latest climbing video, REDEMPTION: The James Pearson Story.

  • Tuesday 7th July 2015
  • 19:30 for 20:00
  • MCSA clubhouse, 97 Hatfield St, Cape Town.
  • Refreshments served.

Redemption tells the story of one of the world’s best rock climbers, James Pearson, documenting his controversial journey to the top. From a young age, James proved himself to be one of the best trad climbers ever to climb in Britain, climbing what was considered to be the hardest route in the country Equilibrium (E10) at the age of 19 on his third day of trying the route. In the next few years he went on to put up his own incredibly hard and dangerous new routes, including The Promise (E10), The Groove (E11) and The Walk of Life which he decided to grade E12. At the time the only route in the world confirmed at the grade of E11 was Dave MacLeod’s Rhapsody at Dumbarton Rock, a route which James had tried but abandoned without completing, questioning the quality of the route.

Shortly after, James’ credibility began to unravel as questions were asked the grading of his routes; in the understated world of British climbing, to over-grade a route is considered a sin. When Dave MacLeod climbed The Walk of Life he suggested downgrading it to E9 6c, leaving James to feel humiliated and ostracised from the British climbing community. Soon after James left the country and began a new life in France, where he met his wife Caroline Ciavaldini. After many years of climbing the hardest routes all over the world, James came back to try Rhapsody, a route which if he successfully climbed would prove his ability to the wider climbing community and himself.

James Pearson

This will be held at the Mountain Club of South Africa Club House in Cape Town during the regular first Tuesday social evening.

As usual, there will be grape and hops juices available at dirtbag prices.

  • Click here to view the event on Facebook

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18 Responses to REDEMPTION: The James Pearson Story

  1. Micky May 27, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    great movie this

  2. Chris F May 27, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    He was hardly ostracised. There was a bit of pisstaking about his ability to grade accurately, but not much else. And the Promise has now got concensus grade of about E7/8!

  3. Kent May 27, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    This is the guy who was pushing trad grades in the cedarberg. Should be a good show.

  4. Die Gestewelde Kat May 27, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    Is this not the couple that recently discovered the trad in the Cederburg?

  5. Chris F May 27, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

    Yes, it’s them. Didn’t theydo some single pitch routes routes on small buttresses no-one had bothered with before?

  6. Nic Le Maitre May 28, 2015 at 8:38 am #

    And invented a grading system that no one has ever seen before as well

  7. Chris F May 28, 2015 at 8:56 am #

    Exactly. Pioneers they are I’m telling you 🙂

    • jacques May 28, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

      RRR??? wth?

  8. Nic Le Maitre May 29, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    I won’t be able to make it, won’t someone please ask him to explain his grading system and why none of the existing one were good enough?

  9. Warren Gans May 31, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    So he comes to a country/ area without knowing its climbing history to tell the world there is trad climbing there (You know, the stuff that got climbers going there in the first place); opens some small trad routes and then creates his own grading system for these new routes rather than using any established systems (local or foreign). But none of this is seen as arrogant because….?

    Sorry James, but stuff like this gets letters written to sponsors along the lines of “your athlete is a joke”

  10. Jono Jun 1, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    Uuuh guys, I think some of you may have misinterpreted James and Caroline’s intentions with their route guide, and previous trip here in general.

    It was an exploratory mission first and foremost, to scope out potential for new trad lines (of any grade, length, etc), and to feed back to the international community that Rocklands was more than just a bouldering destination. Yes, they opened up single-pitch lines that “no-one else bothered with”…… hey, when a traddie is at an un-tradded area with only single pitch potential, what’s a traddie to do? If no-one else bothered with them…. what’s the issue?

    As for the grading system used in the guide…… perhaps you need to come to the presentation on 7 July, and ask 🙂

    • Die Gestewelde Kat Jun 1, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

      I don’t think anyone has issues with the fact that they did single pitch lines there and wrote a guide about it. That is actually appreciated. I’ve done one of their lines and it is fun. The tone of their write up however is a bit strange, especially as they don’t really acknowledge the pre-existing trad crags (Faith/Hope/Charity?). It almost sounds like they had to blaze the rocklands trad trail. Now if they had gone on to mention the existing trad history I bet no one would have batted an eyelid. And yes, their grading system really sucks…really really bad.

      • Warren Gans Jun 1, 2015 at 9:00 pm #

        Could not have said it better than Die Gestewelde Kat: I thoroughly enjoy single pitch climbing, trad or sport, and think Cederberg needs to be seen as that, so having famous people willing to shine some light on this fact is great.

        For me i have two crux complaints about what they have done: they implied they were the first, and didn’t use a recognized grading system. But basically this comes down to respecting where they are. Now I get that Rocklands is this foreign tourist trap and for that I’m grateful as they don’t go to all the other far more impressive places that we have (trad wise), so perhaps I shouldn’t be complaining. I m just feeling like a native when the white man came to colonize and discover the things I take for granted.

  11. Jono Jun 2, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    To clear some things up….. Gestewelde Kat:

    There is certainly mention of Faith Hope and Charity crags …..

    “Hope, Faith, and Charity

    The obvious big faces next to The Pass cannot be missed. There are several multi-pitch routes and scrambles that tackle the easier sections of the faces. Some rock is apparently excellent, while other parts are …. less good. We didn’t have the time to check anything out personally, but Chris Kelk from the camping was raving about the quality of a route he did last year.”

    Gestewelde Kat and Warren:

    The way I read it, I don’t see any implication that they were the first to discover trad climbing at Rocklands…..rather, they are among the first few to develop some trad lines there.

    “Our first trip there in 2014, along with the few other parties that have put up routes in the area, have barely even scratched the surface…… ”

    There isn’t much trad history to speak of at Rocklands…. as far as I know.

    As for feeling like a native when the white man came to colonize….. hmmmm, maybe it’s just me, but that’s taking a bit chip-on-the-shoulder too far. When it comes to opening trad lines, it’s first come first served. You can’t really criticize someone for doing something you haven’t bothered to do.

  12. Micky Jun 2, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    Well actually there is a lot of history of trad in Rocklands by the likes of ADK, Ed Feb and Tinie etc…

    • Richard Jun 13, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

      “Well actually there is a lot of history of trad in Rocklands by the likes of ADK, Ed Feb and Tinie etc…” and by several other people, including myself, Andrew Forsyth and Jono Fisher. Some of our trad lines have since been bolted. We, and certainly others, did a few trad lines on those crags, and on some now in the Bushman’s Kloof Reserve. In general we thought them a bit short to make a hullabaloo about, seeing that Krakadouw was just down the road, and the NOT Faith, Hope and Charity buttresses were just across the way. The belief that the crags where Butternut Crisp, Powerdrain, G-Wizz Kids, Shady Lane etc are located is either Faith, Hope or Charity is incorrect. Those names refer to the small peaks right up at the head of the pass.

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