John and Ron did an ascent of the Nose together and Fawcett’s description of his jog up El Cap with Largo is great fun. Strong team, that.
Also interesting to read of the influence John Bachar had on Fawcett and the other top Brits: in short, they were as blown away as the rest of us.
One item of personal interest made me sit up in my easy chair. In the back is a list of Fawcett’s significant ascents and included is the first free ascent in 1979 of “Carnage,” one of the classic climbs included in Ken Wilson’s compilation of the best routes in Britain, Hard Rock. Carnage is located in Malham Cove, a beautiful limestone amphitheater in the north of England. Here is an article describing the area and the climbing:
Stevie Haston reviewed Fawcett’s book on his blog and it includes the list I am referring to:
Well, it so happens that Gib Lewis and I eliminated the aid from that route on our trip to Europe in the summer of 1977, two years earlier. Hard Rock had just become available and we sought out Carnage primarily because of a dramatic black and white photo in the book of an airy mantle near the top of the route. The narrative mentioned some points of aid, so we intended all along to see if it would go free.
It wasn’t extremely hard, even by the standards of 35 years ago (now 6a, E2 or about 5.10d ), and I recall that neither of us fell on it. It is certainly one of the easiest climbs on Fawcett’s impressive life list. We weren’t sure it was the first free ascent, and Gib recalls that we told Al Manson and T.I.M Lewis (working then for Mountain Magazine) about it. But it didn’t get reported at the time, and over the years I forgot all about it.
So, I don’t expect Fawcett will mind giving up the credit on this one, since he and Livesey snatched a number of fine firsts over here in those years, such as the FFA of Crack-a-Go-Go. Only fair play and good blokery, what?