A little more than a year ago, after years of projecting, James Kassay, 27, of Australia, repeated Dai Koyamada's 65+-move-monster The Wheel of Life in the Hollow Mountain Cave, Grampians, Australia. Not content with this, he kept working on his ultimate goal, The Direct; and now, he has done it.
Kassay wrote on Facebook: “I have, for as long as I can remember, had a personal goal with my climbing... To start at the lowest point of hollow mountain cave; climb Extreme Cool, Sleepy Hollow, Cave Man and then to finish up left on Dead Can’t Dance which is the highest point of the cave ... Today it has become a reality! I just did the first ascent of The Wheel of life DIRECT!!! Personally it is one of the most amazing achievements of my climbing career!”
“My first real climbing experience was at a kids’ club run at the local climbing gym,” Kassay writes on his web site. “I won a bottle of Coke, a chocolate bar and a chalk bag … I was hooked for life!”
Now 17 years after he began his climbing career, he is managing his family’s climbing gym, and trying to see just how far he can push his limits.
Kassay told UKClimbing, “I'm not even going to begin speculating about a grade on this thing, so let's just say it's most likely harder than the original, which has been suggested to be anything from 8B+ (V14) to 8C+ (V16) as a boulder and 9a (5.14d) to 9a+ (5.15a) as a route.”
Hats off for James who has succeeded on a lifetime goal!
This story is by Björn Pohl at UKClimbing with additional reporting by Gentrye Houghton for Rock and Ice.
Photo of James Kassay climbing courtesy of Josh Thelwell, and more from Kassay's blog here.