Words by Natalie Berry. Images by Chris Prescott.
The name of the crag, The Gravestones, hardly inspires confidence. The name of the route, Pretty Girls Make Graves, even less so. Whatever connection you make between it and the title of The Smiths’ song, in reference to a quote from Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums, any route alluding to death is likely to evoke feelings of unease.
So far, my trad apprenticeship had been nothing if not an exponential rise through the grades. Within a matter of weeks, I’d jumped from E1 to E2 to E4. We joked that E8 should be my next target given the doubling sequence I was unconsciously following. Even if my confidence was soaring, E8 seemed a stretch too far. After careful consideration, I thought I’d meet it halfway and try an E6 instead. People around me seemed to believe I could do it, and in my naivety, I took their word for it.