Chris Doyle has long been the cheerleader for Pill Box Wall, always keen for a session on this steep, crimpy wall, and always with one eye on the next unclimbed link. Back in 2002 he made the second ascent of Millennium Drive (Kristian Clemmow’s classic 7C traverse) then kicked off his first ascent scorecard with Jack Daniels Connection 7B and Chris’ Link 7B+.
Since then he has picked off a series of lines and logical links; the last of these, Drink Driving with a finish up Last Rites, proved a stubborn nut to crack. With sporadic attempts spread over seven years Chris wondered at times if he would ever be able to do it. Sessioning the line didn’t seem to work – after all, he already had the sequence dialled – and it soon became clear that success would only come with increased strength and fitness.
In June of this year he got close but his form soon evaporated and he was back to flailing again.
Returning for an attempt on Monday this week Chris was about as sport route fit and light/strong as he had ever been; the added bonus was some excellent cool and windy conditions. As a result he made it through the main section of Drink Driving three times and on one occasion onto the final crimp of Last Rites.
Yesterday he came back for another go, nervous of losing form before he had the chance to nail it. This time it all went to plan and he was able to latch the final pocket - a golden moment for sure and one that marks the end of Chris’ 12 year long first ascent campaign.
One for the Road rates a hard 8A+; speaking just after the ascent, Chris was moved to describe it as:
“The hardest piece of climbing I have ever done. You should have seen me eyeing up that last pocket, I couldn’t believe it when my fingers went in it.”
Check out his film of the first ascent, which also includes a brief run down of the key ascents on Pill Box Wall:
Below is a list of Chris’ first ascents on Pill Box Wall laid out in chronological order:
One for the Road 8A+ [20.08.14]
Last Drink 8A+ [07.12]
Jack the Drunk 8A+ [14.07.09]
Last Rites 7B+ [22.04.08]
Last Rites sds 7C [30.04.08]
Malteser - Last Rites 8A [21.08.08]
Drink Driving - Ain't No Party 7B/+ [16.12.07]
Jack Daniels – Ain’t No Party 7B+ [12.07]
The Malteser - Last Orders 7C+ [17.11.07]
Drink Driving 8A+ [19.10.07]
Ain’t No Party standing start 7B [26.12.06]
The Cypriot – WB 7C [12.06]
Jack Daniels – The Greek (aka: Jack the Greek) 7C [12.06]
The Malteser 7C [12.06]
Ain’t No Party like a Pill Box Party 7A+ [25.11.06]
The Cypriot 7B+ [11.06]
Chris’ Link 7B+ 
Jack Daniels Connection 7B+ (7B with modern sequence)