Watch this climber dangle from a 100m chalk cliff

Can you break a piece of chalk in your hand? We thought so. Why would you ever want to climb on it?
By Josh Sampiero

"I'm kicking into the chalk to make a foothold. Good feet drive me upwards," says Gadd. "Bad feet blow and suck." 

Red Bull White Cliffs is 120m of climbing – that's a long time to be hanging off a wall. It's all about getting your feet under you to propel you up, and spending less time hanging from your tools. 

“Overhangs are the speed bumps of climbing”

© Jonathon Griffith

"In the soft chalk the holes fill back up with dust and junk, so sometimes you've got to clean them out, or pound your way through the debris in there. I pounded." Good idea. 

Of course, tackling the White Cliffs isn't as simple as climbing a ladder – sometimes you've got to do a little research... 

“Mark the chalk to find the hold...” 

"I'm marking the soft chalk so when I'm racing on the route I'll be able to find the hold," says Gadd. "The marks all disappear in days or the whole cliff falls off, so I'm not hurting anything."

“Swinging into the chalk is like ice climbing”

"At the top the holds are all falling apart, so it's more secure to build your own. I climb a lot of ice, and swinging into the chalk is a lot like ice climbing. Solid!" 

However, solid wasn't how Will felt every step of the way. 

“I’m about to vomit in this picture”

Says Gadd, "Racing up 90m of overhanging chalk above the ocean was definitely a new experience. I'm about to vomit in this picture, crazy anaerobic death sprint."

And whether you vomit or not, you've got to finish. After his test run of around 35 minutes, Gadd's competition line came in at 17m 27s. And did it hurt? See below and you tell us. 

“I’m safe... I’m safe...”

© Jonathon Griffith

Once he recovered from his 'anaerobic death sprint', Gadd was pretty stoked on the line. "That's about as much fun as you can have with ice tools," he says. Check more from the event and find out who won here.

Will Gadd
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