Low Friction Fridays

Derek Thatcher has made the first repeat of John Palmer's Shadowplay (29) at Quantum Field. He even made a nice video, so you can steal his beta (we all know that the beta is half the battle, sometimes more). The route starts as for the criminally-underrated Chocolate-Coated Razorblades (27), but where that route journeys left into Adios Gringos, Shadowplay continues up and slightly right. This leads you to a blank and bulging face that sports a singularly aesthetic sloping runnel feature. As you can probably imagine, some suitably desperate low friction crux moves are then in order. Classic local style.

Belay image

John made the first ascent back in February 2017, so it has taken a little while for someone else to make the repeat. Since that time, John has added a couple of other low-angle and low-friction masterclass slabs, Game Theory (30) and Grey Matter (29), neither of which has any holds. Or, you might say they are each one big hold, depending on your perspective. Grey Matter has seen one repeat, by slab-enthusiast Isaac Buckley. This new wave of blank low-angle routes  is a fairly unique niche in New Zealand climbing. Derek's use of the hashtag #slabmastertrilogy suggests these three routes by John might be a collectable set in the same way that Beat Kammerlander's hard and scary multi-pitch routes in the Swiss Ratikon have become. This leads to the obvious questions: who will be next to climb all three, and is John Palmer New Zealand's answer to Beat Kammerlander?