There's a route on the Langdale Boulders called Pocket Problem. Mark's been working on it for a couple of months without success.
I took one look, laughed, made sure I was wearing many layers of clothing and found some relatively comfortable positions in which to settle with the camera.
It took persistence, but this was the result:
I'm still trying to work out how anything so shallow can get away with being described as a 'pocket'.
The next move is the really tricky one; balancy, plus contact with the rock being down to three finger ends and a couple of toes.
A pause to savour the accomplishment...
and a brief moment of jubilation on top :)
So, what does Mark do when he's just succeeded on a route which has been bugging him for a couple of months?
Go home and celebrate?
Don't be silly!
He starts work on 'Pocket Eliminate' which is the same route but made more difficult by eliminating the last two handholds; straight from the pocket to the top.
Pocket Problem is graded V5.
(Mark tells me that V5 isn't really such a hard grade; it's just this particular problem which has been causing him headaches.)
Pocket Eliminate is V8
(and would become the hardest boulder grade Mark has so far climbed)
Watch this space!