Rainman, Malham Cove

9b Sport route


The first 9b in the UK and the hardest route climbed by a Brit at the time it was first climbed.

Breakdown is roughly 8a/+ (raindogs without grabbing the chains) to 8A to 8c+.


Steve McClure
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Added at 07:05 on 19 May 2021
Steve McClure
Added at 09:12 on 19 December 2020
Adam Ondra
Added at 14:02 on 02 February 2021


2 recorded ascents.

Climber Style FA Ascent Date
Steve McClure Lead (Worked) 04 Jun 2017

Known as 'The Easy Easy' project before it was done. 127 sessions spanning 10 seasons.

Steve's diary of his attempts on the route is available here http://www.steve-mcclure.com/articles/131-rainman-saga.

16/5/2013 - session 40, on a training link of Bat Route in to the top of Rainman.

Great conditions. I knew I would do it. But I didn’t! Foiled by the snagging krab, Rich Heap had left it open when filming. Gutted! 2nd go fell on heartbreaker slap, 3rd go actually almost held the sloper. All over it today, it just would not give in!

20/4/2014 - Session 53

Waste of time today, and very frustrating. Whats the point of spending all season building back up to a level that is nowhere near. Basically I already know its too hard, the curve doesn’t come close to the target. I’m out of time already. Mentally its over, probably forever, with motivation to reach high points only. Managed floor to undercut clip. And yes, that’s high, but its nowhere, again!


Evolution at Ravenstor lapped 3 times with short rest. Puts perspective on Malham project!

5/6/2015 - Session 74

Twice to stab from belay! Bah, just can’t nail that move! And I can’t get this link [from Raindogs belay to top]. I think this link is harder than Batman. It must be 9a+ as a link. So font 8a into 8c+ = 9a+? sounds about right. Or maybe this link is even harder? I’ve spent 75 days now and still not done this link. But a bit wet, crag starting to seep – what, its june!

15/6/2015 - Session 76

managed from floor to stab! Definite high point! Some beta changes mean I am flying through! Feels awesome. But battered later and failed to get through bulge twice. Very good though. And a good point to finish the season. Still feels like a long way, but enough to keep me motivated to get back on it.

29/9/2015 - Session 79

Good efforts today from floor, once to stab, once to razor. That’s awesome. BUT spotted a major sequence change, getting LH into pocket instead of R, much easier, then use the tooth as a side pull for RH to move LH to the micro block, then RH into pocket. Absolutely can’t believe I didn’t spot this. All that messing around years ago trying to find a way to get RH into pocket!! And then years of trying the section with the poor undercut. What an idiot! Very exciting!

5/10/2015 - Session 80

Condensed crag, even failed on RD! But went on upper bit excited about new sequence. But straight away ripped the tooth off, totally lost, no chance of repair. Gutted. How about that for a teaser? Not happy.

19/4/2016 - Session 91

Floor to Stab move!! Very exciting. A real high-point. So just maybe it could be possible? If I hold the pocket well I should get a move higher, then it’s the heartbreaker… that’s really close… wow, it could go!!

23/5/2016 - Session 99

Last day, and I knew it. Heart not in it, I figure I am burnt out now, I’ve been going backwards a while. However, that pressure-off thing helped, and from floor I got fingers in pocket, soo close to holding, but not quite. But I was blown really. I need to have a bit left there and I didn’t. But good place to leave it, I’m pretty psyched!

7/11/2016 - Session 108

The end!!! Good conditions, wanted progress, but fell off bulge 3 times! Gutted really. Mentally gave up. Will I even come back?? I’m now so many years in. Its been great, and to be fair there isn’t much else to do at Malham, but that’s not my reason for being on it. I love the process, the journey. But now it really looks like the journey has no end, and I don’t think I can just carry on forever!

28/4/2017 - Session 117

2 x floor to stab. So back on high points. Feel pretty good this year. Not sure if it’s the micro beta? Bulge I’m getting most times, Kneebar I’m really milking though its so intense on the body, then I’m so fast on the next section.

12/5/2017 - Session 121

Progress. Beta worked. So marginal! But twice held the pocket. Once just for a second, then next go managed to move feet. So a breakthrough. Now it actually feels possible. For the first time ever its ON!! Need more progress though. Its still a bunch more after that.

21/5/2017 - Session 124

Good conditions, though warm at first. But ominous, as forecast truly boiling. Everyone talking of sacking off Malham. No one coming after today. I had 2 goes, 1st held stab, but not well, 2nd just slapped stab. That’s it, its over again. But last move. Then I had a last go ‘to get the draws out’ but conditions amazing, just kept going, no pressure. Then I’d held the heartbreaker, and the RH crimp, foot on edge, reached for final undercut… but somehow just short. 5mm further and I was in. But NO. so gutted. Suddenly I was devastated. First time ever on this route I have been truly gutted

4/6/2017 - Session 127

YES!! Was it always on? I don’t think so. Was this my last chance? Maybe, forecast is truly awful!! Pressure was on! First go was great weather, but rock a tad warm from sun. Almost held heartbreaker. Then tired. Felt drained, disappointed, felt that was it! Rested 3 hr, then nailed it. BUT so close, like ridiculous, closest ever, almost dropped very last move to good holds, and then even in BR I absolutely struggled. Panicked at BR rest and stayed for ages. But then the last 8a wall was easy, and just SOO much fun. Every move I knew it was gonna happen, the moves just flowed, and then at last, it was over.




Adam Ondra Lead (Did not finish)