Steve McClure

Instagram.com | 8a.nu | steve-mcclure.com

Quick Info

Nationality: GB
Height: 169 cm
Weight: 57 kg
Date of birth: 25th July 1970
Hardest Boulder (Worked): 8B
Hardest Sport (Worked): 9b
Hardest Sport (Onsight): 8b+
Hardest Sport (Flash): 8b
Hardest Trad (Worked): E11
Hardest Trad (Onsight): E8
Hardest Trad (Flash): E8

Steve McClure is a British sport climber and boulderer who was at the forefront of English and Welsh sport climbing from the late 1990s to until late 2010s and in more recent years has applied his considerable talents to establishing and repeating some of the hardest trad climbs in the UK.

In 1998 he established Mutation at Raven Tor, at the time he suggested 9a but it steadfastly stood the test of time with a repeat taking until 2021 to materialise and along with it an upgrade to 9a+ making it one of the first of the grade in the world. He then went on to further cement himself as Britain's leading sport climber of the time by climbing Ben Moon's Kilnsey project to produce Northern Lights.

Over the following decades Steve continued to almost single-handedly push hard sport climbing in the UK with routes like Rainshadow, Overshadow and Rainman as well as many other notable contributions to Malham Cove, Kilnsey and the peak district.

Steve is also a very capable trad climber and has repeated and established some of the UKs hardest trad climbs. For example his onsight of Nightmayer on Dinas Cromlech is one of the most impressive ascents in this style in the UK as of 2021.

The first time I came to Malham it looked like the easiest crag in the world...

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/steve_mcclure_climbs_1000th_8a_-_the_magic_grade-15509

Contributors: remus, LeodF

Quick Info

Nationality: GB
Height: 169 cm
Weight: 57 kg
Date of birth: 25th July 1970
Hardest Boulder (Worked): 8B
Hardest Sport (Worked): 9b
Hardest Sport (Onsight): 8b+
Hardest Sport (Flash): 8b
Hardest Trad (Worked): E11
Hardest Trad (Onsight): E8
Hardest Trad (Flash): E8

Steve McClure is a British sport climber and boulderer who was at the forefront of English and Welsh sport climbing from the late 1990s to until late 2010s and in more recent years has applied his considerable talents to establishing and repeating some of the hardest trad climbs in the UK.

In 1998 he established Mutation at Raven Tor, at the time he suggested 9a but it steadfastly stood the test of time with a repeat taking until 2021 to materialise and along with it an upgrade to 9a+ making it one of the first of the grade in the world. He then went on to further cement himself as Britain's leading sport climber of the time by climbing Ben Moon's Kilnsey project to produce Northern Lights.

Over the following decades Steve continued to almost single-handedly push hard sport climbing in the UK with routes like Rainshadow, Overshadow and Rainman as well as many other notable contributions to Malham Cove, Kilnsey and the peak district.

Steve is also a very capable trad climber and has repeated and established some of the UKs hardest trad climbs. For example his onsight of Nightmayer on Dinas Cromlech is one of the most impressive ascents in this style in the UK as of 2021.

The first time I came to Malham it looked like the easiest crag in the world...

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/steve_mcclure_climbs_1000th_8a_-_the_magic_grade-15509

Contributors: remus, LeodF

Lists


Podcasts


Pics + Vids

Rainman (9b, FA)
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Added at 07:05 on 19 May 2021
The Bastard (8c+)
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Added at 17:10 on 26 October 2023
Let The Tribe Increase (8a)
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Added at 22:11 on 05 November 2023
Lord of the Rings (8b)
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Added at 12:11 on 09 November 2023
Hubble (9a)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 19:11 on 16 November 2023
Hubble (9a)
Added at 17:11 on 20 November 2023
Queimada (8b+)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 08:11 on 30 November 2023
Budo (8b)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 08:11 on 30 November 2023
Let The Tribe Increase (8a)
Added at 18:12 on 12 December 2023
Indian Summer (8b+)
Added at 13:12 on 15 December 2023
Brean Topping (8b, FA)
Added at 17:12 on 22 December 2023
Strawberries (E7)
Added at 10:04 on 28 April 2024
Elder Statesman (E8, FA)
Added at 07:06 on 15 June 2024
La Fiesta de los Metallos (8b)
Added at 06:06 on 14 June 2024
Nightmayer (E8)
Added at 18:12 on 18 December 2020
Hubble (9a)
Added at 18:12 on 18 December 2020
GreatNess Wall (E10, FA)
Added at 09:12 on 19 December 2020
Rainman (9b, FA)
Added at 09:12 on 19 December 2020
Kaa'bah (8c+, FA)
Added at 12:12 on 22 December 2020
Rhapsody (E11)
Added at 16:12 on 29 December 2020
Choronzon (E10)
Added at 17:01 on 19 January 2021
Overshadow (9a+, FA)
Added at 13:02 on 05 February 2021
Bat Shadow (8c+, FA)
Added at 13:02 on 05 February 2021
Elder Statesman (E8, FA)
Added at 12:01 on 30 January 2021
Batman (9a, FA)
Added at 13:05 on 10 May 2021
Le Voyage (E10)
Added at 15:04 on 26 April 2023
Impact Day (E8)
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Added at 10:05 on 20 May 2021
Mutation (9a+, FA)
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Added at 06:11 on 16 November 2021
Lexicon (E11)
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Added at 05:09 on 22 September 2021
The Very Big and the Very Small (8b+)
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Added at 14:06 on 28 June 2021
The Very Big and the Very Small (8b+)
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Added at 14:06 on 28 June 2021
Lexicon (E11)
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Added at 15:09 on 23 September 2021
Lexicon (E11)
Added at 13:09 on 26 September 2021
Mutation (9a+, FA)
Added at 14:11 on 02 November 2021
Mutation (9a+, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 16:11 on 02 November 2021
Olympiad (8b)
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Added at 16:05 on 28 May 2021
Olympiad (8b)
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Added at 16:05 on 28 May 2021
Olympiad (8b)
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Added at 21:05 on 28 May 2021
Mutation (9a+, FA)
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Added at 16:10 on 15 October 2021
North Star (9a, FA)
Added at 09:07 on 03 July 2021
Evolution (8c+)
Added at 08:11 on 03 November 2021
The Final Round (E9)
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Added at 10:05 on 01 May 2021
Olympiad (8b)
Added at 17:01 on 20 January 2022
The Final Round (E9)
Added at 07:02 on 04 February 2022
Rainshadow (9a, FA)
Added at 04:05 on 07 May 2023
Lexicon (E11)
Added at 09:05 on 19 May 2022
Somehow Super (8c)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 15:07 on 06 July 2022

Ascents

76 recorded ascents.

This timeline is missing some ascents where the date of the ascent is unknown. Use the other tabs to view these ascents.
Year Climb Grade Style Ascent Date
1995 Zeke the Freak 8b Lead | worked 1st Oct 1995
1996 Mecca - The Mid-life Crisis 8b+ Lead | worked 28th Sep 1996
Jehovakill 8b+ Lead | worked 30th Oct 1996
Evolution 8c+ Lead | worked 8th Nov 1996

References

[1] Footage of a much later ascent https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBxwQ--odXg.

1997
1998 The Very Big and the Very Small 8b+ Lead | worked 1998
Mecca Extension 8c Lead | worked Jul 1998
First ascent.
Raindogs 8a Lead | worked Oct 1998

The first of many ascents, as Steve went on to add routes such as Rainshadow and Rainman which extend Raindogs.

Mutation 9a+ Lead | worked 14th Oct 1998
First ascent. 24 sessions.

A hugely impressive ascent for the time, and doubly so since it was only 3 years after Steve climbed his first 8th grade route (Zeke the Freak in October 1995). Steve suggested 9a but it is now considered 9a+ which makes it the first of the grade in the UK and the first of the grade by a British person.

It took Steve 24 sessions over 4 years to make the first ascent.

The first time I did that move from the ground, I did the route, but I only did the last move by the skin of my teeth. I'm pretty sure a gust of wind blew me up that last move...

Steve's diary [2]

Below are some extracts from Steve's diary while he was attempting the route.

7th October 1998, day 22:

Yet another failed day. Getting annoying now! Feel as though I should be doing better. Maybe I am getting a ‘head’ problem on ‘that’ move. Today I had 2 RP efforts, first go was the best, swinging over to the pinch but not getting the distance. 2nd go was rubbish. No psyche and hardly tried. Evo is feeling a path, but that cross is just a killer! Today I got Myles (Gibson) up there for a look, and with his fingers his opinion on moves is really important. He found it nails too, and no info change really (would have been nice if he found an easier way!). He reckoned 8b at least for the extension if not more, so it means the route could be overall 9a. That’s probably why I’m not getting up it!

10th October 1998, day 23:

THAT move FOUR times today! Excellent conditions. I’m wasting them! They will run out soon for sure. Not sure about the head problem except I expect to fail now. I set off knowing I’ll get to that move, and fall off that move. But I still think I’m trying hard enough, even on the move. Its just so momentum orientated. I need to have the movement pattern in my mind and not just try and static it. I’m sure it will go. Spent ages fiddling with the move and found perhaps a slightly easier way of swinging it, but only slightly, and probably not at all really. But that top section is still so hard. Today after each go I climbed the top section to keep it fresh. I could for sure drop that bit! Just need to keep plugging away.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CVDi_UjDMGG/

[2] Extracts from Steve's diary in the days leading up to making the first ascent http://steve-mcclure.com/articles/155-mutation-a-bunch-of-happy-days-at-the-tor

[3] Rupert Davies and Steve trying some moves and sequences on the route https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8yl9bytOuo

[4] https://www.instagram.com/p/CVx65_hIqBp/

[5] Steve on the route in 2001, photo by Simon Carter https://www.instagram.com/p/CWUR2kyMNMH/

1999 Dreadnaught 8c Lead | worked 1999
First ascent.
Monsterosity 8b Lead | worked 1999
First ascent.
2000 Top Loader E7 Lead | flash 2000
Transform 8c Lead | worked 2000
Second ascent.

Steve and Malcolm Smith worked the route together then Steve made the second ascent a few days after Malc made the FA.

Poppy 8b+ Lead | worked 2000
Northern Lights 9a Lead | worked 18th Jul 2000
First ascent. 15 sessions.

Steve cemented himself as the top sport climber in the UK, taking over from Moon and Moffatt and leading sport climbing in the UK in to a new era.

Notably, Steve used a different sequence from what Ben Moon was trying with the original line. Steve's sequence loops out slightly where Ben was trying to go very direct.

References

[1] On The Edge Issue 101

To Bolt or Not to Be 8b+ Lead | worked 22nd Oct 2000
2001 The Bastard 8c+ Lead | worked Jun 2001
Second ascent.

Steve memorably described the route as like

driving out to Rubicon, slamming my fingers in the car door three times, then driving home. [2]

References

[1] https://www.climbing.de/news/steve-mcclure-repeats-the-bastard-8c-42510.html

[2] https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/rock_talk/the_chis_craggs_aid_route_called_free_that_you_btards-559294?v=1#x7449156

[3] https://www.instagram.com/p/Cy3qNVGhjYq/

[4] On The Edge Issue 109, page 12

2002 Brean Topping 8b Lead | worked 2002
First ascent.
Mandela 8a+ Lead | flash 2002

It's one of those routes that're much easier to flash than on-sight. If you didn't know a key piece of information you wouldn't know where to go - knowing what to do it felt more like 8a+. [1]

References

[1] On The Edge 122, page 14.

Indian Summer 8b+ Lead | onsight Aug 2002

With this ascent Steve became the first British climber to onsight 8b+.

2003 Rainshadow 9a Lead | worked 18th Jun 2003
Close of Business 8B Boulder | worked 1st Sep 2003
2004 Kaa'bah 8c+ Lead | worked 2004
Ring of Fire 8b+ Deep Water Solo | ground up 2004
First ascent.
Elder Statesman E8 Lead | worked 2nd Mar 2004
First ascent.

Steve used 3 ropes on the first ascent. This turned out to be a very wise choice!

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDTAKVUE_g4

Hajj 8c Lead | worked Sep 2004
First ascent.
2005 Somehow Super 8c Lead | worked Jun 2005
2006 Roofolution 9a Lead | worked Jun 2006
First ascent.
2007 Fat Lip 8B Boulder | worked 2007
First ascent.
Overshadow 9a+ Lead | worked 23rd May 2007
Rooster Crossing 8c Lead | worked Jun 2007
First ascent.
2008 North Star 9a Lead | worked 15th May 2008
First ascent.

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVu7StN1qjo

Rhapsody E11 Lead | worked 15th Jun 2008
2009 Stevolution 9a Lead | worked 2009
First ascent.
Kalea Borroka 8b+ Lead | onsight 20th May 2009
Hubble 9a Lead | worked 30th Jul 2009

Steve's 581st route at 8a or above. [3]

A real milestone, possibly my biggest achievement in climbing, even bigger perhaps than Overshadow. Hubble is special, it's a massive trophy and a world icon with a real history.

Steve on the successful ascent:

On the say I did Hubble I totally didn't expect to do it; I so didn't expect to do it that I didn't even have any quickdrawers in at the top! So hanging on a hold half way up I had to get someone to throw up some quickdraws. [4]

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2009/08/steve_mcclure_-_hubble_f8c+-48867

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0cq2CZe_40

[3] https://www.instagram.com/p/Czt-_eItyVN/

[4] https://open.spotify.com/episode/1YbEX5LbR0aS1h2oOnrxaf?rYxlKw

2010 Pedigree Chum 8c+ Boulder | worked 2010
The Great Escape 8b+ Lead | worked 2010
First ascent.
Finest Pedigree 9a+ Boulder | worked 8th Jul 2010
Cruz Diablo 8c+ Lead | worked 5th Nov 2010
First ascent.
2011 The Quarryman E8 Lead | worked 27th May 2011

Likely the first one-day ascent of the full line.

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2011/05/steve_mcclure_repeats_the_quarryman_e8-62420

Dawes Rides a Shovelhead E8 Lead | onsight Aug 2011
2012
2013 Batman 9a Lead | worked 22nd May 2013
First ascent.

On a previous redpoint Steve had all but done the route when a quickdraw with a sticky gate got jammed in his knot as he climbed past, stopping him mere inches from the finishing jugs and robbing him of the ascent.

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nldb3ZohDLo

Tom et je Ris 8b+ Lead | onsight 12th Jul 2013
2014 Strawberries E7 Lead | onsight Jun 2014
2015 Muy Caliente! E9 Lead | worked Jul 2015
Choronzon E10 Lead | worked 12th Jul 2015
2016 Taka Okame 8b+ Lead | worked 2016
2017 Rainman 9b Lead | worked 4th Jun 2017
First ascent. 127 sessions.

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!

6/11/2014

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.

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2017/06/steve_mcclure_on_rainman_9b-71135

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L01OUNJvd1E

[3] https://www.instagram.com/p/COtJSLNjJgK/

2018 La Fiesta de los Metallos 8b Alternate Leads | worked 2018
The Reign is Over 8c Lead | worked Apr 2018
First ascent.
2019 Nightmayer E8 Lead | onsight 2019

After the event you quickly forget, but I really had to give it everything, and only just got it. I’ve seen people say ‘its 8a so for Steve it should be ‘piss’, well, it doesn’t work like that! 8a is really hard. 7b is hard! An Olympic level 100m sprinter who can manage 9 seconds doesn’t just stroll along in 9.5 seconds! I’d say this was one of the hardest pieces of climbing I’ve ever done. It’s up there with Rainman, Overshadow and Rhapsody though in a different style.

...

It’s damn hard. It’s the hardest trad route I’ve onsighted by a chunk. [2]

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guVZd4_huSQ

[2] https://www.climber.co.uk/news/steve-mcclure-has-nightmayer-on-sight-on-dinas-cromlech/

Une Jeune Fille Quatre Vingt Dix Ans E8 Lead | flash May 2019
GreatNess Wall E10 Lead | worked 27th May 2019
First ascent.

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM70wIKPQps

2020 Fixation 8c+ Lead | worked Sep 2020
2021 The Final Round E9 Lead | worked 26th Apr 2021
Olympiad 8b Lead | worked May 2021
Second ascent.

First ascent on trad gear.

Later on, discussing with those on the ground, they all clearly noted three different and distinct stages in my climbing: the first part to the kneebar was shaky and nervous, pessimistic even. The second to the distant wire was focused, determined and streamlined. But the third was like engaging an unknown 6th gear! There was just no way I was falling off; that extra 6th gear only available with the prospect of hours of knackering aid climbing and the knowledge that the next available opportunity could be anywhere between a few months and a decade away! [1]

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2021/06/steve_mcclure_repeats_greshams_olympiad_e10_6c8b_dws-72791

[2] https://www.instagram.com/p/CPam7tEjlIR/

[3] https://www.instagram.com/p/CPbIX6kn1mq/

[4] https://www.instagram.com/p/CPaxCrfjNKf/

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMoXzSkXcaE

Impact Day E8 Lead | flash 19th Jun 2021
Always the Sun E7 Lead | onsight Aug 2021
Lexicon E11 Lead | worked 21st Sep 2021
Second ascent.

Before the successful ascent Steve took a huge fall [4] from the very top of the route, estimated to be around 20m!

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CUGKwg9I08O/

[2] https://www.instagram.com/p/CUKv0PloFU1/

[3] https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=391908775842548&set=a.229693922064035

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7_MFQfmGFg

2022
2023 Bullheart 8b+ Lead | worked 2023
Le Voyage E10 Lead | worked 23rd Mar 2023
Let The Tribe Increase 8a Lead | worked Oct 2023

Steve's 1000th route at 8a or harder, 28 years after his first. This was actually the second time he had climbed the route, but it had lost some holds since his previous ascent.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CzQkxToNpkh/

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph2vCWrTX-Q

[3] Summit issue 113, page 21.

Queimada 8b+ Lead | onsight Nov 2023

The same day as onsighting Budo.

https://www.instagram.com/p/C0LvWQEt79A/

Budo 8b Lead | onsight Nov 2023
2024 Mission Impossible E9 Lead | worked May 2024
Climb Grade Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Rainman 9b Lead | worked 4th Jun 2017 9b
First ascent. 127 sessions.

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!

6/11/2014

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.

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2017/06/steve_mcclure_on_rainman_9b-71135

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L01OUNJvd1E

[3] https://www.instagram.com/p/COtJSLNjJgK/

Mutation 9a+ Lead | worked 14th Oct 1998 9a
First ascent. 24 sessions.

A hugely impressive ascent for the time, and doubly so since it was only 3 years after Steve climbed his first 8th grade route (Zeke the Freak in October 1995). Steve suggested 9a but it is now considered 9a+ which makes it the first of the grade in the UK and the first of the grade by a British person.

It took Steve 24 sessions over 4 years to make the first ascent.

The first time I did that move from the ground, I did the route, but I only did the last move by the skin of my teeth. I'm pretty sure a gust of wind blew me up that last move...

Steve's diary [2]

Below are some extracts from Steve's diary while he was attempting the route.

7th October 1998, day 22:

Yet another failed day. Getting annoying now! Feel as though I should be doing better. Maybe I am getting a ‘head’ problem on ‘that’ move. Today I had 2 RP efforts, first go was the best, swinging over to the pinch but not getting the distance. 2nd go was rubbish. No psyche and hardly tried. Evo is feeling a path, but that cross is just a killer! Today I got Myles (Gibson) up there for a look, and with his fingers his opinion on moves is really important. He found it nails too, and no info change really (would have been nice if he found an easier way!). He reckoned 8b at least for the extension if not more, so it means the route could be overall 9a. That’s probably why I’m not getting up it!

10th October 1998, day 23:

THAT move FOUR times today! Excellent conditions. I’m wasting them! They will run out soon for sure. Not sure about the head problem except I expect to fail now. I set off knowing I’ll get to that move, and fall off that move. But I still think I’m trying hard enough, even on the move. Its just so momentum orientated. I need to have the movement pattern in my mind and not just try and static it. I’m sure it will go. Spent ages fiddling with the move and found perhaps a slightly easier way of swinging it, but only slightly, and probably not at all really. But that top section is still so hard. Today after each go I climbed the top section to keep it fresh. I could for sure drop that bit! Just need to keep plugging away.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CVDi_UjDMGG/

[2] Extracts from Steve's diary in the days leading up to making the first ascent http://steve-mcclure.com/articles/155-mutation-a-bunch-of-happy-days-at-the-tor

[3] Rupert Davies and Steve trying some moves and sequences on the route https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8yl9bytOuo

[4] https://www.instagram.com/p/CVx65_hIqBp/

[5] Steve on the route in 2001, photo by Simon Carter https://www.instagram.com/p/CWUR2kyMNMH/

Overshadow 9a+ Lead | worked 23rd May 2007
Northern Lights 9a Lead | worked 18th Jul 2000
First ascent. 15 sessions.

Steve cemented himself as the top sport climber in the UK, taking over from Moon and Moffatt and leading sport climbing in the UK in to a new era.

Notably, Steve used a different sequence from what Ben Moon was trying with the original line. Steve's sequence loops out slightly where Ben was trying to go very direct.

References

[1] On The Edge Issue 101

Rainshadow 9a Lead | worked 18th Jun 2003
Roofolution 9a Lead | worked Jun 2006
First ascent.
North Star 9a Lead | worked 15th May 2008
First ascent.

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVu7StN1qjo

Stevolution 9a Lead | worked 2009
First ascent.
Batman 9a Lead | worked 22nd May 2013 9a/9a+
First ascent.

On a previous redpoint Steve had all but done the route when a quickdraw with a sticky gate got jammed in his knot as he climbed past, stopping him mere inches from the finishing jugs and robbing him of the ascent.

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nldb3ZohDLo

Hubble 9a Lead | worked 30th Jul 2009 8c+ (hard)

Steve's 581st route at 8a or above. [3]

A real milestone, possibly my biggest achievement in climbing, even bigger perhaps than Overshadow. Hubble is special, it's a massive trophy and a world icon with a real history.

Steve on the successful ascent:

On the say I did Hubble I totally didn't expect to do it; I so didn't expect to do it that I didn't even have any quickdrawers in at the top! So hanging on a hold half way up I had to get someone to throw up some quickdraws. [4]

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2009/08/steve_mcclure_-_hubble_f8c+-48867

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0cq2CZe_40

[3] https://www.instagram.com/p/Czt-_eItyVN/

[4] https://open.spotify.com/episode/1YbEX5LbR0aS1h2oOnrxaf?rYxlKw

Kaa'bah 8c+ Lead | worked 2004
Cruz Diablo 8c+ Lead | worked 5th Nov 2010
First ascent.
Fixation 8c+ Lead | worked Sep 2020
Magnetic North 8c+ Lead | worked
First ascent.
Bat Shadow 8c+ Lead | worked
First ascent.

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_kQlRoUhXk

Evolution 8c+ Lead | worked 8th Nov 1996

References

[1] Footage of a much later ascent https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBxwQ--odXg.

The Bastard 8c+ Lead | worked Jun 2001
Second ascent.

Steve memorably described the route as like

driving out to Rubicon, slamming my fingers in the car door three times, then driving home. [2]

References

[1] https://www.climbing.de/news/steve-mcclure-repeats-the-bastard-8c-42510.html

[2] https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/rock_talk/the_chis_craggs_aid_route_called_free_that_you_btards-559294?v=1#x7449156

[3] https://www.instagram.com/p/Cy3qNVGhjYq/

[4] On The Edge Issue 109, page 12

Mecca Extension 8c Lead | worked Jul 1998
First ascent.
Dreadnaught 8c Lead | worked 1999
First ascent.
Hajj 8c Lead | worked Sep 2004
First ascent.
Rooster Crossing 8c Lead | worked Jun 2007
First ascent.
The Reign is Over 8c Lead | worked Apr 2018
First ascent.
Transform 8c Lead | worked 2000
Second ascent.

Steve and Malcolm Smith worked the route together then Steve made the second ascent a few days after Malc made the FA.

Somehow Super 8c Lead | worked Jun 2005
The Great Escape 8b+ Lead | worked 2010
First ascent.
Mecca - The Mid-life Crisis 8b+ Lead | worked 28th Sep 1996
Jehovakill 8b+ Lead | worked 30th Oct 1996
The Very Big and the Very Small 8b+ Lead | worked 1998
Poppy 8b+ Lead | worked 2000
To Bolt or Not to Be 8b+ Lead | worked 22nd Oct 2000
Indian Summer 8b+ Lead | onsight Aug 2002

With this ascent Steve became the first British climber to onsight 8b+.

Kalea Borroka 8b+ Lead | onsight 20th May 2009
Tom et je Ris 8b+ Lead | onsight 12th Jul 2013
Taka Okame 8b+ Lead | worked 2016
Bullheart 8b+ Lead | worked 2023
Queimada 8b+ Lead | onsight Nov 2023

The same day as onsighting Budo.

https://www.instagram.com/p/C0LvWQEt79A/

Dr Crimp 8b+ Lead | onsight
Monsterosity 8b Lead | worked 1999
First ascent.
Brean Topping 8b Lead | worked 2002 8a+
First ascent.
Zeke the Freak 8b Lead | worked 1st Oct 1995
La Fiesta de los Metallos 8b Alternate Leads | worked 2018
Budo 8b Lead | onsight Nov 2023
Idefix 8b Lead | onsight
Les Chacals 8b Lead | onsight

References

[1] On The Edge 118, page 10

Lord of the Rings 8b Lead | worked
Austrian Oak 8b Lead | flash
Kali Yuga 8b Lead | onsight
Victor Hugo 8b Lead | onsight
Mandela 8a+ Lead | flash 2002

It's one of those routes that're much easier to flash than on-sight. If you didn't know a key piece of information you wouldn't know where to go - knowing what to do it felt more like 8a+. [1]

References

[1] On The Edge 122, page 14.

Raindogs 8a Lead | worked Oct 1998

The first of many ascents, as Steve went on to add routes such as Rainshadow and Rainman which extend Raindogs.

Let The Tribe Increase 8a Lead | worked Oct 2023

Steve's 1000th route at 8a or harder, 28 years after his first. This was actually the second time he had climbed the route, but it had lost some holds since his previous ascent.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CzQkxToNpkh/

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph2vCWrTX-Q

[3] Summit issue 113, page 21.

Liqueur de Coco 7c+ Lead | worked
Climb Grade Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Fat Lip 8B Boulder | worked 2007
First ascent.
Close of Business 8B Boulder | worked 1st Sep 2003
Climb Grade Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Rhapsody E11 Lead | worked 15th Jun 2008
Lexicon E11 Lead | worked 21st Sep 2021
Second ascent.

Before the successful ascent Steve took a huge fall [4] from the very top of the route, estimated to be around 20m!

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CUGKwg9I08O/

[2] https://www.instagram.com/p/CUKv0PloFU1/

[3] https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=391908775842548&set=a.229693922064035

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7_MFQfmGFg

GreatNess Wall E10 Lead | worked 27th May 2019
First ascent.

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM70wIKPQps

Choronzon E10 Lead | worked 12th Jul 2015
Le Voyage E10 Lead | worked 23rd Mar 2023
Muy Caliente! E9 Lead | worked Jul 2015
The Final Round E9 Lead | worked 26th Apr 2021
Mission Impossible E9 Lead | worked May 2024
Elder Statesman E8 Lead | worked 2nd Mar 2004
First ascent.

Steve used 3 ropes on the first ascent. This turned out to be a very wise choice!

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDTAKVUE_g4

The Quarryman E8 Lead | worked 27th May 2011

Likely the first one-day ascent of the full line.

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2011/05/steve_mcclure_repeats_the_quarryman_e8-62420

Dawes Rides a Shovelhead E8 Lead | onsight Aug 2011
Nightmayer E8 Lead | onsight 2019

After the event you quickly forget, but I really had to give it everything, and only just got it. I’ve seen people say ‘its 8a so for Steve it should be ‘piss’, well, it doesn’t work like that! 8a is really hard. 7b is hard! An Olympic level 100m sprinter who can manage 9 seconds doesn’t just stroll along in 9.5 seconds! I’d say this was one of the hardest pieces of climbing I’ve ever done. It’s up there with Rainman, Overshadow and Rhapsody though in a different style.

...

It’s damn hard. It’s the hardest trad route I’ve onsighted by a chunk. [2]

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guVZd4_huSQ

[2] https://www.climber.co.uk/news/steve-mcclure-has-nightmayer-on-sight-on-dinas-cromlech/

Une Jeune Fille Quatre Vingt Dix Ans E8 Lead | flash May 2019
Impact Day E8 Lead | flash 19th Jun 2021
Top Loader E7 Lead | flash 2000
Strawberries E7 Lead | onsight Jun 2014
Always the Sun E7 Lead | onsight Aug 2021
Eye of the Tiger E7 Lead | onsight
Climb Grade Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Finest Pedigree 9a+ Boulder | worked 8th Jul 2010
Pedigree Chum 8c+ Boulder | worked 2010
Ring of Fire 8b+ Deep Water Solo | ground up 2004
First ascent.
Olympiad 8b Lead | worked May 2021 E10
Second ascent.

First ascent on trad gear.

Later on, discussing with those on the ground, they all clearly noted three different and distinct stages in my climbing: the first part to the kneebar was shaky and nervous, pessimistic even. The second to the distant wire was focused, determined and streamlined. But the third was like engaging an unknown 6th gear! There was just no way I was falling off; that extra 6th gear only available with the prospect of hours of knackering aid climbing and the knowledge that the next available opportunity could be anywhere between a few months and a decade away! [1]

References

[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2021/06/steve_mcclure_repeats_greshams_olympiad_e10_6c8b_dws-72791

[2] https://www.instagram.com/p/CPam7tEjlIR/

[3] https://www.instagram.com/p/CPbIX6kn1mq/

[4] https://www.instagram.com/p/CPaxCrfjNKf/

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMoXzSkXcaE