Franco Cookson


Quick Info

Nationality: GB
Hardest Boulder (Worked): 8A
Hardest Sport (Worked): 9a
Hardest Trad (Worked): E11
Social Media

Quick Info

Nationality: GB
Hardest Boulder (Worked): 8A
Hardest Sport (Worked): 9a
Hardest Trad (Worked): E11
Social Media

Podcasts


Pics + Vids

The Magic Scoop (E8, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 06:10 on 07 October 2021
The Aghori (E9, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 05:10 on 11 October 2021
Divine Moments of Truth (E9, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 05:10 on 19 October 2021
Hold Fast, Hold True (E10)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 13:03 on 30 March 2022
The Meltdown Extension (9a, FA)
Added at 22:04 on 21 April 2022
The Meltdown Extension (9a, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 17:04 on 04 April 2022
Boulby Wall (E8, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 10:09 on 24 September 2021
The Holy Grail (E8, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 08:11 on 06 November 2021
Nothing Lasts (E11, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 12:09 on 23 September 2021
Dolphin Wall (E8, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 07:09 on 25 September 2021
The Moose (E8, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 06:09 on 28 September 2021
Fly Agaric (E8, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 06:09 on 28 September 2021
Fly Agaric (E8, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 07:10 on 24 October 2021
Psykovsky's Sequins (E9, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 17:09 on 29 September 2021
Immortal (E11, FA)
Added at 12:11 on 11 November 2021
Immortal (E11, FA)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 17:12 on 23 December 2021
The Prow (8A)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 17:02 on 05 February 2022
The Prow (8A)
Added at 20:02 on 05 February 2022
Academia (E8)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 13:10 on 30 October 2021
The Meltdown (9a)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 12:03 on 07 March 2022
The Meltdown (9a)
View this post on Instagram

Added at 22:03 on 06 March 2022

Ascents

18 recorded ascents.

Year Climb Grade FA Ascent Date
2010 The Moose E8 (Lead) 10th April 2010

It was in this ridiculous climate that I stumbled across this really cool arete. It looked really hard, but for me really hard was E5, so I decided it must be E5. The obvious thing to do was for me and Dave to have a go at leading it... We gradually got higher and higher up the arete. The only gear we had was a cam on the lower wall, which held just long enough to pull us in away from to drop, but always popped just afterwards. As a result we kept taking these stupid groundfalls, where we'd just be pulled in away from the really big drop and cave, but would always land in a load of brambles. Thankfully Dave decided to abseil the line and persuaded me to stop trying it from the ground. We hadn't even got to the crux. I'd have never done it ground up and it took me a good few months to do it even after working it. [1]

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CUWsH1GDiyA/

2011
2012
2013 Psykovsky's Sequins E9 (Solo) 1st August 2013

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUZOChbjeG7/

2014 Fly Agaric E8 (Lead) 13th April 2014

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUUW7iPjzoz/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CVZjfK1j5ii/

2015 Divine Moments of Truth E9 (Lead) 30th May 2015

https://www.instagram.com/p/CVMmK4bDNAt/

2016 MYXOMOP E9 (Lead) 10th April 2016
2017 Boulby Wall E8 (Lead) 5th March 2017

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUMhNsMj9ks/

Nothing Lasts E11 (Lead) 9th April 2017

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUKYdq6j3Tk/

https://www.facebook.com/watch?v=2957944451124430

The Aghori E9 (Lead) 29th August 2017

https://www.instagram.com/p/CU4D8jwj7JS/

The Magic Scoop E8 (Solo) 11th November 2017

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

2018 Academia E8 (Lead) 15th August 2018

https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2018/08/academia_e10_repeated_by_franco_cookson-71676

https://www.instagram.com/p/CVpfhgto68G/

Dolphin Wall E8 (Lead) 16th September 2018

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUO_Xhmjrl-/

2019
2020
2021 The Holy Grail E8 (Solo) 1st January 2021 (approx)

https://www.instagram.com/p/CV7UZU9N2eo/

Immortal E11 (Lead) 17th April 2021

Featured in the Brit Rock film tour 2021 http://www.britrockfilmtour.com/.

The new line at Maiden's Bluff and the North York Moors' new hardest route. It's a fabulously aggressive micro route, with the difficulties being fairly short lived, all hinging on a handful of desperate micro crimps, super sketchy feet, exact body position, as well as timing for the lateral lunge. The penalty for failure is a fall onto some rubbish skyhooks on soft sandstone, with a large drop below. Right up to the point of commitment, I had no idea whether I'd summon up the required cocktail of courage and madness to actually go into the one-way tunnel. It was one of those life-defining moments. [1]

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CX0zC6YNuAv/

[2] https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=420964812936944&set=a.229693922064035

[3] https://francocookson.wordpress.com/2021/12/23/the-immortal/

2022 The Prow 8A (Boulder) 4th February 2022

Unlike with the Young, which was a ground up 'in the first degree' (ie no ab), I cheated a bit on this one and went for the ab inspection, as the right wall needed a proper clean and I couldn't be bothered trying to get someone else to clean it (they always clean the wrong bits 😂). I'm glad I did, as it made the top moves more enjoyable and, as I also hadn't watched a video of anyone else doing it for ages, I inadvertently found a better sequence for me, taking the crux hold with my left, rather than right, avoiding some of the overhang and getting to use a load of monos! Happy days! 😁😁😁 Unfortunately the sequence I'd spied on ab didn't work as a foothold broke as soon as I tried it. But with a bit more creativity, one failed attempt at a jump, and some extreme human pyramid brushing, some new beta was found.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CZly0-styzY/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeN-7D4Se4I

The Meltdown 9a (Lead) 5th March 2022

Unusually, you've skipped all grade 8 climbs and gone straight to 9a – which is almost certainly a first for anyone. How did this come about?

I suppose this is largely because I almost exclusively climb self-belaying, so get a lot of practice in on new routes with hard sequences, but spend relatively little time actually sport climbing. I have actually been on some sport climbing trips in the past and have climbed on Yorkshire limestone a few times, but basically I've either been just onsighting (and failing to onsight 8a), getting shut down on Yorkshire limestone, or getting very close to harder projects that I never finished off. [3]

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/Caxvc0ftguv/

[2] A clip from a previous attempt https://www.instagram.com/p/BwZTC64jYfY/

[3] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2022/03/the_meltdown_9a_by_franco_cookson-73004

Hold Fast, Hold True E10 (Lead) 29th March 2022

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CbumMLUDlhC/

https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2022/04/hold_fast_hold_true_e10_7a_by_franco_cookson-73029

The Meltdown Extension 9a (Lead) 1st April 2022 (approx)

https://www.instagram.com/p/Cb7sidmDpDl/

The Sandman E10 (Lead) 8th April 2022

https://www.instagram.com/p/CcH0-MrDiO5/

Climb Grade FA Ascent Date Suggested Grade
The Meltdown Extension 9a (Lead) 1st April 2022 (approx)

https://www.instagram.com/p/Cb7sidmDpDl/

The Meltdown 9a (Lead) 5th March 2022

Unusually, you've skipped all grade 8 climbs and gone straight to 9a – which is almost certainly a first for anyone. How did this come about?

I suppose this is largely because I almost exclusively climb self-belaying, so get a lot of practice in on new routes with hard sequences, but spend relatively little time actually sport climbing. I have actually been on some sport climbing trips in the past and have climbed on Yorkshire limestone a few times, but basically I've either been just onsighting (and failing to onsight 8a), getting shut down on Yorkshire limestone, or getting very close to harder projects that I never finished off. [3]

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/Caxvc0ftguv/

[2] A clip from a previous attempt https://www.instagram.com/p/BwZTC64jYfY/

[3] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2022/03/the_meltdown_9a_by_franco_cookson-73004

Climb Grade FA Ascent Date Suggested Grade
The Prow 8A (Boulder) 4th February 2022

Unlike with the Young, which was a ground up 'in the first degree' (ie no ab), I cheated a bit on this one and went for the ab inspection, as the right wall needed a proper clean and I couldn't be bothered trying to get someone else to clean it (they always clean the wrong bits 😂). I'm glad I did, as it made the top moves more enjoyable and, as I also hadn't watched a video of anyone else doing it for ages, I inadvertently found a better sequence for me, taking the crux hold with my left, rather than right, avoiding some of the overhang and getting to use a load of monos! Happy days! 😁😁😁 Unfortunately the sequence I'd spied on ab didn't work as a foothold broke as soon as I tried it. But with a bit more creativity, one failed attempt at a jump, and some extreme human pyramid brushing, some new beta was found.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CZly0-styzY/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeN-7D4Se4I

Climb Grade FA Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Nothing Lasts E11 (Lead) 9th April 2017

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUKYdq6j3Tk/

https://www.facebook.com/watch?v=2957944451124430

Immortal E11 (Lead) 17th April 2021

Featured in the Brit Rock film tour 2021 http://www.britrockfilmtour.com/.

The new line at Maiden's Bluff and the North York Moors' new hardest route. It's a fabulously aggressive micro route, with the difficulties being fairly short lived, all hinging on a handful of desperate micro crimps, super sketchy feet, exact body position, as well as timing for the lateral lunge. The penalty for failure is a fall onto some rubbish skyhooks on soft sandstone, with a large drop below. Right up to the point of commitment, I had no idea whether I'd summon up the required cocktail of courage and madness to actually go into the one-way tunnel. It was one of those life-defining moments. [1]

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CX0zC6YNuAv/

[2] https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=420964812936944&set=a.229693922064035

[3] https://francocookson.wordpress.com/2021/12/23/the-immortal/

The Sandman E10 (Lead) 8th April 2022

https://www.instagram.com/p/CcH0-MrDiO5/

Hold Fast, Hold True E10 (Lead) 29th March 2022

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CbumMLUDlhC/

https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2022/04/hold_fast_hold_true_e10_7a_by_franco_cookson-73029

Psykovsky's Sequins E9 (Solo) 1st August 2013 E10

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUZOChbjeG7/

Divine Moments of Truth E9 (Lead) 30th May 2015

https://www.instagram.com/p/CVMmK4bDNAt/

MYXOMOP E9 (Lead) 10th April 2016
The Aghori E9 (Lead) 29th August 2017

https://www.instagram.com/p/CU4D8jwj7JS/

The Moose E8 (Lead) 10th April 2010

It was in this ridiculous climate that I stumbled across this really cool arete. It looked really hard, but for me really hard was E5, so I decided it must be E5. The obvious thing to do was for me and Dave to have a go at leading it... We gradually got higher and higher up the arete. The only gear we had was a cam on the lower wall, which held just long enough to pull us in away from to drop, but always popped just afterwards. As a result we kept taking these stupid groundfalls, where we'd just be pulled in away from the really big drop and cave, but would always land in a load of brambles. Thankfully Dave decided to abseil the line and persuaded me to stop trying it from the ground. We hadn't even got to the crux. I'd have never done it ground up and it took me a good few months to do it even after working it. [1]

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CUWsH1GDiyA/

Fly Agaric E8 (Lead) 13th April 2014

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUUW7iPjzoz/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CVZjfK1j5ii/

Boulby Wall E8 (Lead) 5th March 2017

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUMhNsMj9ks/

The Magic Scoop E8 (Solo) 11th November 2017

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

Dolphin Wall E8 (Lead) 16th September 2018

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUO_Xhmjrl-/

The Holy Grail E8 (Solo) 1st January 2021 (approx)

https://www.instagram.com/p/CV7UZU9N2eo/

Academia E8 (Lead) 15th August 2018 E8

https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2018/08/academia_e10_repeated_by_franco_cookson-71676

https://www.instagram.com/p/CVpfhgto68G/

Climb Grade FA Ascent Date Suggested Grade