Franco Cookson


Quick Info

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

Contributors: remus

Quick Info

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

Lists


Podcasts


Pics + Vids

The Dewin Stone (9a+, FA)
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Added at 16:10 on 26 October 2023
The Dewin Stone (9a+, FA)
Added at 19:10 on 30 October 2023
Immortal (E11, FA)
Added at 09:02 on 03 February 2024
Immortal (E11, FA)
Added at 10:03 on 26 March 2023
Academia (E8)
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Added at 13:10 on 30 October 2021
The Holy Grail (E8, FA)
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Added at 08:11 on 06 November 2021
The Magic Scoop (E8, FA)
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Added at 06:10 on 07 October 2021
Immortal (E11, FA)
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Added at 17:12 on 23 December 2021
The Aghori (E9, FA)
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Added at 05:10 on 11 October 2021
Nothing Lasts (E11, FA)
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Added at 12:09 on 23 September 2021
Boulby Wall (E8, FA)
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Added at 10:09 on 24 September 2021
Dolphin Wall (E8, FA)
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Added at 07:09 on 25 September 2021
The Moose (E8, FA)
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Added at 06:09 on 28 September 2021
Fly Agaric (E8, FA)
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Added at 06:09 on 28 September 2021
Divine Moments of Truth (E9, FA)
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Added at 05:10 on 19 October 2021
Fly Agaric (E8, FA)
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Added at 07:10 on 24 October 2021
Psykovsky's Sequins (E9, FA)
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Added at 17:09 on 29 September 2021
Immortal (E11, FA)
Added at 12:11 on 11 November 2021
The Prow (8A)
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Added at 17:02 on 05 February 2022
The Prow (8A)
Added at 20:02 on 05 February 2022
The Meltdown (9a)
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Added at 22:03 on 06 March 2022
The Meltdown (9a)
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Added at 12:03 on 07 March 2022
Hold Fast, Hold True (E10)
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Added at 13:03 on 30 March 2022
The Meltdown Direct (9a+, FA)
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Added at 17:04 on 04 April 2022
The Meltdown Direct (9a+, FA)
Added at 22:04 on 21 April 2022
Hold Fast, Hold True (E10)
Added at 10:03 on 24 March 2023
The Sandman (E10, FA)
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Added at 17:04 on 09 April 2022

Ascents

19 recorded ascents.

Year Climb Grade Style Ascent Date
2010 The Moose E8 Lead | worked 10th Apr 2010
First ascent.

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 | worked 1st Aug 2013
2014 Fly Agaric E8 Lead | worked 13th Apr 2014
2015 Divine Moments of Truth E9 Lead | worked 30th May 2015
2016 MYXOMOP E9 Lead | worked 10th Apr 2016
First ascent.
2017 Boulby Wall E8 Lead | worked 5th Mar 2017
Nothing Lasts E11 Lead | worked 9th Apr 2017
The Aghori E9 Lead | worked 29th Aug 2017
First ascent.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CU4D8jwj7JS/

The Magic Scoop E8 Solo | worked 11th Nov 2017
2018 Academia E8 Lead | worked 15th Aug 2018
Dolphin Wall E8 Lead | worked 16th Sep 2018
2019
2020
2021 The Holy Grail E8 Solo | worked 2021
Immortal E11 Lead | worked 17th Apr 2021
First ascent.

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]

References

[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/

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9JkT0MiuM0

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKDw0EoBPMU

2022 The Prow 8A Boulder | worked 4th Feb 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.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CZly0-styzY/

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

The Meltdown 9a Lead | worked 5th Mar 2022
Third ascent.

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 | worked 29th Mar 2022
The Meltdown Direct 9a+ Lead | worked Apr 2022
The Sandman E10 Lead | worked 8th Apr 2022
2023 The Dewin Stone 9a+ Lead | worked 26th Oct 2023
First ascent.

Unusually, Franco used a knotted rope to protect the lower section of the route (before it joins The Meltdown) as he didn't want to place any bolts.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/Cy3dUaztBFm/

[2] Interview with Rob Greenwood, October 2023 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkWSzo61Lwk

[3] https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,33764.msg684096.html#msg684096

Climb Grade Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
The Meltdown Direct 9a+ Lead | worked Apr 2022
The Dewin Stone 9a+ Lead | worked 26th Oct 2023
First ascent.

Unusually, Franco used a knotted rope to protect the lower section of the route (before it joins The Meltdown) as he didn't want to place any bolts.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/Cy3dUaztBFm/

[2] Interview with Rob Greenwood, October 2023 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkWSzo61Lwk

[3] https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,33764.msg684096.html#msg684096

The Meltdown 9a Lead | worked 5th Mar 2022
Third ascent.

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 Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
The Prow 8A Boulder | worked 4th Feb 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.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CZly0-styzY/

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

Climb Grade Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade
Nothing Lasts E11 Lead | worked 9th Apr 2017
Immortal E11 Lead | worked 17th Apr 2021
First ascent.

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]

References

[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/

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9JkT0MiuM0

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKDw0EoBPMU

The Sandman E10 Lead | worked 8th Apr 2022
Hold Fast, Hold True E10 Lead | worked 29th Mar 2022
Psykovsky's Sequins E9 Solo | worked 1st Aug 2013 E10
Divine Moments of Truth E9 Lead | worked 30th May 2015
MYXOMOP E9 Lead | worked 10th Apr 2016
First ascent.
The Aghori E9 Lead | worked 29th Aug 2017
First ascent.

References

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CU4D8jwj7JS/

The Moose E8 Lead | worked 10th Apr 2010
First ascent.

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 | worked 13th Apr 2014
Boulby Wall E8 Lead | worked 5th Mar 2017
The Magic Scoop E8 Solo | worked 11th Nov 2017
Dolphin Wall E8 Lead | worked 16th Sep 2018
The Holy Grail E8 Solo | worked 2021
Academia E8 Lead | worked 15th Aug 2018 E8
Climb Grade Style Ascent Date Suggested Grade