Climbers

Climber Name # Ascents Recorded Notes
Adam Ondra 156

Adam Ondra is widely considered to be the best rock climber in the world.

He has established or repeated many of the worlds 9bs, put up the first 9b+ with Change and the first 9c with Silence. He's onsighted multiple 9as and became the first person to flash 9a+ when he climbed Super Crackinette on his first try. He is also an extremely strong boulderer with multiple ascents of boulders up to 8C+.

While his hardest ascents are notable what sets Adam apart from his contemporaries is his depth of experience. At the time of writing he has onsighted 64 8cs, 21 8c+s, 3 9as and climbed 188 routes graded 9a or harder. He has also won the world cup 7 times and the world championships 5 times.

References

[1] Adam's logbook https://www.adamondra.com/list-of-routes

[2] Interview with Magnus Midtbø, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-5yuVuDFzU

[3] Profile in the New York Times, 2021 https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/sports/olympics/adam-ondra-climbing.html

Will Bosi 95

One of the new generation of British climbers who has come up through the comp scene and applied his talents to the rock. He was the second British person to climb a 9b sport route (after Steve McClure) with his ascents of La Capella and King Capella. He also made early repeats of 3 9A boulder problems: Alphane in 2022, Burden of Dreams in 2023 and Return of the Sleepwalker in 2024.

References

[1] My Climbing Journey April 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmmMbpCsSuA

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn1dJNPfAfc

Daniel Woods 81

References

[1] Interview with 8a.nu, 4th February 2022 https://www.8a.nu/news/daniel-woods-8c+-9a-and-9a+-progress-interview

Dave MacLeod 79

Scottish lone wolf who has performed at a very high level across many disciplines. Dave has established or repeated almost all the hard climbing in Scotland, from 8B+ boulder problems to grade XI winter routes.

References

[1] https://twitter.com/davemacleod09

[2] Features in Cutting Loose.

Dave Graham 77

Dave Graham is an American boulderer and sport climber who is known for his extremely technical climbing style that makes a lot of use of toe hooks and knee bars, as well as his longevity in the sport and his extensive collection of first ascents.

Graham started climbing in 1997 and very quickly worked his way through the grades, climbing his first 8b+ sport route just a year later.

Some of his notable ascents include The Story of Two Worlds (fa), Action Directe (fourth ascent), From Dirt Grows the Flowers (fa), The Island (fa) and The Ice Knife (fa).

References

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2bZsFZdpgs

[2] Interview with PlanetMoutnain.com, 2001 https://www.planetmountain.com/en/news/interviews/dave-graham.html

[3] https://www.climbing.com/people/what-ive-learned-dave-graham/

Jerry Moffatt 76

Jerry Moffatt was at the forefront of british climbing form the early eighties to mid-nineties. Along with Ben Moon Jerry established many hard firsts in the UK, Germany, France and USA including historic ascents such as The Face, Revelations and Liquid Ambar, all at the cutting edge of difficulty at the time they were established.

Jerry was an early proponent of bouldering in it's own right. From early ascents on The Bowderstone he went on to put up a host of hard classics such as The Ace at Stanage and Dominator in Yosemite.

References

[1] The Real Thing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brbxoKEgsw0

[2] Stone Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FguueX9jM78

[3] 80's Birth of Extreme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jkj3Buhfi2k

[4] Statement of Youth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeqI9axxrco

[5] Portrait by Chris Gore https://www.facebook.com/climbing.in.the.80s/photos/a.270388289694020/3456311291101688

[6] https://www.facebook.com/climbing.in.the.80s/photos/a.270388289694020/2732067140192777

[7] https://www.facebook.com/climbing.in.the.80s/photos/a.270388289694020/876401569092686

[8] https://www.facebook.com/rockarchivist/photos/a.115405983249621/121210252669194

[9] One Summer by Ben Pritchard, 1994 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnGf69g6Igc

[10] Interview with Wedge Climbing, 2022 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBmqm3VTrn4

[11] Photoshoot for DMM 1995 https://www.instagram.com/p/Cu8uyrStQ6I/

Aidan Roberts 73

Aidan Roberts is a climber from the UK. He grew up in the lake district and was mentored by the prolific developer Dan Varian.

Although he started out doing competitions Aidan has more recently moved on to establishing and repeating some of the hardest boulder problems both in the UK and abroad. His problem Superpowers in the Lake District is widely considered the UK's first 8C+. As well as being the first brit to climb 8C+ he was also the first to climb 9A with his repeat of Shawn Raboutou's Alphane in Chironico.

As well as these highlights Aidan has also repeated or established a raft of problems in the 8B to 8C range, making particularly quick work of classic test-pieces such as Oliphant's Dawn and Jade.

References

[1] https://www.thebmc.co.uk/aidan-roberts-interview

[2] Interview with Simon Lee for UKBouldering.com, October 2016 https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,27531.msg535750.html#msg535750

Steve McClure 73

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

Alex Megos 71

Alex Megos grew up in the Frankenjura area Germany and specialises in sport climbing and bouldering. He's famed for very fast ascents of hard testpieces as well as establishing some of the hardest sport routes in the world.

Alex was the first person in the world to onsight 9a with his ascent of Estado Crítico in Siurana.

Sources

[1] Interview with RockClimbingUK

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Megos

James Pearson 68

James pearson is an all round climber from the peak district in the UK.

Growing up, James established himself with fast repeats of many hard and scary gritstone routes such as Equilibrium, at the time one of the hardest gritstone routes around, as well as putting up hard routes of his own such as The Promise at Burbage North.

As well as climbing hard trad James also repeated many hard boulder problems. Most notably in 2007 he flashed three problems in the 8A+/B range Ganymede Takeover, The Great Shark Hunt and Schule des Lebens. At the time each of these was considered 8B which would make these ascents some of the hardest flashes in the world at the time though these problems have subsequently been downgraded.

In 2008 James courted controversy when he established The Walk of Life at Dyers Lookout and gave it the unprecedented grade of E12, suggesting it was harder than any other route in the UK at the time. The route is now considered E9, and on reflection James has admitted the route was not in his style which is why it felt as hard as it did for him.

After the controversy around The Walk of Life James moved to Europe and spent a lot of time becoming a more well rounded climber. Around the same time he met his now-wife Caroline Ciavaldini. Putting his training to good use James has now repeated and established a slew of hard sport and trad routes around the world. Notable ascents include many hard onsight and flashes in Pembroke in South Wales, a repeat of Dave MacLeod's Rhapsody at Dumbarton Rock, Jacopo Larcher's Tribe and the first ascent of Le Voyage.

References

[1] Interview with Tom Randall

[2] Interview with PlanetMountain, 2008 https://www.planetmountain.com/en/news/climbing/james-pearson-climbing-interview.html

Chris Sharma 60

Chris Sharma started climbing in the 1990s aged 12 before winning the US national championships 2 years later. He went on to reinvigorate hard sport climbing in the US, quickly repeating many of the hardest lines before establishing his own hard routes such as Necessary Evil in 1997, the first 8c+/14c in the USA.

Through the rest of his career he took sport climbing in to the modern era by cementing the 9a+ and 9b grades with a string of cutting edge ascents throughout Europe and the America.

More recently Chris has applied his skills to deep water soloing establishing routes such as Es Pontas and Alasha, some of the hardest DWS lines in the world.

References

[1] Interview with Jack Geldard for UKClimbing.com, 29th August 2012 https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/chris_sharma_talks_9b+-4894

[2] Rampage by Josh Lowell and Brett Lowell, 1999 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqe_w2JTlKM

[3] Best of the West, 2005 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6VZzVPnlVA

[4] Interview with Alex Honnold on Climbing Gold, 2nd April 2021 https://www.climbinggold.com/episodes/chapter-03

Jimmy Webb 59

Jimmy Webb is a prolific American boulderer known for opening up a large number of hard boulders all around the world, but particularly in Switzerland, Rocklands and the USA.

Dan Varian 56

Dan Varian is a British boulderer and prolific developer, particularly around Northumberland and the north of England more generally. Dan is also part owner of Beastmaker.

References

[1] https://www.flickr.com/photos/beastmaker/

[2] http://beastmakerblog.blogspot.com

Ben Moon 52

Ben pushed the cutting edge of sport climbing in the 1980s and 1990s as well as establishing hard boulder problems in the early 2000s. He made many notable ascents in the UK including Statement of Youth at Lower Pen Trwyn, one of the earliest examples of a pure sport route in the UK (previously many routes were climbed in a sport style but relied on old aid gear. Ben equipped Statement with bolts specifically to free climb it).

1980s

Ben established or repeated many of the hardest sport routes in the world at the time, most notably in the UK and the France. Agincourt at Buoux, first climbed by Ben in 1989, was one of the hardest lines in the world at the time and still has a fierce reputation featuring extremely hard moves on tiny pockets.

1990s

in 1990 Ben established Hubble at Raven Tor, at the time the first 8c+ in the world but now considered to be 9a.

Around 1995 he put considerable effort in to what would become Northern Lights at Kilnsey but despite an extended campaign couldn't get it done. This marked a bit of a turning point where he started to focus more on bouldering.

2000s

In 2005 he established Voyager an 8B boulder in the Peak DIstrict, then almost exactly a year later Ben succeeded in climbing the low start Voyager SDS to give the peak district one of it's hardest problems to date and an enduring testpiece that took 9 years before seeing a second ascent.

Ben continues to climb hard. In 2015 he climbed Rainshadow for his second 9a, 25 years after making the first ascent of Hubble.

References

[1] Interview with Simon Lee, September 2013 https://vimeo.com/75374593

[2] Training in the cellar with Jerry Moffatt, 1989 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LceV005nte0

[3] The Real Thing

[4] Stone Love, 2001 film by Ben Pritchard https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FguueX9jM78

[5] 80's Birth of Extreme by Al Hughes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jkj3Buhfi2k

[6] Statement of Youth, 2019 Film by UKClimbing and Nick Brown https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeqI9axxrco.

[7] https://www.facebook.com/climbing.in.the.80s/photos/a.270388289694020/942618999137609

[8] https://www.facebook.com/climbing.in.the.80s/photos/a.270388289694020/876401569092686

[9] One Summer by Ben Pritchard, 1994 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnGf69g6Igc

[10] A Sport Climbing Pioneer: The Story Of Ben Moon, Interview with Matt Groom, 2023 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfyU4KHvioM

Johnny Dawes 50

Johnny Dawes is very influential in British climbing, particularly in the 1980s and particularly in the Peak District and North Wales. Alongside contemporaries such as Jerry Moffatt and Ben Moon he helped take over the mantel from the likes of Ron Fawcett and pushed the standards in trad climbing to new levels, culminating in his ascent of Indian Face on Clogwyn Du'r Arddu (Cloggy).

Whilst Johnny's trad climbing was cutting edge he did not embrace sport climbing in the way that many did in the early 90s, though he did still climb up to 8b+, a very respectable level for the time.

References

[1] Interview with Niall Grimes and Nick Dixon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gfAxYENlmU

[2] Features in 80's Birth of Extreme

[3] Interview for the film Stone Monkey, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdeaV_vfp5Q

James McHaffie 49

James McHaffie is a prolific North Wales based trad climber who's also a very capable sport climber. He is one of the best trad onsight climbers in the UK (and potentially the world) with over a hundred E7 onsights to his name. He's also completed some impressive challenges, such as the 100 lakes extremes in a day.

On the 26th May 2021 James climbed Revelations at Raven Tor, the last route of 180 on his way to ticking every route in the book Extreme Rock. This incredible effort demonstrates a huge breadth and depth of experience, from relatively pedestrian climbs such as The Strand at Gogarth (North Stack And Main Cliff) to bold and intimidating leads such as Johnny Dawes' Indian Face and Jerry Moffatt's Master's Wall.

References

[1] Interview with DMM, September 2021 https://dmmwales.com/journal/may-2021/mchaffie-completes-extreme-rock

[2] Interview with RockClimbingUK, 2011 https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php?topic=23709.0

[3] Interview with March Langley for UKClimbing.com, September 2020 https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/james_mchaffie_-_the_cumbrian-13045

Ron Fawcett 47

Ron Fawcett was at the top of the UK climbing scene in the mid 70s and early 80s and one of the first professional climbers in the UK. He took up the mantel from climbers such as Pete Livesey and helped cement the E5 and E6 grade in the UK. He also put up some of the early hard sport routes in the UK with lines such as Sardine, Body Machine and The Prow at Raven Tor.

Ron famously climbed 100 extremes (i.e. routes graded E1 or harder on the British Trad grading scale) in a day in 1986 starting at Froggatt then going on to Stanage, Burbage and finishing at Curbar. This feat is even more impressive when you consider that Ron was not just picking the easiest routes available: Downhill Racer (E4), Heartless Hare (E5) and Ulysses or Bust (E5) feature among the hard routes that he climbed. See [3] for a full list.

References

[1] Rock Athlete, by Sid Perou https://youtu.be/tdRfqD125-g?t=1522

[2] Interview with Andy Pollitt https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/andy_pollitt+big_ron_fawcett-9483.

[3] Ticklist of Ron's 100 extremes in a day https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/set.php?id=548

[4] https://www.facebook.com/climbing.in.the.80s/photos/a.270388289694020/282305001835682

Sébastien Bouin 46

Sébastien Bouin is a sport climber from the south of France. While being an exceptionally good all round climber, he is known for his extreme endurance climbing and establishing many hard first ascents. For example, his route Nordic Marathon in Flatanger takes in over 130m while climbing the out of the cave.

Alex Barrows 44

Alex Barrows is a British sport climber and boulderer. He specialises in onsighting and longer, endurance style routes.

References

[1] https://vimeo.com/user11693449

Drew Ruana 42

Alongside other goals, Drew is trying to tick every problem 8B+ or harder in Colorado.

References

[1] AMA on reddit.com/r/climbharder, January 2023 https://www.reddit.com/r/climbharder/comments/100qfg5/pro_rock_climber_drew_ruana_ama/

[2] AMA on reddit.com/r/climbharder, June 2023 https://www.reddit.com/r/climbharder/comments/14bxa21/drew_ruana_ama_round_2/

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