Hard Flash or Onsight Ascents by British Climbers

A list of hard flash or onsight ascents by British men and women. Focus is on ascents in the UK, but not exclusively so.

Got any corrections? Send them to corrections@climbing-history.org

63 entries on the list.

Climber Climb Grade Ascent Date Notes
1 Simon Nadin The Groove 8a+ 1990

One of the first 8a+ onsights in the UK.

2 Ben Moon Menopausal Discharge 8a+ 1990s

Early 1990s.


[1] Llanberis Slate. United Kingdom: Ground Up, 2011.

3 Simon Nadin Urgent Action 8a+ 30th Jun 1990

One of the first 8a+ onsights in the UK.


[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/dbpage.php?id=137438

4 Nic Sellars Nemesis 8a+ Between 10th Jul 1994 and 1st Jan 1995

Later that year [1994] Sharples was seen picking his jaw up off the floor, having just watched Nick Sellers [sic] flash his route. [1]

Ted Kingsnorth:

When asked whether he knew much about the route beforehand, he replied there wasn't a single hand or foothold he didn't know like the back of his hand. [2]


[1] Peak Limestone North, First Ascents Supplement /file/bc3fd0e4-a3ee-a736-1cbf-d68af9f0910e/peak_lime_north_first_ascents.pdf

[2] https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,31364.msg638920.html#msg638920

5 Ian Vickers Urgent Action 8a+ 1997
6 Steve McClure Mandela 8a+ 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]


[1] On The Edge 122, page 14.

7 Steve McClure Indian Summer 8b+ Aug 2002

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

8 Chris Savage Zona 0 8a+ 17th Apr 2008
9 Steve McClure Kalea Borroka 8b+ 20th May 2009
10 Chris Savage Dau al Set 8b 5th Oct 2009
11 Chris Savage Brujo 8b 5th Oct 2009
12 Tom Bolger L Mens 8b+ 2011
13 Chris Savage Urgent Action 8a+ 4th Jun 2011

Not a true flash as Chris had climbed The Thumb, which shares a finish with Urgent Action, two weeks previously. [1]


[1] https://www.8a.nu/crags/sportclimbing/united-kingdom/kilnsey/sectors/the-north-buttress/routes/urgent-action/

14 Neil Mawson K3 8a+ Jul 2011
15 Steve McClure Tom et je Ris 8b+ 12th Jul 2013


[1] http://www.steve-mcclure.com/articles/116-tom-et-je-ris

16 Ed Hamer Kalea Borroka 8b+ 6th Jan 2014
17 James McHaffie Supercool 8a+ 2015
18 Eddie Barbour Urban Surfer 8b 31st May 2015
19 Ali Kennedy Los Racos Extension 8a+ 5th Oct 2016
20 Will Bosi El Món de Sofía 8b+ 11th Apr 2017
21 Alex Barrows Ixeia 8b+ 8th Oct 2017

Hell yeah!! Fought hard from bottom to top, and climbed well apart from nearly pumping out and punting off trying to get a knee in low down. Down to 8b/+ in the new guide, fuck it, consensus rules! Plus Siegrist took the + and he downgrades all my hard stuff ;)

22 Jim Pope Kalea Borroka 8b+ 10th Jan 2018


[1] https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2018/01/kale_borroka_8b+_onsight_by_jim_pope-71446

23 Rhoslyn Frugtniet Face de Rat 8a+ 11th Aug 2018

First 8a+ flash by a british woman.


24 Buster Martin Kurfil 8b 31st Dec 2018


[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/B6vHgo5jh0X/

25 Alex Barrows Gravity 8b+ 10th Jan 2019
26 Pete Dawson 32 8b+ 14th Jul 2019

Not quite a proper flash as Pete had climbed R'n'P before.

27 Jim Pope The Brute 8b 1st Sep 2019


[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/B14czh3DgPR/

28 Molly Thompson-Smith Odysseus 8b 9th Aug 2020
29 Molly Thompson-Smith L'Ami de Tout le Monde 8b 15th Aug 2020
30 Hazel Findlay Donkey Kong 8a+ 22nd Nov 2020


[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CH3E9SynMqo/

31 Buster Martin Bongata - Rodillar 8b+ 6th Mar 2021


[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CMFes5-DSPo/

32 Will Smith Pur et Dur 8b 10th Jun 2021
33 Molly Thompson-Smith Urgent Action 8a+ 11th Jun 2021

First British woman to flash 8a+ in the UK.

34 Lucy Mitchell Viens Voir Mon Petit Jésus 8b 28th Sep 2021
35 Alex Barrows Le Souffle du Ragga 8b+ 24th Oct 2021


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

36 Buster Martin Pur et Dur 8b 26th Mar 2022


[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CbiOFQXN7lg/

37 Alex Barrows Momento Payaso 8b+ 2nd Apr 2022
38 Billy Ridal Bricktop 8b 6th Aug 2022
39 Alex Barrows Queimada 8b+ 22nd Oct 2022
40 Alex Barrows Babylon Sistem 8b 25th Oct 2022
41 Will Bosi Land Der Hämmer 8b 2023


[1] https://youtu.be/_FKYPMHJ_Jo?t=618

42 Alex Barrows Viernes 13 Buena Suerte 8b 7th Oct 2023
43 Alex Barrows Le Blessé BG 8b 10th Oct 2023
44 Alex Barrows Sur La Route De Madison 8b 17th Oct 2023
45 Alex Barrows Trasnochando 8b 31st Oct 2023
46 Steve McClure Queimada 8b+ Nov 2023

The same day as onsighting Budo.


[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/C0LvWQEt79A/

47 Steve McClure Budo 8b Nov 2023

The same day as onsighting Queimada.


[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/C0LvWQEt79A/

48 Alex Barrows Rock Fucks 8b+ 5th Nov 2023
49 Alex Barrows La Travesia de los Gladiadores Total 8b 7th Nov 2023

Questing sideways for 50m on greasy choss in the golden sunset, occasionally looking back and realising the last few death-trap in-situ slings still had their gates stuck open. Brilliant and terrible in equal measure depending on what you want from it! Maybe doesn't feel so tricky if clean and brushed? Had flashed the intro back in 2010 (when it was 7b+, definitely 7c in its current state) and knew a rest where you cross Fabela, the rest was onsight.

50 Alex Barrows La Ruta del Sol 8b 7th Nov 2023
51 Alex Barrows Blomu R2 8b 27th Feb 2024

Not a pure flash as Alex had onsighted Blomu R1 13 years previously.

52 Lucy Mitchell Zouave Interplanétaire 8a+ 5th May 2024
53 Steve McClure Dr Crimp 8b+
54 Steve McClure Idefix 8b
55 Steve McClure Kali Yuga 8b
56 Steve McClure Austrian Oak 8b
57 Andy Earl The Bastard 8b


[1] https://climbonline.co.uk/2020/05/05/andy-earl-on-top-of-the-world/

58 Steve McClure Les Chacals 8b


[1] On The Edge 118, page 10

59 Steve McClure Victor Hugo 8b
60 Malcolm Smith Energy Vampire 8a+

Early 90s.

61 Stuart Littlefair Air Show 8a+
62 Rob Sutton Air Show 8a+
63 Ian Vickers Homegrown 8a+

One of the hardest onsight first ascents at the time.