Steve McClure climbs new 8c at Malham

Posted by Peter Burnside on 26/04/2018
Steve McClure pulls the lip of his new mega route. Photo: Keith Sharples Photography
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Long live the king! The UK’s best sport climber has put to bed another project at Malham, proving that this iconic crag is far from climbed out. BMC ambassador Steve McClure named the new route ‘The Reign Is Over’ and reckons it’s around 8c in difficulty. We caught up with Steve to find out more about the route, its name, and how it climbs.

The recent spell of sunny weather sent psyched climbers scrambling into action on rock around the country, but it was at the superb Malham Cove where another bit of history was made by BMC ambassador Steve McClure. Taking advantage of the blue skies and dry rock, Steve started scoping out and bolting a new project on the Upper Tier.

Steve said in a Facebook post: “New project is in a WILD position! Totally out there with a crux pulling the lip 80m above the ground!”

Expecting a drawn-out battle with the route, Steve was surprised to be clipping the chains to this new mega-route a mere two days later. The Rein Is Over was born – a nod to the recent awesome weather, and to mark the end of Steve’s 15-year affair with the walls of Malham, putting up some of the UK’s proudest lines including its only 9b, Rainman. Here’s Steve to give you the lowdown:

Steve talks The Reign Is Over, 8c

'The Reign Is Over'. At last I am free from the walls below that have reigned over me for more than 15 years. Free to explore new lines in new styles. The name was originally prompted by the end of the dismal weather that stopped play for months and then suddenly became incredibly hot and sunny. But I was aware that I was on a new bit of rock, and not wearing down my usual path on the lower tier.

Actually, that sounds negative. In all seriousness, the central section of those steep walls has given me more than anything: Batroute, Batman, Rainman, Rainshadow, Overshadow and Batshadow. This sweep of rock has the best and hardest collection of routes in the UK, and I feel incredibly privileged to have just been in the right place and, more importantly, the right time, to have had the opportunity to climb these routes.

WATCH: Rainman 9b – Steve establishes Britain's hardest climb on BMC TV

But a new mega route at Malham is pretty special. I didn't expect to get success after just two days of effort this season. It's actually a bit fast – I wanted more. Perhaps craving that long-term project status where it takes over your life; where a relationship is built.

The start is a tricky 7b+, 'Toad of Beck Hall', which ends in the middle of nowhere, though it actually ends at a font 7c crimpy boulder problem, which is fair enough really. But grapple through this, shedding skin, and you’re back into easier terrain, pumpy edges, that lead into the roof. In classic Malham style all the holds turn upside down for a while leading to a lucky flat edge just below the lip. But pulling the lip is probably the crux, with a double heel/toe lock and rubbish hand holds, and then a frightening layback with 80m or air below to the chains.

I bolted this two or three years ago and played on it a while, but it got wet, and I was always side-tracked by my efforts on Rainman. I actually bolted it because I couldn't do Rainman, and I needed to escape, but it kept pulling me back. I guess I'm glad it did. But I was always looking forward to trying this new line, if anything just for the exposure – it’s not a route for those afraid of heights!

WATCH: Steve try and onsight a six-pitch 8b in the Verdon Gorge on BMC TV


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