Steve McClure’s New 5.15a
McClure: The North Buttress is one of the biggest and most overwhelming bits of rock in the UK, with a load of tough routes on it. This was the last big gap, and had half a route up it with the top already bolted. I reckon it’s the last great line in Yorkshire — an obvious challenge.
Climbing: What was the hardest part of this climb (mentally and/or physically)?
McClure: Physical in this case. I knew I could do it, unlike when I was trying Overshadow, at Malham; I was not sure I could do that one. Psychologically, this route was much easier. It was almost like I didn’t HAVE to do it — if it didn’t go I would still be happy with everything. Maybe that helped.
Climbing: How long did you work this project?
McClure: Five days two years ago, a day last year, and three [days] this year.
Climbing: Did you train specifically for this line?
McClure: Power endurance — kept on pulling on small crimps for about two minutes. I used a campus board with foot rungs.
Climbing: It’s unnamed at the moment: do you think you’ll name it?
McClure: I’ll think of a name, but sometimes it’s harder than the climbing! I won’t wait till someone repeats it. Just look at all my other routes — only one has been repeated, and that’s the easiest! (Mecca extension, 8c)
Climbing: What went through your mind when you clipped the chains?
McClure: A combination of elation and slight disappointment. No relief. Relief shows it had become a chore, so none of that. In fact, I felt it was almost premature. I was just getting my teeth into it!
Climbing: What skill do you think is most pertinent for this climb?
McClure: Tenacity rules everything. After that, you need lots of finger strength and endurance, as well as good skin, as the holds are small and sharp!
Climbing: What appeals to you most about sport climbing?
McClure: The flow. A head full of movement. Purity of thought.
Climbing: What’s your next project?
McClure: I was trying Rhapsody at Dumbarton Rock, Dave MacLeod’s E11 7a, the hardest traditional route in the world, apparently. It would be nice to do that….
Climbing: If you were a climb, which would you be and why?
McClure: A crazy question. Requiem in Scotland — an amazing crack slicing a massive face. Utterly pure and amazing climbing — one of the best routes I have ever done.
Sources: Steve McClure, Climbmagazine.com
Date of Ascent: May 20, 2008