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Steve McClure making the first ascent of Rainman at Malham Cove, the first 9b sports climb in Great Britain
Photo by Tim Glasby
Malham Cove, one of Britain's premier limestone crags
Photo by Guy Maddox
Arco Rock Legends 2013: Steve McClure and Kay Rush
Photo by Giulio Malfer / Planetmountain.com
Steve McClure & Adam Ondra at Malham Cove, England
Photo by Vojtech Vrzba
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Steve McClure frees Rainman at Malham Cove, Britain's first 9b

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At Malham Cove in England Steve McClure has freed Rainman, the first sports climb in Great Britain graded 9b.

The new climb is called Rainman and follows the famous 8a Raindogs, then deals with the crux section of the 9a Rainshadow but instead of continuing more easily leftwards tackles the bulging overhanging - past previously unclimbed terrain - before finishing up Bat Route. While at first glance this may appear to be a "potpourri" of routes, McClure told planetmountain.com that it is in fact "pretty much THE line of the crag. It’s a line I noticed when I first visited Malham and wondered if anyone would ever do it!"

As to the route’s difficulty, McClure told planetmountain.com "Grading it is not easy either. I'm not qualified. I've not climbed 9b before. I’ve worked entirely on the theory that its harder than Overshadow, which I'm sure it is. Furthermore, Adam Ondra reckoned Overshadow was top 9a+, so it’s his fault if I get it wrong ;-)! But seriously, one can never be 100% sure, but as a first ascensionist it’s our job to give a best estimate based on experience, in order to give a guide for future climbers. For sure its not 9b+, that’s clear, and if it’s 9a+ it’s got to be a hard one as it’s miles harder than Rainshadow. Lets see."

Steve McClure is the climber who almost single-handedly has dictated the pace of cutting-edge sport climbing in the UK. Practically all the hardest climbs in the country are his, starting in 1998 with his 9a Mutation at Ravens Tor, followed by various other 9a’s before peaking in 2007 with the country’s first 9a+, Overshadow at Malham Cove. Now McClure, after three decades at the top, after circa 200 attempts and after having fallen off the last move last week, has managed to raise the bar once again.

9a e più difficile di Steve McClure
1998 - Mutation 9a Ravens Tor. Unrepeated
2000 - Northern Lights 9a Kilnsey.
2003 - Rainshadow 9a Malham Cove.
2006 - Stevolution 9a Ravens Tor. Unrepeated
2007 - Overshadow 9a+ Malham Cove.
2008 - North Star 9a Kilnsey.
2008 - New Thing 9a Ravens Tor. Unrepeated
2010 - Finest Pedigree 9a+ Cheedale. Unrepeated
2017 - Rainman 9b, Malham Cove. Unrepeated


Steve McClure climbing Rainshadow 9a, Malham Cove

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