Renowned as being one of most spectacular pieces of limestone scenery in country, Malham Cove is also widely regarded as the crucible of British sports climbing. As the young sport developed through its initial phases in the 1980's, this 300m wide amphitheatre rapidly became the scene of some of the finest and most coveted bolt routes in the country.
The imposing limestone walls are literally draped in Britain's sport climbing history: five-star classics such as New Dawn and Zoolook stand testament to Ron Fawcett's strength and vision in the mid 80's, while local hardman John Dunne powered standards to a new limit at the turn of the decade with his icons such as Breach of the Peace, Predator and Magnetic Fields.
Some of Britain's best, including the likes of Mark Leach, Tony Ryan and Mick Lovatt all ensured that Malham continued to evolve in the years that followed, but it wasn't until Steve McClure picked up the pieces with his Rainshadow 9a and Overnite Sensation ext 9a+ that Malham returned to the forefront of British, and world, sport climbing extremes.
Although Malham boasts an incredible selection of bolt routes, those in search of trad adventures will not be disapponted by the climbs on its upper wings. Classics such as Junkyard Angel HVS 5b, Carnage E2 5b and Wombat E2 5c serve as reminders of what was already being climbed in the 60's and 70's, way before bolts made their appearance!
Malham Cove is located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, circa 1 hour NW of Leeds. From Skipton drive north to gargrave, then follow signs to Kirby Malham. Continue past this and park at Malham. Continue on foot along Cove road and then turn off right through the gate along the obvious footpath to reach the crag.
The climbing at Malham is powerful, technical, fingery and sustained...
FOOD AND ACCOMODATION
Campsites: Riverside Campsite and Town Head Farm. For these and all other accommodation check out www.malhamdale.com
Steve McClure climbing Rainshadow 9a at Malham Cove, taken from Psyche - 'Magic Numbers' by Posing Productions
The Yorkshire Dales National Park is famous for being one of the most beautiful areas in Britain. Make sure to check out the limestone paving above the Cove, and don't miss out on nearby Gordale Scar.
Northern Limestone by Alan James, Mark Glaister and Chris Craggs
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