MINI INTERVIEW: Steve McClure - Hubble (F8c+)by Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC Aug/2009
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The route is a short limestone power problem and was first climbed by Ben Moon back in 1990. Commenting on his blog, Keith Sharples said:
"Hubble was reckoned to be the first Font 8b problem ever climbed. Despite being done nearly 20 years ago, the list of Hubble repeats is very short and entirely restricted to UK climbers."
Jack: Why is doing Hubble such a big deal for you when you have done these other super-routes - F9a+'s etc, is it the history?
Steve: Two things. First, history. When I was young and super psyched, and way before I even imagined I'd climb hard stuff, this was the big thing, the hardest route in the world. 'Hubble' was the word on everybody's lips. It was the ultimate bench mark. It then gained a reputation over the years, it never became easier, almost harder in its reputation. Second, it's a big deal for me as it's totally against my strengths. I'm rubbish at bouldering and I'm relatively weak and use technique to get up stuff. Hubble can't be tricked!
Jack: Can you describe the route in terms of - boulder grade / sections / general difficulty?
Steve: If it was a boulder problem it would be Font 8B. It is a boulder problem really, it just needs a rope. It's only about 7 hand movements, 9 if you're short. After that there is a breather before a relatively easy section, still around F7c+ and very drop-able.
Jack: You have done a lot of climbing at Raven Tor - does it hold a special place in your climbing heart?
Steve: Guess so. I've done a lot there as it's local, and it's hard. There are few cliffs with such a concentration of hard routes. I have an attachment with the place as it's kind of where I started with the hard stuff, where I realized I could climb hard stuff, where I began to do famous stuff I'd never imagined was possible for me. Also it suits me!
Jack: Is it true you came to hard sport climbing after quite a few years of trad climbing and 'normal' climbing? When did you climb your first 8b, 8c and 9a?
Steve: I started climbing when I was very young, I had keen parents who were both climbers. There was no sport climbing then, no indoor walls. I was climbing E5 and E6 by 16, always onsight. I didn't
try sport climbing in the UK until I was 24. I guess I was already at a high level, I just needed to adapt to the style, where it's possible to commit 100% rather than considering the risk and the danger. I went from E6 to F7b onsight and then up to F8b redpoint (in a day) within a year, F8c redpoint within 2 years and F9a within 4.
UKC would like to thank Tim Glasby, Martin Panton, Steve McClure and Ben Pritchard for help with this news item.