New Thing At Raven Tor by Steve McClure: 9a+? Maybe.

© Alastair Lee/
It's easy to lose track of what Steve McClure has climbed, he doesn't exactly shout about it from the rooftops - he hasn't a blog or scorecard. He goes on holiday and onsights hard routes all day. This year has been a good one for him and even late season when the temperature drops and the clouds burst he doesn't let up and on Saturday he continued his campaign at his local crag, Raven Tor, with a New Thing.

This is what Steve has to say about it,

"Jerry Moffat's route Evolution (8c) at Raven Tor, though amazing, does end in the middle of the cliff at an obvious 'good hold'. It seems it deserves to go on for longer. Ages ago I climbed Mutation (9a) which moved out right just before the belay but the original route always had an obvious extension blasting up the wall to join the last hard moves of Mecca Extension (8c).

Having heard Evolution itself had lost a crucial hold I was inspired to re-climb it, and continue onwards. In these difficult times of credit crunch and grade confusion I think it's important to take grades very seriously and get them absolutely exactly right. The new link climbs Evolution at F8c+ before blasting up the desperate crimpy wall, at around F8b. Considering the height of the route and the reduction in gravity, as well as the loss of a crucial hold meaning there may be fewer moves, the grade comes down to a lofty F8c. However, the grade is also dependant on sponsorship requirement levels and thus varies from F8b to F9a+. I should also point out that there was a bouldering pad somewhere nearby.

Above the belay is a scrappy corner and I'm dreaming of extending this link all the way to the top of the crag, perhaps even beyond. With the corner protected by pegs a traditional grade would be justified and the whole link could come in at a tough E4, no harder because it's not that dangerous though only an onsight will tell us exactly the right grade and count as a true ascent. To be precise it would be E4 F8c V10 font 7c+ T / S P0."


In May Steve climbed Bat Route 8c+ at Malham and quickly polished off the complete Northern Exposure 9a/9a+ at Kilnsey (UKC News), and then of course in June he made extremely quick work of the traditionally protected Rhapsody - E11 7a (8c/+.. R) achieving success on his third redpoint attempt and confirming the grade (UKC News).

Steve McClure is sponsored by Petzl, Five Ten, Beal and Fat Face.

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3 Nov, 2008
Good to see the man has a sense of humour to accompany his climbing ability.
3 Nov, 2008
I should also point out that there was a bouldering pad somewhere nearby. That was my bouldering mat. Furthermore it was folded in half and so double the thickness - something that Mr McClure fails to incorporate in his grade. Call yourself a professional climber ? Full disclosure from now on. Waste of my BMC membership money if you ask me. And spare our feelings by not making it look so easy next time.
3 Nov, 2008
Couldn't agree more - what an excellent write-up!
3 Nov, 2008
Another chance to call a route Stevolution, and he doesn't go for it. An opportunuity missed.
3 Nov, 2008
"To be precise it would be E4 F8c V10 font 7c+ T / S P0." Or Scottish VS. Heady stuff.
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