Steve Crowe, from Sunderland, has climbed the full height of Malham Cove (North Yorkshire) in one long 70m pitch, starting up Something Stupid (7b) then into The Groove (8a+), up Free and Easy (7c) to finish up the roof of Breach of the Peace (7c for the roof alone).
John Dunne, way back in 1988, was the first to climb the Cove in one pitch with his Totally Free that also climbed Something Stupid, the Groove, Free and Easy but finished direct, left of Breach of The Peace. Totally Free, 8b, is unrepeated.
Steve first climbed The Groove back in 2003 and from then on had an ambition to climb from the bottom to the top of the Cove and started to attempt the complete link of the pitches to the top, but two knee operations and last year a dislocated shoulder held him back. Whilst rehabing from his shoulder injury he started to train. He joined the local gym and started weight training and doing some swimming, as well as climbing, and built up the fitness to have a serious crack at his dream this year
Steve wrote at his website (www.climbonline.co.uk):
"Rather than following Johns line exactly, I decided to climb right from the top of Free and Easy to finish up Breach of the Peace. My line Central Wall (aka Totally Free II) is also 8b. My belayer was nearly 70 meters away, down on the cat walk so rope drag was an issue for the last few clips."
Steve used an 80m 9.4mm rope for his ascent. He nearly fell off the final roof of Breach three times on his successful redpoint because of rope drag.
As well as an amazing physical challenge, the mental strength needed to keep going on such a long pitch is collossal.
Steve is 51 years young and has been climbing for 35 years. He started way back in 1974 after an outdoor course although only pottered about for the first ten years doing more peak bagging than actual climbing. Steve has bags of experience, is well travelled and is well known on the Northumberland climbing scene. He's written climbing guidebooks for his own publishing company Smart Boys and the Northumberland Mountaineering Club.
He's climbed trad E7 all over the UK, headpointed E8 in The County, done E6 new routes onsight. As regards sport, this year he climbed Stolen, an 8b at Kilnsey Crag first climbed by his wife, Karin Magog.
Karin and Steve are at Malham today to retrieve Steve's quickdraws. On topping out Steve untied and walked off along the Terrace above Breach of the Peace. He couldn't face stripping his draws right away.
Of course, although Steve was the one to climb the route, he couldn't have done it without his friends and gives thanks to those who belayed him and offered advice and encouragement.
"I would like to thank Andy Brown for his consistent encouragement to stick with the project, Rob Fielding for telling me to stop making excuses and George Hayden for giving me tips to gain extra power when I felt I had plateaued. Also all my belayers over the last six years but I can't remember everyone! My wife Karin Magog, my mentor Chris Sowden, Jenny Woodward, and more recently Owen, Will, Eddie, Tim and Andy Watmough. Cheers guys it was a long haul."
We'd all like to congratulate Steve for this amazing achievement. Keep cranking dude!