Young British Sport Climbers Smash Spain

There is often the feeling that us British climbers are lagging behind in world sport climbing achievements. Is that really the case?

Steve McClure is our knight in shining armour, with his desperate test-pieces at Malham and Kilnsey fluttering like a banner for all us British sport climbers. But Steve aside, standards are high in Britain, despite what many may think and recently we have had a run of reports on UKC of British climbers ticking 8c routes here in Britain.

Natalie Berry on L'escamarla-Ramadan link, 8a , 236 kb
Natalie Berry on L'escamarla-Ramadan link, 8a
Natalie Berry
© Robbie Phillips

Of course 8c isn't 9b, but it really isn't the case that climbers all over the world are knocking out 9bs left right and centre (although quite a lot are knocking out 9as). Adam Ondra may be hoovering up all the hardest routes in record time, but he is in a league of his own. The list of Brits who have climbed 8c and above is long. And it will only get longer.

(Incidentally we have a big report on Ondra's recent exploits at Malham coming up this week, with exclusive videos of his big ticks and comments from Ondra himself and from Steve McClure)

There are a growing number of young climbers operating at a higher and higher level on sport routes and their CV's are extremely impressive. As an example I contacted Robbie Phillips and got the ticklists of a few young Scottish climbers after their recent holiday to Catalunya in Spain.

Robbie himself managed to tick 7 8bs and 3 8b+s in a short Spanish holiday. He is 21 years old. Ed Hamer ticked 4 8bs and 2 8b+s. He is 18 years old.

The future of British sport climbing is probably windy with occasional damp holds, but hopefully bright!

Robbie Phillips climbing Ramadan (8b) in Siurana, Spain, 216 kb
Robbie Phillips climbing Ramadan (8b) in Siurana, Spain
© Robbie Phillips Collection

GB Team member Ed Hamer
© Lukasz Warzecha -

Lists of numbers (for those that like that sort of thing):

Ross Kirkland (18 years old)

  • Celda De Castigo, 8a, Redpoint
  • El Segre, 8a, Flash
  • Zona 0, 8b, Redpoint

Natalie Berry (19 years old)

  • Papagora, 7c, Onsight
  • Hot Knife, 7c, 2nd Go
  • Outback, 7c+, (3rd go)
  • L'escamarla, 7c+, Redpoint (3rd go)
  • Ramadan Link, 8a, Redpoint (3rd go)

Robbie Phillips (21 years old)

  • Celda De Castigo, 8a, Onsight
  • El Segre, 8a, Flash
  • Preventiva, 8b, Redpoint
  • Paris Hilton, 8b, Redpoint
  • Zona 0, 8b, Redpoint
  • Ramadan, 8b, Redpoint
  • Migranya, 8b, Redpoint
  • A Flash D'enemigo, 8b, Redpoint
  • Pati Pa Mi, 8b, Redpoint
  • Dogma, 8b+, Redpoint
  • Rollito Sharma, 8b+, Redpoint
  • Kallea Borroka, 8b+, Redpoint

Robbie also commented:

"Sam Hamer and Ed Hamer where also out in Spain at Margalef, not with us but they ticked some hard stuff so here's their lists too."

Ed Hamer (18 years old)

  • Doctor Feelgood, 8a, Onsight
  • Telemaster, 8a, Onsight
  • Ment En Blanc, 8a, Flash
  • Transilvania, 8a, Flash
  • Sativa Patatica, 8a, Flash
  • Sargantana Killer, 8a+, Onsight
  • Anarkoreta, 8a+, Redpoint (2nd go)
  • Esau Directa, 8a+, Redpoint (2nd go)
  • Braguetasso, 8a+, Redpoint (2nd go)
  • Nina Mala, 8b, Redpoint (2nd go)
  • Batuka, 8b, Redpoint (2nd go)
  • Zona 30, 8b, Redpoint
  • Cubata + Chupito 30 euros, 8b, Redpoint
  • Flash Over, 8b+, Redpoint
  • Darwin Dixit, 8b+, Redpoint

Sam Hamer (22 years old)

  • Sativa Patatica, 8a, Flash
  • Lots of 8a's 2nd go.
  • El Fustigador, 8a+, Redpoint (2nd go)
  • Je m'apelle, 8a+, Redpoint
  • Photoshot, 8b, Redpoint

More info on the following blogs:

Robbie Phillips is sponsored by Edelrid, Evolv

Ed Hamer is sponsored by Wild Country, Red Chili, Moon

Sam Hamer is sponsored by Wild Country, Red Chili

Natalie Berry is sponsored by Scarpa, Entre-Prises, Petzl, Beal

Thanks to The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) for helping to fund the Scottish Climbing Trip for Ross Kirkland.

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