Top 10 Most Memorable UKC Headlines from 2015

2015 was a year of contrasting headlines in the climbing world. Our microcosm of climbing news reached the mainstream media in a way that has never before been achieved: live Tweets and interviews from the Dawn Wall, elaborate interactive digital features in the New York Times and hopes of competition climbing becoming an Olympic discipine in Tokyo 2020 were just some of the many highlights.

Tommy and Kevin immediately after topping out on Dawn Wall, 144 kb
Tommy and Kevin immediately after topping out on Dawn Wall
© Chris Burkard

On the other end of the spectrum, devastating news of the Nepal earthquake hit the headlines in April, which triggered a localised avalanche killing over 20 people on Everest and an estimated 9,000 in total in the affected area. For the first time in 41 years, nobody stood on the summit of Everest in Spring 2015.

The tragic death of Dean Potter in a wingsuit accident in May also reached the mainstream news and saw tributes flood in from the climbing world. More recently, CAC Founder John Ellison sadly passed away on 27th December following a 4-year battle with terminal cancer.

Dean climbing with his dog Whisper, 231 kb
Dean climbing with his dog Whisper
© Dean Potter/Facebook

Here are just some of the more light-hearted and surprising moments that we wouldn't have expected from 2015, which attracted the most number of hits this year.

The Dawn Wall Project: History in the Making

This was the first headline to grab our attention on 14th January. Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson made history by free-climbing the Dawn Wall Project, after spending 20 days on the face in full view of the international mainstream media, "using only their hands and feet." Have a look at this fascinating piece which showed that online engagement with climbing-related searches grew by 378 percent from January 2014 to January 2015: The Dawn Wall by Numbers.

Dawn Wall Social Media Montage, 205 kb
Dawn Wall Social Media Montage

El Bon Combat, 9b/+, first ascent by Sharma

Chris Sharma made the first ascent of El bon combat, 9b/+, at Cova de Ocell near Barcelona in March.
So far it remains unrepeated and is believed to be among the five most difficult routes in the world.

Chris Sharma on El Bon Combat, 9b/+, Cova de Ocell, Spain
© Ricardo Giancola

Ciudad de Dios, 9a/+, by Ashima Shiraishi

Ashima Shiraishi had an incredible year in 2015. Proving her ascent of Open your Mind Direct 9a wasn't just blind luck, Ashima went on to complete Ciudad de Dios, 9a/+ just a few days later - aged only 13!

Ashima Shiraishi on Ciudad de Dios, 9a/+, Santa Linya, Spain
© Ashima Shiraishi, Instagram

The In Pinn Loses its Top Block - And Munro Status

Memorable for the wrong reasons, perhaps. Did our April Fool fool you? It's all Danny MacAskill's fault...our most-viewed news item of the year.

The boulder clearly missing from the top right hand side of the Pinnacle., 173 kb
The boulder clearly missing from the top right hand side of the Pinnacle.
© UKC News

Pete Whittaker Onsights E7/8 with Gaffa-Tape and Blu-Tack

Now there's a headline we didn't expect to write. Always one for eccentric ascents in banana suits, fat suits and goodness knows what else, Pete Whittaker fortified his placements in Fair Head with gaffa tape and Blu-Tack.

A close-up of Pete's Gaffa-Tape dispenser.... and don't forget your blu-tack!, 237 kb
A close-up of Pete's Gaffa-Tape dispenser.... and don't forget your blu-tack!
© Alex Haslehurst

Ben Moon climbs Rainshadow 9a

Perhaps one of the most inspirational UK ascents of 2015. Ben Moon climbing his long-term project Rainshadow 9a at Malham Cove just days before his 49th birthday and 25 years after climbing Hubble 9a.

Ben Moon on Rainshadow (9a) at Malham Cove, 222 kb
Ben Moon on Rainshadow (9a) at Malham Cove
© Rob Greenwood - UKC

New 1278m Long Route in UK!

OK, it's a traverse, but it's still an impressive headline. David Coley completed his traverse of the Boulder Ruckle in Dorset, naming it Wonderland. This is without doubt the longest multipitch trad route in the UK, with 67 pitches.

Bullet hard rock and lovely weather, 153 kb
Bullet hard rock and lovely weather
© David Coley

Ueli Steck Completes 82 Summits Challenge...and Reclaims Eiger Speed Record

Two headlines in one for Mr Steck this year. His 82 Summits Challenge made us feel knackered just reading about it - Ueli climbed all 82 peaks over 4,000m in Western Europe in just 62 days, using only muscle power to travel between mountains. Not satisfied with this achievement, he only went and reclaimed the Eiger speed record, beating Dani Arnold's 2011 time of 2 hours 28 and reclaiming the fastest time in an astonishing 2 hours 22 minutes and 50 seconds.

Ueli on Pointe Walker, 57 kb
Ueli on Pointe Walker
© Ueli Steck

Malham Waterfall - It's Raining Bats and Dogs...

Astonishing images were released in early December of water cascading down Malham Cove for the first time in living memory. The most important question remained: "Is Raindogs in?"

Malham waterfall, 108 kb
Malham waterfall

Boswell and Bullock Survive Grizzly Bear Attack

Certainly one of the least expected and most shocking headlines came in December as Greg Boswell and Nick Bullock survived a grizzly bear attack in the Canadian Rockies. The bear pounced on Greg and attacked his thigh, leaving him with 5 open wounds which required hospital treatment. The story made national and international press headlines, rounding off a year in which climbing news leaked into the mainstream more than ever before.

Greg Boswell: Survivor of grizzly bear attack and all-round gnarly climber!, 102 kb
Greg Boswell: Survivor of grizzly bear attack and all-round gnarly climber!
© Nick Bullock



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