Steve McClure has made the first ascent of the now infamous headwall project at Nesscliffe, naming it GreatNess Wall and grading it E10 7a. The route has seen a great deal of attention recently, most notably from James McHaffie who came close to success before taking a monster fall from near the top.
Speaking to UKC, Steve described the route as 'a total face climb, plum vertical, 18m high, with a horizontal break crossing the whole cliff at about 12m. This break divides the route into two completely different halves, fortunately with an excellent (preplaced) thread. Poor footholds with fast hand moves between the bad edges, hard foot swaps, where if your feet go you are absolutely certainly out of there! There is nowhere to stop or think or compose yourself as you gain distance from the lonely thread below...'
The Nesscliffe Headwall project goes down. A fluke window of opportunity taken. I'd convinced myself it would be OK, running it way out there on the top wall. After all, the maths looks acceptable; gear at about 12m, potential fall from 18m. But on lead it was all just a little harder and that final stretch was horrifyingly close. Just about recovered today and got my heart back in the right place after it ended up in my mouth. GreatNess Wall. E10 7a, or something like that, but total three star. Thanks to Ed and Adam Booth for the catch and Nick Dixon for the inspiration. pic - Keith Sharples. @petzl_official @marmot_mountain_europe @fiveten_official @teambmc #helmetup
Nesscliffe legend Nick Dixon first looked at the project several years ago and told UKC that the route features 'a whole lot of 6c moves to gain only about 5m of height' and a crux which equates to a V10/11 boulder problem. Nick said 'Steve's ascent is magic for Nesscliffe and really inspirational. I am really pleased that Ness now hosts one of the UK's top difficulty routes. Mega.'
Here's a short clip of James McHaffie falling off the project a couple of weeks ago:
We've been in touch with Steve and will have a full report tomorrow.