Lexicon 8b+ R trad by Steve McClure (51)

Friday, 24 September

Steve McClure, who did his first 9b at age 45, reports on Insta hat he has repeated Neil Gresham's recent FA Lexicon 8b+ R trad (E11 7a) in Pavey Park. "One of the best hard trad routes I’ve ever done. And certainly the scariest." E11 is the highest grade ever in the UK trad scale, which is based on how difficult and dangerous it is to onsight trad routes. Neil has said that it merits 8b+ difficulty and an R added means that it is dangerous. (c) Neil Gresham

Wow! So what did go through your mind falling and how many sessions did it take to send?
Reckon I had about 4 sessions on the line and a lot of info from Neil. And what went through my mind in that lob? Absolutely nothing!! It was SO quick, like an instant. Kind of unnerved me as I expected I’d have time to think or right myself.

Only 4 sessions, amazing! So you took that fall only on your third session?
This route was VERY my style, I could tell as soon as I saw it. Just off vertical, completely continuous, tiny holds and lots of them. Could not have been better. Plus, and for me at the moment, its in just the right place. CV19 obviously messed with travel, and The Lake District is so beautiful. That crag is way up there with a perfect view. I could not think of a better place to be climbing. I did try and lead it fairly quickly, but perhaps was a bit greedy. I knew I had a good chance, but also that I could still fall. I'd analysed the fall and felt it should be just OK.... it was, but only just really. Even the next day on lead, I didn't fall, but I was so close to falling even higher. I think I've a bit to learn!

How long was the fall and how close was it?
The fall was probably about 20-22m. I bounced just a meter or so above the belayer to rest maybe 3 meters above ledges. Fairly close...some margin... maybe plenty for the bold but not so much for a 51 yr old dad.

What about the 8b+ grade?
I think the grade of 8b+ is probably about right, to lead the whole thing placing the gear. There is a few moves I found really hard towards the start of the run-out section, a jump to a sloper, which taller climbers can easily reach... this may effect the grade, I can't tell for them... but maybe their bigger fingers would struggle in the crimps higher up.

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