September 3, 2009 posted by


Steve McClure – Hubble 8c+ from ben pritchard on Vimeo.

Here are some great words (and video) from Steve McClure. He succinctly sums up a lot of the reasons why we climb–and how routes can become an obsession for that matter. The story revolves around a route called Hubble that, for a short time, was the hardest bit of rock climbing on the planet.

Only 8c+ But Still The Big One

Somehow, even though it’s rarely been repeated, Hubble fell off the world radar as a must-do hard route. McClure, however, had been inspired by its ascent and, even though he’d progressed to the much higher grades of modern world standards, an ascent of Hubble had alluded him. He states:

I was nowhere; an amateur, hoping to trick it into submission like I do with so many other hard routes, finding cunning sequences, holds and body positions that no one else has seen. I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone, but I wanted it for myself. It would complete my graduation and be the culmination of everything I ever wanted or even imagined I could achieve. It wasn’t for the grade, a mere F8c+! These days it’s barely worth a mention. But these figures are irrelevant really, in this case it’s the route that is absolutely everything.

It’s funny how we can get captivated by something so meaningless to the rest of the world. But that’s what makes climbing, and life in general, so fun and interesting.


  • McClure is super rad. I remember reading an interview where he said the greatest climbing performance he'd ever seen was some women giving it 200% on some 5.10. He was mesmerized by how far she pushed past her own limits, willing herself up the route. Always the humble chap as well.

  • There's a video on Netflix, name I forget but well worth watching, with McClure doing all these hard routes. On one, a project at Kilsney, he breaks off a hold on and says "I must be eating too many pies". I'll bet he weighs a buck twenty. It's one of the best climbers are crazy lines I've heard. Bob and I were laughing pretty hard at that one.

  • This is what, the 4th or 5th ascent of this route (Moon, Smith, Simpson, maybe somebody else)?….in nearly 20 years? That says something (although it is plagued by year round crap conditions). Best part is finally seeing video, especially of the notorious underclings. The classic photo of Ben in "Power of Climbing" on the 2nd undercut, he looked in absolute pain….McClure has the exact same look!Another great line from that McClure movie was how he wanted to push some hard route "past the ledge" where the anchors were….that 'ledge' being a 10 inch by 2 inch handhold. Dude is rad.

  • Oh, yeah. You mean the "ledge" that he (one of the strongest climbers in the world) had a hard time figuring out how to shake out on? Awesome.Maybe Gaskins did it. Seems like the sort of thing he would do. But I can't think of anyone else, which is insane.

  • I love that Pritchard is using the same soundtrack as he did on One Summer. (I was waiting for Ben Moon's commentary to come on, "Bouldering is, in a sense . . . "Apart from some facial stress, McClure hiked it.-Josh

  • Has climbing progressed since One Summer? Not for me. Makes me want to go back and work on Powerband.On further viewing, I can't help but wonder who cuts Steve's hair.

  • Ahh those were the days. Not a care in the world. Rolling Three Castle ciggies and doing everything possible to build calluses. Not a care in the world. Drinking Fosters oil cans. Did I mention, not a care in the world?~josh

  • I could go for an oil can right about now. Josh, come down quickly and we can go hit the napkin. I'm sure I'll be sending. Bring the 3 castles.

  • Clearly the Yojimbo's enabled the peaceful send. Without them it'd never have gone.

  • See you guys at The Shop this weekend. Brought back 3 Castles and Pod Sacks from Blighty. Phil and I are moving into a storage shed and I've got a new project at the Green Dome.

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