Neil Gresham talks Malham/UK sport climbing and Straight Jacket
- Wednesday 24th June 2015
June 24th, 2015
Neil Gresham, who returned to active sport climbing in the UK and new routing earlier in the season with the first ascent of Straight Jacket (F8a+) at Malham, has just released a video of his new route and his thoughts on the Malham/UK sport climbing scene.
Neil Gresham on the crucial bulge on Straight Jacket (F8a+). Video screen grab
Neil is one of the UK’s best-known, all-round climbers having done hard stuff across all genders of climbing from winter routes through sport climbs, DWS to trad. A highly respected figure on the coaching scene as well, Neil recently moved away from his long-time London-base to live in the North West from where he’s been enjoying a re-connection with the Malham sport climbing scene after an absence of ‘a good few years’.
Neil spotted a gap – to be fair it’s a pretty big gap – between Twisted (F8a) and the Well Dunne Finish (F8b) high above the cat-walk at Malham. Expecting it to be perma-wet or rotten rock he took a look only to discover it was neither! The obvious access to the final headwall was via Straightened (F8a). Straightened itself is a pretty stiff F8a in its own right - not least because of a hard start which involves a gnarly two-finger pocket move almost as soon as you’ve lifted your feet off the cat-walk. Straightened then joins the recently up-graded Baboo-Baboo (F8a) for a further feisty section above the half-height rest. With Straightened in the bag, Straight Jacket then pulls over the roof onto the final headwall, via a cruxy boulder problem. Fortunately, or unfortunately as the case maybe, a kneebar presented itself immediately beneath the final crucial headwall facilitating a rest after the rigours of Straightened. Having tested the water via social media re a possible F8a+/b grading, Neil opted for F8a+ to reflect the fact that wearing bespoke (5.10) kneepad gave a better rest making the route easier overall.
He’s just released a video (see below) in which he talks about doing Straight Jacket as well as the Malham and UK sport climbing scene.