Steve McClure Guts Out ‘Scary’ First Repeat of Gresham’s ‘Lexicon,’ E11, 7a

Less than a month into the route’s existence, Steve McClure nabbed the second ascent of Lexicon, Neil Gresham’s new E11. A burgeoning hardman who only seems to get better as he gets older, the 51-year-old McClure beat out aficionados like Dave MacLeod, Franco Cookson, and Neil Mawson to get the first repeat.

Speculation puts the heady route among Britain’s most challenging trad lines. At E11, 7a, the Pavey Ark route requires the equivalent of 8c+ (5.14c) climbing on gear. A fall near the top results in a near-ground fall.

steve mcclure lexicon repeat

Airing it out near the top. Photo: Gresham


McClure knows — he nearly cratered when he took a 20m fall while working out the moves before the send.

McClure’s track record is prodigious: he’s repeated E11 before (MacLeod’s Rhapsody at Dumbarton Rock, 2008) and currently owns the UK’s hardest trad onsight at E8 (Nightmayer at Dinas Cromlech in Wales, 2019). He’s also established routes as hard as 9b.

Still, Planet Mountain reported sending Lexicon was no sure thing.


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“An absolute skin of teeth ascent, almost dropping the last move! One of the best hard trad routes I’ve ever done,” he wrote. “And certainly the scariest.”