UKC Information – NEWS: Steve McClure Repeats Gresham’s Olympiad (E10 6c/8b DWS)


Steve McClure has made the second ascent of Neil Gresham’s Olympiad at Skrinkle Haven, Pembroke. Neil climbed the route in 2012 as an 8b deep water solo, but Steve opted to place gear for a grade of E10 6c.

Steve first looked at the route last year but was hindered by the dreadful conditions that often plague Pembroke. Despite this, he abseiled down the line and immediately realised how difficult it is to work a steep line like this from an ab line. He started a tricky ‘down-aid’ of the route and saw potential holds but realised the crux of the route would be finding DWS partners, conditions, calm seas and tides – hence why he decided to lead the route.

His ascent comes after a productive few weeks around the UK. In Dovedale, he ticked The Final Round, an E9 6c put up by Tom Randall in 2015, and in Pembroke, he climbed Do You Know Where Your Children Are? (E8 6c) which was first climbed by James Pearson in 2011.

Just over a week ago, he flashed Dave Birkett’s Impact Day (E8 6c) on Pavey Ark in the Lake District. In his excellent account of the ascent which you can read below, Steve describes how he needed the stars to align for the ascent:

Steve has written about his experience of Olympiad below:

Far below me, I watched as the emerald-green sea drifted gently, the blanket of water rising and falling with my breath. Flat calm, the smooth surface stretched out to a pin-sharp horizon in the distance. The tide mark of dampness on barnacle-covered walls was only a foot or so high, a clear marker of tranquillity; this was perfect conditions for deep water soloing. However, through crystal-clear water, undulating rocky ledges were clearly visible, perhaps down a meter or so. With the tide going out, I’d clearly missed the boat. But I wasn’t here for that, I was just here to explore and check out Neil Gresham’s awesome DWS Olympiad; to see if it could be possible. For this weekend the tides were all wrong, and anyway, it was April, it would be bloody freezing; for someone as nesh as me, I’m not sure hitting that water would be preferable to a ground fall. When would it be right? I was in Pembroke twice last year and conditions were so humid as to make every route desperate, and when they perked up, so did the swell, with crashing waves rendering DWS pretty much the same as soloing for all but the most aquatic. It seemed the timing was everything, probably more than being capable of the climb!

It's hard to imagine the route being deep water soloed when it looks like this!  © Lena Drapella