Monday, 14 April 2014


I first climbed at Malham four years ago, we bivvied on the catwalk under the crag. It was February and -12°C. We were so psyched on that first night that we made a 1am ascent of Begozi and the Ledge lizards 6a+ by headtorch. That weekend I worked my way through some classic 7as, I remember being particularily chuffed with an onsight of Consenting Adults, the warm up route.

A year later we were illegally bivvying in the hay loft of a farmers barn opposite the crag. In the morning I slept fitfully, I kept jerking awake having dreamt I was hearing tractors and shotguns... I remember falling off New Dawn 7c a lot that weekend, I just couldn't seem to get my feet to stay on the glassy polished footholds!

Then I moved to Leeds and didn't have to doss at the crag any more, this definitely helped my climbing! I started to get the hang of moving efficiently over the rock, I started to see footholds where before there had been only blankness. That year I climbed lots of the classics, Raindogs, Zoolook, GBH, Overnite Sensation, Predator... Culminating in making the third ascent of Totally Free II, the 70m 8b super route climbing all the way out of the cove.

A lot of people find the climbing at Malham frustrating, every hold is either a sidepull or an undercling. Often the crux of whole routes is a foot bump, or swap. For me this is what makes it great, it's all about tactics. Climbing well there is like playing a game of chess with the rock, often 5 moves go by and you haven't made any upward progress at all, just moved your hands and feet around!

In the last year I've been more focused on trad climbing and expeditions so haven't spent as much time at Malham, but a couple of weekends ago I went back for a play. I surprised myself by making a 3rd go ascent of Energy Vampire, a short bouldery 8a+. You can see my sketchy ascent in the video below, I totally forgot my sequence on the top wall! I also included some footage of the quiet crusher that is Jacob Handyside sending Overnite Sensation 8a+.

4 Bolts - Malham from Jacob Cook on Vimeo.

Finally I'm proud to have become a BOB HATS sponsored athlete! (this means I got a free hat :D) I can confirm that they are both extremely warm and extremely stylish! Also entirely handmade by a pair of loveable climbing/slacklining bums, what more could you want!?

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