Steve McClure In the General UK Media

by Mick Ryan Batman! More and more often climbing and mountaineering are featured in the mainstream news; radio, the internet, TV and the newspapers. It can make exciting and riveting copy for non-climbers. Everest is a top favourite, and has been ever since a May 29, 1953 first ascent when Tenzing and Hillary knocked the Queen´s Coronation off the front page of the Nations´ newspapers. News of the team´s success reached London in time to be on every newspaper front page on 2 June, 1953 – the day of her Coronation. To get pure rockclimbing in the general print media it is a little trickier, you have to have an angle, a hook; a pretty face can work but not usually some proper climbing achievement like the UK´s hardest sport climb, “two hundred feet of brick edges, Steve McClure dangles by his fingertips”……..nah doesn´t work. Hmmm let´s think, “Bats help climber to new heights,” perhaps? Bats? Bats helped Steve McClure scale (sorry climb) Overshadow 9a+, at Malham Cove last week? Animal aid? So he didn´t do it free? Like in 1953, the Times of London explains (link): “A climber has perfected a new technique to help him to tackle difficult cliff faces ? dangling from his toes like a human bat more than 100ft (30 metres) up. Steve McClure, 36, from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, uses the ?bat hang? for more than two minutes to shake fresh blood back to his arms to rid them of lactic acid that builds up during climbs. He created the manoeuvre to tackle the challenging 300ft limestone cliff at Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales.” Glad to see Andy Farnell put them right there in his ´right to reply.´ Yes the general media often get it wrong, it´s a fact of life. Keith Sharples (, one of the UK´s semi-professional climbing photographers (he does have another job) took photos of Steve after the ascent and has been busy selling them for the benefit of Steve and himself. Keith told us that, ” I shot 9GB of images – so I´ve a fair bit of sorting out to do!! I think that there´s a few crackers in there as well…”.9GB? Are the days now gone when Keith would have said, I shot ten rolls of film? Just getting them processed at the lab now. Keith shoots digital and uses a Nikon D2X (see it here). The press coverage of Steve McClure being helped by bats looks something like this, according to Keith. The Mirror = 3/4 page on Pg 29 The Daily Telegraph = 1/4 page on pg 5 The Times = Spot image and report on pg 19 Daily Record = 1/2 page on pg 15 The Metro = 1/2 page and report on pg 12 (link) Plus Steve has been doing the interview round and has been on BBC Radio Five, a Welsh radio station, amongst others – modern media is so fast moving it is hard to keep up. Hopefully we shall see some of these images in one of the UK climbing magazines quite soon – maybe the editors of Climb, Summit and Climber are at this moment engaged in a bidding war for photo exclusivity! Climbing magazine in the USA have already bought some to show the US climbing community.