Ste McClure Nominated for Arco Rock Legend award

11th Aug 2013

AN THE NOMINATIONS ARE? Always wanted to say that! and now I can. I can finally go public with the news that my friend and Uber Wad Ste McClure has been nominated for the 2013 Arco Rock Legend award. I did think about trying to tell you all about it, but then I thought, no, I'll let you read the official blurb :-

The nominations for the VIII edition of Arco Rock Legends will take place on Friday 6 September 2013 during the Rock Master Festival. In the running for the sport climbing Oscars are Steve McClure, Alexander Megos, Adam Ondra and Chris Sharma for the Salewa Rock Award.

A strong but diverse group will line up in Arco at the beginning of September to celebrate the eighth Arco Rock Legends, the important international awards that assigns two prestigious sport climbing prizes, the Salewa Rock Award and the La Sportiva Competition Award. A small strong group that includes some of the best climbers in the world, of course, comprised of some familiar faces to this small Italian town and also some newcomers, selected in this first phase by an international jury who on Friday 6 September will face the daunting task of choosing two winners. One for climbs outdoors, the Salewa Rock Award, and one for competitions, the La Sportiva Competition Award.

Let’s start with the Salewa Rock Award. This prize is intended for the climber who has left an important mark worldwide, thanks to the routes climbed and also to his or her distinct personal style. Not surprisingly in Arco eight years ago this title was won for the first time by Basque climber Josune Bereziartu, followed by true legends such as Patxi Usobiaga, Sasha DiGiulian, Adam Ondra (three times!) and Chris Sharma. And it comes as no surprise that Adam Ondra and Chris Sharma, two of the world’s undisputed protagonists of cutting-edge difficulties, have been nominated once again. Ondra’s nomination comes in the wake of numerous records that include, first and foremost, his route Change in Norway; a line he saw and bolted in the enormous Flatanger cave and then freed after five weeks of intense efforts to produce the hardest sports climb in the world. The first route to officially break into the 9b+ barrier. A new level of difficulty, unheard of, that the Czech climber equalled a few months later when he made the first ascent of La Dura Dura at Oliana in Spain. As if to say, the two hardest routes on the planet bear his signature… In truth, supremacy on La Dura Dura was also hotly contended with the climber who had the original vision and bolted the line, America’s Chris Sharma, aka The King. Along with Ondra, last winter Sharma provided a beautiful spectacle, rare and unique as the two teamed up to fight gravity. Ondra and Sharma battled against the route at the same time, pushing each other higher and higher and although Ondra reached the chain first, Sharma’s redpoint a few weeks later was the culmination of his personal dream, but also ours as sport, fair play and personal motivation triumphed together with a friendship that counts for far more than a given grade… Someone else who triumphed this year was young German Alexander Megos, an absolute outsider for almost everyone who stunned the world with the historic, first-ever 9a onsight. Estado Critico is the name of the route, Siurana the name of the crag where Megos managed to do what others had hitherto attempted in vain. A historic moment that lasted just a few minutes, one attempt only, a perfect onsight that projected Megos into the all-time Hall of Fame of sports climbing. Talking of attempts: a few days later Megos confirmed his extraordinary class by sending a 9a+ on his second attempt, while at the crags at home in Germany he recently freed numerous old projects in the blink of an eye… Megos is new to Arco this year, but we’ll most certainly be seeing more of him in the future. The other newcomer to the 2013 nominations is no one less than Englishman Steve McClure, the climber who more than anyone else has pushed the limit of sport climbing on the other side of the English channel. For more than a decade McClure has climbed into a realm of difficulty unrivaled by anyone else and while some of his routes have only recently been repeated, others still await a second ascent since 1998! “Strong Steve” as he is called (for obvious reasons) is a true legend of this sport and his nomination rewards a lifetime of cutting-edge climbing, almost always by himself, which renders his achievements even more extraordinary. McClure, Megos, Ondra and Sharma … Four climbers who have left an indelible mark. This year the jury’s job will be tougher than ever!

Salewa Rock Award – Josune Bereziartu (2006), Patxi Usobiaga (2007), Adam Ondra (2008), Chris Sharma (2009), Adam Ondra (2010), Adam Ondra (2011), Sasha DiGiulian (2012)

So there you have it. Who is going to get the judges votes. Will it be Chris for the first repeat of a 9b+, or Adam for once again pushing the standard, or could it be Alexander the new Kid on the block for the first ever on-sight of a 9a? For what its worth my money is on McClure. He hasn't climbed 9b+ this, or any other year and I don't think he'd mind too much if I said I don't think he ever will! Nor has he managed to on-sight the astonishing grade of 9a. But he has as usual climbed at a very high standard, on all types of rock, in virtually all the different disiplines (Trad, Sport, DWS, on-sight, ground-up, headpoint, flash....etc) and he has been doing, for at least the past 15 years, so if Longevity counts for anything, he's head and shoulders above the other three young whipper-snappers. Go Ste