Neil Gresham, 45, Establishes Sabotage (8c+/5.14c), Malham Cove

British training coach Neil Gresham establishes Sabotage (8c+/5.14c) at Malham Cave, North Yorkshire, England—his first climb of the grade.

By Rock and Ice | October 21st, 2016

British training coach Neil Gresham put an old project to bed with the first ascent of Sabotage—an 8c+ (5.14c) extension to Predator (8b/5.13d) at Malham Cave, North Yorkshire, England. Sabotage is Gresham’s first climb of the grade.

“[Sabotage] requires a bit of everything. It’s a big pitch so you need to be able to recover on the rests and also have strength for the crux bulge as well as power-endurance for top and the hard sections of Predator,” Gresham told “I’ve never put as much effort and care into preparing for a project.”

Neil Gresham on the first ascent of <em>Sabotage</em> (8c+/5.14c) at Malham Cave. Photo: Ian Parnell.” title=”Neil Gresham on the first ascent of <em>Sabotage</em> (8c+/5.14c) at Malham Cave. Photo: Ian Parnell.” style=”float: right; margin: 0px 0px 10px 10px;”>John
    Dunne established <em>Predator</em> in 1987 and the route is considered a classic climb of Great Britain. Gresham’s history with it goes back to before
    Dunne’s first ascent: “I guess I have a long history with this line, starting back in 1987 when I first visited Malham with my dad during a school
    holiday,” Gresham told <a “It just so happened that John Dunne was there, attempting the first ascent of Predator and I was blown away to see one of my all time heroes in action.”

Steve McClure later bolted the extension to the climb, but lost interest. When Gresham first scouted the extension in October 2015, he was hooked, although he couldn’t complete one of the crux moves. He dedicated his winter to training, and even climbed Predator with a 4kg (8.8 pounds) weight belt.

Gresham put in 30 session throughout 2016 and by the time he redpointed Sabotage on October 13, he had climbed Predator 48 times without falling.

“It was great fun to return to this route [a] quarter of a century later, in the body of a 45 year old!” Gresham told “It was a welcome confidence boost to find it much easier and a nice reminder that age doesn’t seem to be a limiting factor in climbing.”


Neil Gresham is the author of Rock and Ice’s training column. To read his training tips, visit

Leave a Reply

Notify of

Interview: Keita Kurakami on Freeing the Nose

Rock and Ice caught up with the Japanese climber to talk about his free ascent of the Nose, in Yosemite, earlier this week.

read more

Dazzling New First Ascent on Cerro Kishtwar by Huber, Siegrist and Zankar

Located in the Indian Himalayas, in Kashmir, Cerro Kishtwar had been climbed three times prior, all via different routes. But until Stephan Siegrist, Thomas Huber and Julian Zankar no team had yet succeeded on the plumb-line directly up the northwest face.

read more

It goes (again): Keita Kurakami Makes Fifth Free Ascent of the Nose

The Japanese climber, known for bold traditional ascents in his own country, joins an elite club of climbers with his ascent.

read more