Introducing Francis Cookson (Franco)

Franco is a climber from the UK who has spent the last fifteen years developing new routes in the north east of England. He has been at the forefront of exploration in his home region of the North York Moors, establishing dozens of new routes and climbing areas, aiming to produce the best new rock climbs he can. He has documented these in his new guidebook to the North York Moors, which details the routes and bouldering in this area. Many of Franco's more recent lines also offer some major mental tests, with his Northumberland route Nothing Lasts and his North York Moors route Immortal being two of the boldest lines anywhere.

Outside of his home area, Franco has climbed extensively around the UK and Europe, repeating technical trad, multipitch and sport climbs up to F9a/5.14d, in some thoroughly wild and beautiful locations. He is also no stranger to alpine and winter climbing, having made ascents of many of the Alps’ grand courses and some of Scotland’s mixed lines.

Always looking for the next big challenge, Franco now has his sights set on more hard repeats around the country this year, before trying to break into new ground on the bold and technical trad. Keep your eyes peeled for his next big climb or listen to this podcast with Franco to find out more…

Key achievements

Notable Routes:
The Meltdown F9a "The hardest slab in the world"
Immortal E11 7b
Boulby Wall E8 6c
Nothing Lasts E11 7a
The Aghori E9 7a
Divine Moments of Truth E9 6c
Sky Burial E8 6b
Fly Agaric E8 7a
The Moose E8 6c

Notable Highballs:
The Holy Grail, Kay Nest, f8?
The Futuristic Herring Gull
Project, Maiden's Bluff, f8A
MYXOMOP, Stoupe Brow, f7C+
The Magic Scoop, Highcliffe Nab, f7C

Athlete testimonial:

“Montane kit is solid. I think a lot of people who only go out on the good days don’t quite realise how challenging the weather can be in the UK. If you’re out all year round, abseiling down new crags on the warmest of summer days or the stormiest of winter nights, you soon realise what works and what doesn’t. You need trousers that are going to perform in the face of rough sandstone and slate; outer layers that are going to keep the wind and wet out, and insulation that is going to keep you able to climb well in sub zero temperatures. Over the last few years Montane have developed their clothing and packs loads and now I have so many favourite bits of kit, it’s hard to know which one pick for each trip out.”

Connect with Franco

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