17/07/2009 10:56:00

Words by tcsh

Dave MacLeod's First Ascent's Continue

Dave Macleod Present Tense E9Dave MacLeod, the occasional face of Mountain Equipment and arguably Britains best current climber, has continued his quest for new, exciting climbing routes unabated.

Dave, who caused controversy when he graded Rhapsody on Dumbarton Rock as E11 7a in 2006, more recently (last year) completed his 2 year obsession of climbing a previously unclimbed patch of the north face of The Ben called Echo Wall. Although he hasn't technically graded the route (in part due to the controversy over his grading of Rhapsody) he has described it as harder than the Dumbarton E11!
This year, he seems to be concentrating on the obscure and remote climbs in the north of Scotland. He has now completed another couple of 'nails' routes at Seanna Mheallan in Torridon, which have come in at a healthy E8 & E9.

Kelvinator the E8 6c was named after a huge block that he had to 'bear hug' in order to rotate round it - an action that reminded him of manhandling his old fridge (called a Kelvinator) out of his house not long before (good training I'd say!).

The main route though, was that of Present Tense, a climb that Dave originally thought could weigh in at a solid E10 and continued to thwart him, despite the practice sessions in the rain!

"...Another day spent with Michael dangling on the ropes in the rain allowed me to at least find a way to make the holds work for one particular move, squeezing pathetic sidepulls while clamping the Kelvinator block with your feet. The link felt like solid F8b..." 

But then, the discovery of a couple of tiny runners that, in his words, "eased back the chance of a 15 metre groundfall from the crux to something noticeably under 100%"  - a comforting thought, eh? All well and good, until he got above the wires and just wasn't positioned quite right. As he scanned through his options, he realised that, unless he did something soon he would be testing just quite how safe these little wires were. He describes his next move as 'a mess' but the fact that he completed the route suggests that it worked perfectly well!

We wait to here what's next in the catalogue of Daves Unclimbable Climbs!