|Dave MacLeod, undoubtedly one of Britain's most complete climbers, has just climbed the direct finish to Requiem, an E8 6b at Dumbarton Rock, Scotland. As all British climbers well know, the route in question was first ascended in 1983 by Scotland's Dave Cuthbertson and at the time was justly hailed as a landmark achievement.
23 years later MacLeod has now straightened the line out by climbing the headwall direct instead of finishing off right. He placed all the gear on lead and fell off the crux 9 times prior to the successful ascent - 20 meters onto a RP, the smallest of nuts on the market! He has put forward an incredible E11 7a for his "Rhapsody" which, needless to say, is obviously a strong contender for one of the hardest trad pitches in the world. "Rhapsody" is the first route to break the legendary E10 barrier...
After his ascent the 27 year old Scotsman understandably confided to us "I now want to have a small break!" His succinct report published below offers some insight into the difficulty and the seriousness of the route: "I have named the route Rhapsody and graded it E11 7a, the climbing is about F8c standard with a very long fall and big swing in to hit the rock if you fail. I injured myself badly on some of my failed attempts. As far as I know there arent other traditional routes around with this combination of danger and high difficulty." With F8c, font 8b and E10 repeats, no doubt something serious lies behind these words...
Dave MacLeod climbing CV
The Hurting XI,11 Cairngorm, 1st ascent. (M9/10 with death potential), 2005
Defenders of the Faith IX,9 onsight 1st ascent, 2006
Breathless E10 7a, Lake District, 3rd ascent, 2005
Achemine E9 7a, Dumbarton Rock, 1st ascent, 2001
The Fugue E9 6c, Arrochar, Scotland, 1st ascent, 2002
Holdfast E9 7a, Glen Nevis, Scotland, 1st ascent, 2002
Devastation F8c, Dumbuck, Scotland, 1st ascent 2004
Armstrong F8c, Frankenjura, 2005
Chronique de la Haine, F8c Ceuse, 2004
Hurlyburly F8b, Birnam Quarry, free-solo, 2003
Pressure Font 8b first ascent, Dumbarton, 2005
Perfect Crime Font 8b, first ascent, Dumbarton, 2005
Super Size Me Font 8b, second ascent, Dumbarton, 2006
Good training for Something M12-, 2nd ascent, Birnam Quarry, 2006
Vertical Limit M11, Uschinen, Switzerland, 2004
For a photos of the ascent check out planetfear.com.