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Dave MacLeod free-soloing Darwin Dixit at Margalef in Spain, March 2008
Photo by Claire MacLeod

Dave MacLeod free solo video of Darwin Dixit at Margalef in Spain

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Climbing video: Dave MacLeod making his 2008 free solo ascent of Darwin Dixit at Margalef in Spain.

In early 2008 Dave MacLeod was training for his humungous project up on Ben Nevis in Scotland. The trad climb in the making promised to be somewhere in the region of 8c but, as with all trad routes, wasn’t protected with bolts but instead with small cams and wires. A fall could have spelt disaster. In order to prepare himself psychologically for the lead, MacLeod went on a climbing trip to Spain where he decided to solo Darwin Dixit at Margalef. At the time the route was graded 8c and MacLeod had already redpointed it the previous year, but now he chose to test his mental fortitude and go without a rope…

This is by all accounts one of the most difficult free solo ascents ever of a single pitch sports climb, on a par perhaps (given that the route was subsequently downgraded to 8b+) to Kommunist, the route soloed at Schleierwasserfall in Austria by Alexander Huber in 2004.

For the record, 4 months after his ropeless ascent of Darwin Dixit, the 29-year-old Scot managed to make the first ascent of his Echo Wall on Ben Nevis. This is his most difficult trad route ever and still lies unrepeated.




TOPO: the crag Margalef

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