Dave MacLeod (blog here>>) has made the long drive down from his home in Fort William to the Lake District a number of times in the last few weeks and discounting the carbon footprint, it´s been well worth the hours spent in traffic and motorways. Dave is having a tremendous late indian summer on the mountain cargs and after his ´To Hell & Back´ (E10) in the Cairngorms he has gone to work on many of the Lake District classics. First up in mid-september was his ascent of Birkett´s classic If Six Was Nine (E9 6c) a route he describes as dangerous, featuring F8a+ climbing on poor gear with a potentially nasty fall (possible death) if blowing it at the crux. Dave further states that „to climb it with anything like a safety margin requires at least 8c+ fitness“.This is where Dave´s fantastic strength (both body and mind) comes into play. Dave states that „there is a crucial difference between a dangerous route and a dangerous ascent. I try to make safe ascents of dangerous routes.“ After getting the bug for the lakes, Dave returned two more times. First trip led to a repeat of Dawes Rides a Shovel Head (E8 6c) which he dispatched in an afternoon. Second trip down led to more quick ascents of Caution (E8 6c) & Impact Day (E8 6c). On the sharp end of Caution Dave comments that“on my lead my mind was silent, as I normally choose as my mental strategy. All I felt was the perfect friction of the crimps under my fingers, the flow on an exquisite sequence of moves. It was a ?pinch yourself? moment for me in my climbing life ? feeling strong, athletic and confident in a situation that I know would previously have scared the living daylights out of me.“

MacLeod leading Dawes Rides a Shovelhead E8 6c, Raven Crag. Photo: courtesy of Claire MacLeod

Source: Dave MacLeod blog>>