Scotland Gets Its First E9

Scotland´s young hotshot Dave “Dumby” MacLeod has given Scotland its first E9 route. The climb, Achemine, E9 6c on the main face at Dumbarton Rock, follows the line of Chemin de Fer (a classic E5 6a) to where the crack kinks left, then moves directly up the impressive, blank-looking headwall above.Once leaving the crack of Chemin de Fer, there is no gear to the top, only a 12 metre run-out with a complex sequence of 6c moves.MacLeod´s focus first turned to this line in September of last year. Initially he thought the climb wouldn´t be that hard, possibly an E7. However, after working the sequence of moves on a shunt, he realised that it was going to be a far more testing project. “I went through a period where I thought I couldn´t do it because I couldn´t do one move,” but just two days later he had all the moves worked out.After a winter of training, he finally managed to link all the moves on a top-rope and a month ago he began to red point the line.Dave describes the climbing as “very fingery, complicated and technical”. Temperature is crucial and he was unable to do the crux move when there was no wind. His first 11 red point attempts resulted in falls, sometimes as long as 60 feet.Then, with a cool breeze, on his first red point of the day, a loud vocal display from the jug near the top said it all – Dave had succeeded and Scotland had its first E9!Afterwards he beamed – “I´m totally happy obviously but also really, really relieved…it felt like a massive weight off my shoulders”.Achemine marks a major breakthrough in rock climbing standards in Scotland. When compared to Scotland´s most difficult traditional lines (almost all of which Dave has either climbed or attempted), he says that this line is significantly harder.He equates the moves on Achemine to French 8b climbing and believes that they are more difficult than both the sport 8b´s he has climbed previously.As well as holding the label of “the most testing traditional line in Scotland”, let us not forget that it also offers excellent climbing, worthy of three stars. Source: Jo George, Scotland Online