Home > International

That Time Sonnie Trotter Sent Rhapsody E11

It took dozens of tries and many huge whippers, but he eventually repeated one of the hardest trad routes in the world

On June 9, 2008, Sonnie Trotter made the second ascent of Dave MacLeod’s 35-metre Rhapsody E11 7a (5.14c) at Dumbarton Rock, Scotland. He’s just posted an unpublished image of himself on the route by Cory Richards. Here’s the story behind the send.

Trotter had attempted Rhapsody, the first trad climb to receive an E11 grade back in 2007 without success. He returned for four weeks the following spring to piece together the intricate moves above run-out gear.

Rhapsody starts on Requiem Crack E8 6b (5.13c/d) and transitions into a V10/11 boulder problem with big whipper potential near the top. MacLeod sent the route in 2006 after spending 70 days projecting it over two years.

While projecting the slightly-forced route, Trotter also established Direquiem 5.14aR, an easier and more direct variation to Rhapsody. There was some criticism of MacLeod’s original line because of its forced nature. Shortly after Direquiem, Trotter repeated Rhapsody.

“After four-and-a-half hot and sunny weeks, 14 enduring days, 24 50-foot falls, 47 snickers bars, I finally made the second ascent of Rhapsody, yes the original Rhapsody,” Trotter said.

“You see, Rhapsody may be an eliminate, but it is still Rhapsody. There is a tremendous amount of logic behind what Dave MacLeod did and that deserves a pile of respect I think.

“He saw the line, and climbed it to the top. The only rule is don’t bail left to the arete (a cop out), stay on the face and the line is very much obvious. And yes, very hard… It deserves three stars in my books.”

Watch Trotter work on Rhapsody in this short Hot Aches Production film. “If you’re not falling, you’re not trying,” Trotter said.

Trotter on Rhapsody