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The Story of Britain’s First E9 by Johnny Dawes

"A pitch of such appalling difficulty as to be almost beyond the realms of human comprehension,” said Paul Williams in his 1989 guidebook

Britain’s first E9 trad climb was The Indian Face, a bold route first climbed by Johnny Dawes in 1986 at Cloggy in Wales. It has only been repeated a seven times in the past 34 years. The E9 6c grade roughly translates to a dangerously runout 5.12+.

It heads up a huge slab on Clogwyn Du’r Arddu in Wales and the first ascent was considered the most cutting-edge lead ever on British rock. The holds are difficult to follow and the gear is extremely spread out.

Watch this film that that explores the history of The Indian Face, which features Joe Brown, Nick Dixon, John Redhead and Johnny Dawes. Since Dawes made the first ascent, it’s been climbed by:  Nick Dixon in 1994, Neil Gresham in 1994, Dave MacLeod in 2010, James McHaffie in 2013, Calum Muskett in 2013, George Ullrich in 2013 and Angus Kille in 2018. Read Kille’s story of his send here.

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As part of the overwhelming response to my Indian Face piece I was asked to read it aloud for a podcast. If you're interested in the piece but haven't read it, the good news is you don't have to – you can just listen to it on the #jamcrackpodcast from @niallgrimes and also listen to some rambling from Niall, which is always worthwhile . I really was flattered with the feedback from the article, it took me forever to write and remarkably my ideas seem to have come across to countless friends and strangers, climbers and non-climbers alike. Thanks to all those folks who got in touch, there's a good chance you made my day . Anyway, the link is in @niallgrimes bio or the written piece on @eveningsends can be found there by the link in my bio . Thanks @jamestayloroutdoor for the photo 📷 . @dmm_wales @scarpa_uk #climbing #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbinglife #climbing_is_my_passion #adventure #tradisrad #wales #adventurestories #tradclimbing #writing #podcast

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The Indian Face