In 2008, Dave MacLeod was preparing for a big 5.14R project on Scotland’s Ben Nevis. One of the way’s he trained was by going to Spain and running-out hard bolted routes. The first release of this video online was in September 2019.
Darwin Dixit in Margalef is a steep 5.14a, but was considered 5.14b when MacLeod started up with no rope. He’d climbed it a number of times, but nothing can really prepare you for piecing together 5.14 moves high off the ground without a rope.
In 2004, Alex Huber free-soloed Kommunist in Schleirwasserfall, Austria, a route graded 5.14a. When MacLead climbed Darwin Dixit, it would have been considered the most difficult free-solo ever, and still is one of them. MacLeod went on to send his Ben Nevis Project and called it Echo Wall, still considered the hardest trad route in the world.
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Soloing Darwin Dixit 8b+ some years ago, in preparation for Echo Wall on Ben Nevis. I just posted up the video of the solo on my YouTube channel (link in bio). Right now I'm trying to get myself ready for another badly protected 8c trad project, which is kind of what made me think about this again. Pic (and video) by @clairemacleodartist #freesolo #freesolofilm #freesoloing #freesoloclimbing #tradclimb #tradclimber