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This Scary 5.14R Ascent Pushed the Limits

Dave Macleod opened Rhapsody in 2006 - it remains one of the world's hardest trad climbs

Rhapsody was first climbed by Dave Macleod in 2006 and was the first route in the world to be given the grade of E11. Over the past 17 years, several climbers have repeated it, including Sonnie Trotter, Steve McClure, Jacopo Larcher, James Pearson and more.

“I have named the route Rhapsody and graded it E11 7a, the climbing is about F8c [5.14bR] standard with a very long fall and big swing in to hit the rock if you fail. I injured myself badly on some of my failed attempts,” Macleod told Planet Mountain in 2006. “As far as I know there aren’t other traditional routes around with this combination of danger and high difficulty.”

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 E11, Trotter also established Direquiem 5.14aR, an easier and more direct variation to Rhapsody. 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,” Trotter said. Watch Macleod’s first ascent below, as well as some big whippers and Trotter’s second ascent.

E11 First Ascent

E11 Whippers

Trotter’s Send