After the initial reports of Dave MacLeod soloing Darwin Dixit (8c), speculation about the grade and the height of the route followed. We felt that more coverage of this ascent was justified as it may be the "hardest solo in the world". I asked Dave his opinion on the grade of the route:
Jack: "According to an unconfirmed quote on another site it seems that Chris Sharma suggested it was 8b, however several others have done it too - including Ramón Julián Puigblanque and they apparently didn't suggest a downgrade. What did you think?"
Dave: "For sure Darwin Dixit is very soft for 8c, but in my opinion it's a systematic thing with Spain in general. In Margalef itself I did Los Ultimo Hippies 8c, Alzeimer Brothers 8b+, Luxury 8b+, Double Illuna 8b+ and La Puta Rue 8b+ and I found Darwin Dixit harder than all those and it took me more tries too. I can't say much more than that really!"
In response to questioning on the UKC forums regarding the height of the route and the height of the crux Dave was kind enough to take the time to respond:
"I mainly chose it because I liked it, but also because it went to the top of the crag, the moves were solid and it was short enough that continued life might just be possible should I blow it. Avoiding danger is my business, not going all out for the highest, gnarliest landing, loose death show I can find. Maybe some folk on here can land on their back on stone from 40 odd feet and walk away to perform their next trick, or maybe you watch too many Hollywood movies? The ground is pretty hard folks."
The video of Dave redpointing the route shows quite clearly that although the crux is low down in the initial roof, the upper headwall is certainly not bouldering territory and Dave had to climb with confidence and self control.
Thanks again to Dave for responding to questions and comments on the UKC forums.