Dave MacLeod's Tendon Therapy: The Walk of Lifeby Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com Jan/2009
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As usual Dave has written extensively on his blog in an entry entitled 'Therapy'.
Nursing a tendon injury, Dave and his wife Claire headed south to take a look at what had been called the hardest trad route in the world, the first route in the UK to have a proposed grade of E12.
The Walk of Life is a direct start to an Ian Vicker's route Dyer Straits (given E8) that was peg protected. Over a 4 year period James Pearson cleaned the route, took the pegs out, practiced it on a top rope and after 13 lead attempts led the whole route on 29th September this year. This ascent was filmed by Hot Aches and can be seen in the DVD Committed 2.
MacLeod made short work of the route, getting all the moves on his first top rope and finding 25 runners on the 50m slab. On his third day he linked the entire route.
"On the third day I linked the entire route first try for my warm-up."
He made a quick trip to Bristol to buy more gear, then Dave imagined what energizer bunny Tim Emmett would say, 'Get it led mate!!!'
Then the next day he did just that.
Grades are what rank the top climbers and most now talk extensively about them on their blogs. Dave MacLeod is no different and if grades are your thing, Dave has delivered.
"Lets start with the bottom line;
In my opinion The Walk of Life is solid E9 6c. Why is it not harder? Well basically it's just nowhere near hard enough to be E10, never mind E12.
The Walk is definitely not as hard as the benchmark E9 from way back in 1992, If Six Was Nine. It's about the same difficulty and character to my own route Holdfast in Glen Nevis, but much easier than To Hell and Back and a couple of grades easier than Rhapsody to lead."
You can read Dave's full blog entry here: davemacleod.blogspot.com
One question to ask is why was The Walk of Life given E12 7a? James gives his explanation here: jamespearsonclimbing.blogspot.com