All summer Dave MacLeod has been embroiled in a battle to climb his sport project at Steall Hut Crag, Glen Nevis. The route, which he has now climbed and named Fight the Feeling tackles the headwall above Dave's previous route Ring of Steall (8c+), adding a very hard boulder problem to that already difficult route.
Dave has blogged extensively about the climb here: Dave MacLeod Blog, in which he describes his psychological battle:
"Linking the whole route was desperate for me. I've learned a lot about my climbing limitations during trying it, because I've tried everything to get stronger and fitter to manage it. However, just like on Ring of Steall, when I finally did it, it felt easy. So the door for further improvement is still wide open it seems!
And that was my biggest problem - I had become convinced during trying it that not only was I struggling to make the improvements I needed to, but I was somehow losing my ability to climb, train, recover and have good days. Almost every attempt became a constant fight against this feeling. I don't really know why I've turned into a sport psychologist's nightmare, but I do seem to have lost a lot of confidence for some reason. The routine of preparing myself for a redpoint effort got progressively more difficult as last month wore on. I wasn't nervous or scared of it, I've got enough experience to be able to swallow those feelings in a climbing situation at least. It was more that I stopped believing I had room to improve on my previous best efforts."
And also comments on the proposed grade of 8c+/9a:
"Fight the Feeling takes in most of Ring of Steall (8c+) until past it's crux and then has a bouldery main crux on the headwall above. I gave it a split grade in the end and I'll wait for the opinion of repeaters. If Ring of Steall holds it's 8c+ grade then maybe it will end up as 9a. If not then it would be 8c+. It's certainly much harder for me personally than A' Muerte (9a) that I did a few years ago, but it's always hard to tell if one route just suits you more than another."