Dave MacLeod - Pivotal Scottish First Ascent

Don't Die of Ignorance - 275m XI, 11 - Ben Nevis.

Dave MacLeod and Joe French have climbed one of the hardest Scottish routes to date. Don't Die of Ignorance tackles a severely steep and difficult line on the high Comb Buttress of Ben Nevis.

Dave has tried the line several times over the past few years, always trying to reverse from the crux without falling - to preserve the pure onsight. An unexpected fall on his third season of trying the route left Dave hanging on a runner - from where he was able to envisage the "ridiculous tin opener move, definitely the hardest technical move I've done with ice tools", which gave access to the upper grooves.

Finally, on his sixth day, MacLeod managed to push through the hard section and gain the belay. Joe French was left hanging on the rope as he tried to second the overhanging pitch and after several hours of work including some one-handed jumaring, French reached the belay. MacLeod was blue-lipped and not in too good a state. However they pushed on and finished the route in moonlight, giving Scotland one of it's hardest winter routes.

More info at Dave's Blog:

More Info at HotAches Blog:

Dave MacLeod writes on the thread associated with this news report:

"Busy few days in Lochaber. Tell you what I gotta say it is the best place in the UK - Ice and snow on the ben for a couple of days, perfect sport climbing at Steall the next day, bouldering on pristine boulders yesterday and today a bit of rain so I can catch up on the work backlog for a day before the conditions shape up perfect once again. The only problem with living here is not turning into a complete headless chicken......."

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