Dave MacLeod - After E11 comes Echo Wall (With Video)

© Dave MacLeod
Recently Dave MacLeod's mega route Rhapsody has been hitting the headlines. With repeats from two of the worlds top climbers, discussion over the nature of the line and various video and photo reports, Rhapsody has been at the front of everyone's minds. For Dave MacLeod that line is something he is understandably proud of, however a new challenge is holding his attention, something that may eclipse even Rhapsody.

Echo Wall, high on Ben Nevis is a stunning soaring arête of the utmost difficulty and commitment, with climbing that is harder than Rhapsody coupled with fatal consequences should a fall occur. With his scientific approach, Dave MacLeod has been preparing himself for an attempt on this incredible line. The bad weather and cold temperatures of Ben Nevis haven't put him off and MacLeod's dedication seems to be paying dividends. He has continuously battled his way up to the route, shovelling snow from the top for several days to help the rock dry out more quickly. He has had small successes, working out sections and moves, but with a project this hard, Dave has naturally had doubts about the feasibility of his undertaking:

"This thing is just not the same as something like Rhapsody - the climbing on that was quite tricky (at the time it was my limit) but it was right there - easy to sling a rope down in a few minutes and get climbing on it with nothing in the way. I've done the hard mountain routes like Birkett's and Dunne's too, but they were [relative to this] easy climbing - you just turn up, put in a day or two's work and crush it. This is different - the mix of 8c or harder climbing, the prospect of a ground fall on the lead, and the logistical challenge of climbing this so high on the north face of the Ben. That is why it will be another level beyond any of the other routes. That is what I am after on the whole."

Dave has been documenting all his preparation for the climb on his excellent blog: and the project has been captured on video for an upcoming film - more info about that soon.

Dave's mental training has included soloing Darwin Dixit - a short, but still quite dangerous F8b+/F8c in Spain and his physical training is demonstrated in the video below.

We wish Dave the best of luck with this and any other future projects.

Watch a Video of Dave Stamina Training for Echo Wall:

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18 Jun, 2008
It's a pity there isn't a better photograph of this line around (unless there is - anyone?). The one you've used I've seen elsewhere, but I suspect this thing is more gob-smacking in real life than in that shot - it doesn't really capture the angle at all. jcm
18 Jun, 2008
the commentator seems to get rather excited by Dave's antics about half way through the video!
18 Jun, 2008
Sound like something out the Ben Dover series.
18 Jun, 2008
Excellent. Great to see such motivation and talent in action. So much exciting stuff happening at the cutting edge of British climbing these days, hard headpoints, redpoints, onsight trad and sport......and off-widths!!!!!!!!!!!! Mick
18 Jun, 2008
Check out Dave's foot work. Precise or what. Every time I try to be ultra precise, I end up either missing the right spot or having to have a foot shuffle / wiggle to the right spot or using more energy hanging on looking at where I place my feet. I've not tried a bat hang yet, one to practice at the wall on a rope I think.
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