Dave MacLeod Climbs Huge Roof In Winter

Top Scottish all round climber Dave MacLeod has added yet another cutting edge new route to his CV with an ascent of Castles in the Sky on Druim Shionnach in Glen Shiel.

Dave MacLeod about to launch in to the roof of 'Castles in the Sky'  © Andy Turner
Dave MacLeod about to launch in to the roof of 'Castles in the Sky'
© Andy Turner

The route crosses a huge roof section via two figure of four moves and has marginal protection. The vertical wall to gain the roof is around technical grade 7 and the unprotected upper headwall is around technical grade 6.

MacLeod hasn't offered an exact grade for his route, but it will surely be up there in the grade 11 range.

Dave was belayed by Ruth Taylor and she has written up the ascent on the Mountain Equipment blog:

"...After clipping the next runner, all manner of whacky moves broke loose.

Footless-ness, followed by 2 figure of fours in a row saw Dave reach his picks around the apex on the roof. The downside to this was the tiny tenuous hooks they were placed in with the last bit of gear being the aforementioned downward pointing knifeblade. A fall from here would be a VERY bad idea.

I think all of our hearts were in our mouths, although none more so than Dave's I'm sure..."

However, there has been some criticism of the conditions on the UKC forums, what with their being no snow or rime stuck to the underside of the large horizontal roof section.

Dave commented on his blog:

"As you can see from the pictures, it doesn't look like your average Scottish winter route. That's because it's not. It's not a gully, it's not a snowy turfy corner. It's a big square cut cave, so it doesn't get rime or snow in the roof. It's good to have something different, otherwise things get boring."


Thanks go to Andy Turner for the photo. Andy has also written up a report on his blog.

Dave MacLeod is sponsored by GORE-TEX , Scarpa , Black Diamond and Mountain Equipment

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People in the wider world of climbing tend to hear about my climbing through the well known films E11 or Echo Wall or my book 9 out of 10 climbers make the same...

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6 Feb, 2012
//www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=492915 for typical ukc comments..
6 Feb, 2012
Part of me wishes I hadn't started it now, but hopefully the haters will stay off the official thread. ****ing awesome effort Dave! As always your ascent inspire me to get fitter, stronger, happier, more productive...... Trist
6 Feb, 2012
Stunning (if verging on insane) climb, I hope for some more pics.
6 Feb, 2012
What haters?
6 Feb, 2012
"Haters" is overstating it. Nobody hates Dave. I doubt if anyone even mildly dislikes him; he's one of the most genuine and thoughtful climbers you'll ever meet. But there have been a few sly digs and cheap shots which do little to add to the debate about how future testpieces are climbed, and which must be deeply annoying when you have just put body and soul on the line.
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