Dave Macleod has just climbed a new route on the Cima Ovest in the Dolomites, Italy. Dave's new line takes a direct line up and through the large roof feature on the Cima Ovest, joining Alex Huber's Pan Aroma just before its' crux 8c pitch. Dave has called the route Project Fear.
Dave had not been expecting to climb the route this trip, owing to poor conditions and having spent less time than he had anticipated on the route over the summer due to poor conditions. Dave reclimbed the easier lower pitches, including the first of the roof pitches at 7b+ then redpointed a wild 8a+ pitch and worked the moves on the 8c pitch of Pan Aroma. After a rest day, with time running out, Dave headed up to try and climb the route in a single push with Alan Cassidy.
Due to less than perfect conditions, Dave felt a little more pumped than he'd have liked arriving at the belay on the 7b+, but gave it everything on the 8a+ pitch, climbing it clean. With 12m of 8c climbing between him and easy ground, Dave described the next few minutes on his blog:
"The next three minutes were not particularly pretty. Feet pinged off wet footholds, brute force kept me on the rock and I don’t think I’ve ever had a higher breathing rate. Then I found myself hanging from a huge jug on the vertical expanse above the final roof, unable to get a word out between gasps for oxygen. After a minute or two, I’d calmed down enough to flop onto the belay ledge and grin."
With two pitches of 6c+ and then 400m to the summit via the Cassin route, the only thing in the way of a full ascent was the encroaching rain. Fortunately, the rain never arrived and the pair stood on the summit at 11pm. Dave commented on the ascent as a whole:
"It was both the hardest and definitely the finest route I've climbed in my 5 or so trips to the Dolomites over the past 13 years. The lower wall free climbs the first 90 metres of the old Baur aid route (don't trust those old drilled pegs, they break!). But the best thing about it is that it climbs more or less straight up through the roof amphitheatre."
You can read more a more detailed account of Dave's ascent on his blog.
Dave's ascent was filmed by Coldhouse Collective so keep your eye out for the trailer which will be coming soon to UKC