Dave MacLeod has completed his long-term project at the Arisaig Cave. He has decided on Lithium as the name and has graded it 8B+ in difficulty. Dave first heard of the cave after a tip-off from a friend 9 years ago, and has since spent a significant amount of time establishing first ascents in the permadry 'tunnel' cave.
The problem is a highly physical and technical rising traverse of around 40 moves, which links into his existing problem, 4th Wave 8B. The climbing involves a knee bar rest and some thuggish undercut moves to finish. After coming close to completing the problem last week – where he dropped the last hard move – Dave returned on Tuesday after a weekend's coaching in Ireland to finish it off.
Commenting on the difficulty of the project, Dave wrote in his blog:
'I have gone round in circles with the grade for a day or two. 8B+ in the UK is pretty tough. I am not certain this is a grade harder than some of them, nor have I done enough of them to know. So since I am not sure, I'll just go with 8B+. I also completed the project quicker than I expected, a sure sign that it is easier than my initial expectation.'
Despite this, Dave continued:
Dave also reckons that the problem plays to his strengths, being steep and technical with rests. Regarding his current form in bouldering and climbing in general – despite suffering with severe ankle injuries and a leg break late last year – Dave puts his fitness down to managing his work/rest balance better and watching his diet.
As Spring approaches, Dave now has his sights set on some Scottish trad projects.