This week's Friday Night Video covers Dave MacLeod's 2010 ascent of Indian Face, on Clogwyn Du'r Arddu (Cloggy). The film was featured as an extra on Hot Aches Productions Long Hope DVD and tells the tale of Dave climbing the worlds most notorious E9.
The Indian Face was first climbed by Johnny Dawes back in 1986 and before Dave's ascent had seen two repeats from Neil Gresham and Nick Dixon. Since Dave's ascent in 2010, it has had four more repeats.
The route is a very bold and technical slab climb with minimal protection but relatively (for an E9) easy climbing. It has gained almost mythical status in British climbing, partly due to the first ascensionist Johnny Dawes being one of the UK's true climbing heroes and partly due to a lack of repeats over its twenty four year lifespan. As fashions in climbing have moved toward harder, steeper and safer routes, The Indian Face has remained a desperate and deadly challenge reliant more on skill and technique than finger strength and muscle endurance.
The reported French grade of the route is around F7c, and this is at the very lowest end of the E9 scale, but the technical and continuously smeary and balancy nature of the climbing, coupled with the death-fall potential, make an onsight lead a terrifying proposition - hence the E9 grade.