Earlier this month we reported that Robbie Phillips had made the third ascent of Dave MacLeod's Achemine (E9 6c) at Dumbarton Rock. Robbie has just released the film of his attempts and subsequent ascent and there are a few hair raising moments, to say the least.
In the film, Robbie and his friend Culann spend a few days bouldering and trad climbing at Dumbarton. The pair spend a session on the classic problems Pongo (Font 7A) and Pongo True SS (Font 8A) and another session where Robbie works the moves on Achemine and Culaan attempts the Extreme Rock classic, Chemin de Fer (E5 6a).
Robbie has to come to terms with the fear of huge falls from the top of Achemine. The route has only been repeated by Babsi Zangerl and has a fierce reputation. Speaking to UKC after his ascent, he said: 'The holds are generally positive but face awkwardly in the wrong direction meaning that keeping the body position to hold them is challenging - it requires finding the perfect balance and maintaining strong core body tension throughout so as not to lose your balance as that could easily result in a fall.
'The fall is fairly big - you're maybe 5-6m run-out going to the last hold, but in reality you've also climbed about 20-25m by that point, so you're not going to hit anything if you fall. The main worry is making sure the rope doesn't go under your leg, which is actually quite tricky to do when climbing hard! The actual technical difficulty of the climbing felt more akin to 8b sport climbing - imagine doing a 7b into a long 7B+ boulder problem.'
The video is worth a watch just to see how far out Robbie's elbows are at the top...