First Ascent of Scotland's Hardest Sport Route by Will Bosi - Free at Last 9a+

© Band of Birds

Will Bosi has claimed the first ascent of the long-standing sport project at Dumbarton Rock and has proposed the grade of 9a+ — making it the hardest sport route in Scotland. The route leads up an overhanging blank face to the right of the crack on Requiem E8 6c and involves about 15 metres of sustained, technical climbing.

Will Bosi makes the first ascent of Free at Last 9a+.  © Band of Birds
Will Bosi makes the first ascent of Free at Last 9a+.
© Band of Birds

Will had attempted the route a few times in the past, but it was only this year - while taking a break from competitions - that he has put serious effort into completing it. He clipped the chains after seven sessions.

Although the route was bolted a long time ago - earning the nicknames 'Dumbarton Oaks' and 'La Dumby-Dumby Project' over the years - the line had not received serious attention until 2014 when Dave MacLeod and Alan Cassidy rebolted it and attempted to unlock the moves.

Will commented on his ascent: "Dumby is one of my favourite crags and having climbed there a lot, it feels really special to add my own route to the crag which has such a special place in Scottish climbing's history."

Will Bosi adds a new entry to Dumbarton Rock's history books.  © Band of Birds
Will Bosi adds a new entry to Dumbarton Rock's history books.
© Band of Birds

On the climbing, Will commented: "Although there seems to be a lot of holds from the floor, almost everything is an undercut or a side pull. This makes the climbing very technical as the feet are tiny! The climbing is also very intense and powerful as you cannot relax.

"The send go went really well with almost no mistakes and just a lot of try-hard! The day was pretty still so conditions were not great but while I was sat on the ledge above the slab the wind picked up and the conditions aligned! Topping out felt absolutely incredible and this route is definitely a highlight for me."

Free at Last 9a+, Scotland's hardest sport route.  © Band of Birds
Free at Last 9a+, Scotland's hardest sport route.
© Band of Birds

On proposing the grade of 9a+, WIll added: "Previously in Scotland, I have climbed Hunger 9a (established by Malcolm Smith at the Anvil in 2010) but not Fight the Feeling 9a (Dave Macleod at Steall, Glen Nevis in 2012). It is a very different style of route compared to Hunger but I do feel it is more difficult. The crux of Hunger is around 8A boulder, whereas I would suggest the crux of Free at Last is around 8B+/8C. It feels more comparable to Mutation as it shares its sustained, technical hard climbing but in this instance, all the holds are upside down! Hopefully the ascent will attract more people to come over to Dumbarton to try the route and comment on the grade."

'Free at Last' continues Will's run of form with his rampage through the boulders and sport routes across the Czech Republic in Spring this year (UKC News). In 2021, WIll completed a series of world class routes and boulders in Spain and the United Kingdom (UKC News).

Dumbarton Rock is also home to one of Scotland's hardest trad routes, Rhapsody E11 — the first of the grade in the world.

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Will is 22 and based in Edinburgh, Scotland. At 17, Will became the youngest Brit to climb 9a at the time with Rainshadow at Malham Cove. Since then, Bosi has become one of the leading lights of GB Climbing. In 2018, he...

Will's Athlete Page 41 posts 13 videos

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4 Jul

Yeah but wats 'e eva done on 'ard grit!? (all jokes, puns, sarcasm and satire intended)

4 Jul
4 Jul
4 Jul

Apologies for the unappreciated joke!

Great effort on the climb.

Ditching the Dumby Dumby moniker not so much. What a wasted opportunity.

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