First and Second ascents of Bultitude, 8B+

© Dave MacLeod

Dave MacLeod has made the first ascent of Bultitude, 8B+, near Inverness, Scotland.

MacLeod first started working the boulder in 2019, where he had two sessions on the boulder before dismissing it as 'too hard'. Even though MacLeod identified the boulder as one he may never climb, he continued to work it as a means of confronting his 'absolute limits'.

Speaking in a YouTube video that featured the boulder - linked at the bottom of the page - he said that he deliberately focused his time on boulders that were around the 'Font 8B+' region, 'which, if they're proper Font 8B+, are going to take me a long time to do, months to years... possibly never'. 

In November 2022, three years after first encountering the boulder, MacLeod did the first move on the boulder for the first time. In January 2023, he was able to link the first three moves for the first time. Then, just over a year ago, he was able to link the second, third, and fourth moves, thereby completing the boulder in two overlapping halves, and subsequently beginning to think that the boulder might be possible. 

Then, a few weeks ago, he made the first ascent. Sharing the news on Instagram, he said:

'A couple of weeks ago I completed my long term project on the Animal Boulder near Inverness. Although I did all the moves a couple of winters ago, I really struggled to link it from the start to the position in this photo'.

'As usual for me, despite many tens of sessions, I kept changing things in my sequence right up to the session before I did it. One of these days, I'll complete a project that actually feels hard when you do it'.

'Once I actually figured out beta that got around my lack of strength on undercuts, the successful try felt pretty steady. The first time I got to the lip, I got to the top. Given that the Animal Boulder looks like a bear's head, I'm calling this line Bultitude after the soft spoken but deadly bear in C.S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength'.

'Torn on the grade but I'll go with 8B+ for now. 8B seems a bit harsh, although maybe folk strong on undercuts will find it easier. I have another project that relies on undercut strength and quite psyched to try that some more, now that I have some freedom from this line. I have some video of it to finish editing - its been a busy couple of weeks!'

Whilst the first ascent of Bultitude was a story of persistence across a number of years, the second ascent - that of Will Bosi - was a completely different story. 

Recently back from his ascent of Return of the Sleepwalker (f9A) - his third boulder at 9A - Bosi made quick work of Bultitude, in what was just his second session on the boulder.

'I ended my day trip to Brin the other week by climbing this cool line just round the corner', he said on Instagram. 

'Grade wise 8B+ felt about right, but I don't think I had the best beta so time will tell. Definitely an amazing boulder though!'.

You can watch MacLeod working the boulder, and talking about his approach to projecting, in the video below:

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16 Apr

I heard Aiden's done a few impressive boulders recently...

16 Apr

Did you get this news by hacking his phone?

UKC should go doorstep Aidan and insist he tells the full story now!

16 Apr

It's on the Careless Talk podcast. He's climbed the Lakes project on Helvellyn and the Midnight project in Switzerland. He said both were harder (for him) than Alphane, but was taking his time to offer a grade which is understandable. He's now in Finland trying Burden and sounds close

Great podcast either way :)

16 Apr

If it's not on Insta it didn't happen! :)

Some info available here:

We're also sending Aidan over some questions about his time on these two boulders, so keep an eye out for the piece that comes out of that!

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