Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ben Nevis

Dave Macleod is one of Britain’s hardest climbers. Here’s his story of his first trad ascent of a big wall on Ben Nevis in Scotland. In the photo at left, he’s resting. I like this:

“Like many young climbers, I used to think that topping out was my goal - completing the route. It took some really hard routes for me like Rhapsody and Ring of Steall to realise that while I was battling with them, I was right on top of my goal. The progress, move, by move, session by session was the fun part. Topping out was superficially nice, but also an empty moment - the end of the line until another inspirational piece of rock could be found.”

And here he compares trad climbing to sport and bouldering climbing:

“Climbing where your life depends on what happens in the next seconds felt quite a lot more engaging than looking for the next bolt. You are never giving, and taking more from the experience of climbing than when you really must get that next hold. I could never do this type of climbing [trad] all the time. It would be utterly draining. The carefree days of sport climbing and bouldering are also one of my big reasons to go climbing. But neither could I always be carefree and never really put myself on the line. I need both.”

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