A Muerte 9a 'To The Death'
Dave MacLeod commencing the crux sequence of A Muerte. Copyright Hot Aches Images
The Hot Aches team were back in
Filming on A Muerte. Copyright Hot Aches Images
Our blog readers may recall that Dave had tried this line in the past. The route is a steep and relatively short line. Just 21 moves take the climber up first through f8b climbing, then into a 6-8? move crux sequence, before reaching a jug and shake-out. Thereafter it is only f8a to the top. As Dave said, you won’t be pumped when you reach that point, because if you are pumped you won’t reach that point. Simple?
Dave MacLeod below the crux sequence of A Muerte. Copyright Hot Aches Images
This filming schedule was going to be super tight. Only 3 climbing days were available for Dave before he returned home. Filming routes at this kind of level is always going to be a real gamble. But if you’re not prepared to gamble then you never get any really interesting routes filmed (unless you want to re-shoot them after the event – but that is somehow never quite as good).
On our first day out we rigged the route and filmed a couple of failed redpoint attempts. After that we all had two days of ‘work’ at the Torrello Mountain Film Festival.
At least one of us 'working' at Torello Mountain Film Festival. Josune Bereziartu and Dave MacLeod. Interestingly Josune is more motivated by mountain trad that by hard sport climbss (if the audio translation was correct). Photo Hot Aches Images.
Work in this case seemed to involve 4 hour lunches and copious amounts of wine. The Catalans certainly seem to have perfected the art of hospitality.
After that it was back to the crag and Dave’s enforced rest period had clearly paid off. On his first attempt of the day Dave dug deep, and not distracted by tracking cameramen being winched around on pulleys he quite literally sprinted through the 21 moves to arrive at the shake out.
It was freezing cold, even too cold for the Scotsman. He spent a while at that rest trying to warm his fingers and regain sensation before launching into the top section. Emma was a very nervous belayer at this point, quite literally shaking. But there were no mistakes, of course. And so
We think this is the fourth ascent. The line was bolted by Tony Arboles several years ago. In fact Tony says that is was the first line to be bolted on the famous crag of Campi qui Pugui. And whilst routes there such as Anabolica 8a have had over 500 ascents, this line remained unclimbed until 2006 when Rich Simpson grabbed the very prestigious first ascent.
One note on the climbing sequence. Dave had made some interesting progress using a different sequence to the previous ascentionists. A horrendous looking two finger match, when it worked, allowed him to bypass 2 of the holds on the crux section. But by the time we arrived Dave had decided that this method just wouldn’t work and had gone back to the normal method.
I asked Dave about the relative level of difficulty in comparison with his other routes. I’d prefer him to put these in his own words rather than paraphrase, but ‘not much harder than Rhapsody’ [his E11 at Dumbarton] was one of the several interesting comparisons that he made.
Congratulations to Dave. It was a great piece of climbing to witness. The footage is destined for one of our current film projects, probably for inclusion in Committed Volume 2 which is featuring a range of different climbing disciplines at locations around the world.
So what did we do with our spare day at the end of the trip? Well, we had plenty to film, of course, and Mr MacLeod had another even harder line to inspect. La Rambla 9a+. We shall see…
Dave / Paulps. thanks to Emma and Caroline for all he help in rigging and belaying.