Dave MacLeod gets the first Lithium promotion, a spectacular line of 50 movements through the Arisaig cave, in the west of Scotland, and for which not without many doubts it proposes 8b +.
But nevertheless, Scottish climber gives a good look at a few classics, some with a long history and even a well-established degree, like the New Base Line (8b+), a Practice of the Wild (8c), a Mystic Styles (8b+) o a Shallow Water to Riverbed (8b+), ensuring without question that Lithium is harder and more difficult than all of them, hinting too, who prefers to leave his proposal at 8b +, below even Practice of the Wild because in Britain the grade is tough.
Below we reproduce the full text published by Dave MacLeod himself on his personal blog.
Lithium, por Dave MacLeod
«Yesterday I sent my project in the Arisaig cave. Nine years after Johan first told me about the cave, I uploaded all the good lines. Time to move on!
I will really miss this place. I will miss driving west on the way to the islands, leaving behind the pouring rain or snow at Fort William, to get to the bright sunlight when you hit the coast at Lochailort. I will miss seeing otters and sea eagles doing their business on the beach next to the cave, while I took care of mine. I will miss a beer before the climb in the Arisaig cafe, mirando a Eigg. Y, Of course, I will miss the magnificent physical and technical climbs.
In many ways, my days in the cave have helped me see how much life helps me climb. Since the climb lasts almost 50 movements, in the last weeks, when I got to the stage of red dot attempts, I had to rest for most of an hour between attempts. This experience led me to do the same, seven years ago, in At Eternity’s Gate, which is equally long.
On those long breaks you walk the shoreline to stay warm and send lactate through the Cori cycle. But the most important, you reflect. Not much time for that in modern life, even in many types of climbing. Go to the wall to train, for example, not usually a great opportunity to reflect.
On both long climbs with long walks in between, being there and doing them helped me overcome some very dark feelings that I was having. He did not diminish or take them. It only helped me stay resilient. For that I am very grateful. Fortunately, I am lucky to live in a country full of places like this and have the opportunity to spend time in them., so there should be no problem having similar experiences elsewhere.
Why did i send it now? A great list of things. I would say that, first of all, my two main changes I made in my training had the desired and dominant effect. First, basically cut 4 hours of my workday and replaced it with a break time and will be there early for about a month. Secondly, and even more important, I lowered my carbohydrate intake south of 50 grams per day again (in most but not every day), along with restricting the daily feeding window to 6-8 hours. This made my butt lighter and improved my recovery from training.. Note: I'm skipping a world of detail here! I also kept making improvements to the sequence, until the successful attempt. In the last hard move, I consciously concentrated on arching and stiffening my back as I threw the hold. Combined with a loud cry of power, this kept me standing. I also kept getting used to the prone rest position in the middle of the knee bar, and I was able to relax more, stay longer and breathe more deeply than in previous sessions. I also timed my sessions very well in good conditions, for once. I also solved my 'glassy skin problem'’ rubbing a bit of thick skin from my hands over sharp rocks, and then washing them with water to achieve the ideal balance of cold and dry versus soft and sticky. At last, I could really apply my full force to those smooth cuts. and then wash them in water to get the ideal balance of cold and dry versus soft and sticky. At last, I could really apply my full force to those smooth cuts. and then wash them in water to get the ideal balance of cold and dry versus soft and sticky. At last, I could really apply my full force to those smooth cuts.
The psychological side of the attempts generally seems more direct to me. I definitely feel like I have a good system to manage my effort level and control my nerves or self-awareness. But nevertheless, in the successful attempt I was particularly fortunate to have to dry a pair of wet and damp feet (climbing begins outside the cave and is the only part of the site that is exposed to seepage). After drying them, I only had a few seconds to start before the water came back to them. So there was no time to develop any sense of anticipation for the attempt ahead. In fact, I had to spend the moments on the first knee trying to dry the other knee brace that had caught a few drops when I started. So I got to the crux with a fresh mind, unhindered by any sense of occasion, and I was free just to be in the moment and give it my all. On that last try he was definitely climbing the moves faster than ever. Thus, it made sense that I beat the above highlights.
*** Warning: boring part below. Feel free to stop here ***
I'll call the Lithium promotion, and I will rate it as 8b +. I've circled the grade for a day or two. 8b + in the UK is quite difficult. I'm not sure this is a more difficult grade than some of them, I have not done enough to know. So, since I'm not sure, I'll only go with 8b +. I also completed the project faster than I expected, a sure sign that it's easier than I expected.
Going for Magic Wood, where I've done a lot of my rock reps over the years, Lithium is definitely a harder grade than New Base Line 8B + , Shallow Water to Riverbed 8B + , Mystic Styles 8B + and definitely harder than Practice of the Wild 8C. Feels similar in difficulty to In Search of Time Lost 8C, which I tried for two sessions at the end of my last trip, and got good links. But maybe it's easier than The Understanding 8C, that I tried during 30 minutes but I couldn't. According to this logic, maybe the closest 8C. But again, the UK may have a more rigid rating. Whether that's right or wrong is another argument. The bottom line is that it is very difficult to reduce the rating to a completely rational calculation. I just don't boulder enough to get a good handle on grades.
It is also a very specific type of promotion, in a way it plays on my strengths (steep, with breaks and technician). But I think I'm really weak at clipping and pinching. So, someone else could find them much easier than me. So, let's go with 8B +.
Anyway, brings spring and bigger climbs this year.
PD: In case someone wonders about the shipping video, It will be in a function that I am doing with Chris Prescott this year, hopefully it will include some great traditional projects that I will point out in the coming months.