MacLeod Finishes Scotland's Hardest Sport Climb


Dave MacLeod starts the final section of Metalcore (8c+/5.14c) at the Anvil, Scotland.Photo courtesy of Claire MacLeod.

MacLeod Finishes Scotland's Hardest Sport Climb

Dave MacLeod, perhaps the best all-around climber in Great Britain, has completed the hardest sport climb in Scotland, a severely overhanging route called Metalcore at the Anvil. MacLeod, who redpointed his first 5.14c sport climb this winter in Spain, suggested 8c+ (5.14c) for his new route as well.

Metalcore takes the biggest line on the Anvil’s big mica schist roof, which MacLeod originally bolted in 2004. Over time, he completed variations finishing left (Bodyswerve, 5.14b) and coming in from the right (Bodyblow, 5.14a), but he was unable to link the full roof, which ends with a very hard dyno for the redpoint crux.

No roadside crag, the Anvil builds unnecessary sport-climbing leg muscles with an hour-long approach march. MacLeod estimates he’s walked 240 miles to and from the crag since the fall of 2004.

Metalcore may now be Scotland’s hardest sport climb, but it’s not the only 5.14c in the country. Last April, MacLeod completed Rhapsody (E11 7a) on Dumbarton Rock near Glasgow, likely the hardest traditional pitch in the world. His 50-foot-plus whippers off the route are featured in the film E11. Over the winter he visited Siurana, Spain, and redpointed the route L’Odi Social (8c+/5.14c), in part because it was roughly the same length and steepness as Rhapsody. Conclusion? Rhapsody was just as hard — but without a bolt every six feet.

Date of Ascent: May 2, 2007,

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