Hannah MitchellBASE Digital Writer Hannah is a Lake District-based journalist and all-round outdoor lass with a particular fondness for rock faces.
Professional climber Will Bosi has completed his long-standing project at Dumbarton Rock, Dumbartonshire.
The 23-year-old athlete from Edinburgh proposed the grade 9a+ for the route, Free At Last, making it the hardest sport route in Scotland.
Bolted on a largely blank section of rock, Free At Last contains about 15 metres of sustained, technical climbing on an overhang, requiring a phenomenal amount of strength and endurance to reach its final holds.
Despite being bolted a long time ago, the route only received any serious attention in 2014, when Dave Macleod and Alan Cassidy re-bolted it to form a slightly modified line from the original, unlocking its sequence and moves. The route earned itself the nicknames Dumbarton Oaks and La Dumby Dumby Project over the years, and now assumes its final title under the unwritten rules of climbing, whereby it is the right of the first ascensionist (the first person to climb the route without falling) to name it.
‘Dumby is one of my favourite crags and having climbed there a lot, it feels really special to add my own route to the crag which has such a special place in Scottish climbing’s history,’ Will said of the route.
Topping out felt absolutely incredible and this route is definitely a highlight for me
Having attempted the route a few times in the past, it was only this year that Bosi began to put serious effort into completing it, following on from his series of successes on hard boulders and sport routes across the Czech Republic in spring this year. Bosi was able to clip the chains on the route after seven sessions, despite starting up it in less-than-ideal conditions. Warm air temperatures can negatively impact friction on rock, but as the wind picked up, Will pushed for the top.
‘Although there looks like a lot of holds from the floor, almost everything is an undercut or a side pull. This makes the climbing very technical as the feet are tiny! The climbing is also very intense and powerful as you cannot relax,’ explains Will.
‘The send go went really well with almost no mistakes and just a lot of try-hard! The day was pretty still so conditions were not great but while I was sat on the ledge above the slab the wind picked up and the conditions aligned! Topping out felt absolutely incredible and this route is definitely a highlight for me.’
Bosi has previously climbed 9a in his homeland, ticking Hunger on The Anvil at Loch Goil in 2010, and 2021 saw him complete a series of world-class routes and boulders in Spain and the UK, establishing his reputation as one of the world’s most prolific climbers operating at the highest levels of difficulty on rock.
A film featuring Will’s ascent of Free At Last is slated for release in winter 2022.
Not enough hard rock for one day? Check out our write-up on Louis Jack’s short film MIDAIR here, featuring more of the U.K’s best and boldest climbing talent.
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