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The Story of the Indian Face: the UK’s first E9 climb | Weekly Video

In October 1986, Johnny Dawes made the first ascent of a climb which defined a generation, a pitch described by Paul Williams in his 1989 guidebook as being ‘of such appalling difficulty as to be almost beyond the realms of human comprehension’. The climb is, of course, The Indian Face E9 – a terrifying slab which claims centre stage on Cloggy (Clogwyn Du'r Arddu), a wall steeped in heritage, perched high on the sides of Snowdon. This short film proves a wonderful insight into the history of the route and the characters that ultimately shaped its story.

Dawes is the real star, treading a fine line between arrogance and supreme confidence, Johnny was the colourful eccentric that 80’s climbing craved; bold enough to use sport climbing tactics on traditional projects, Dawes was the visionary that pushed trad climbing into a new era. Still renowned to this day for being a petrifying lead, repeats have been few and far between with its second ascent coming eight years later from Nick Dixon. Its third ascent came within a week of its second at the hands of Neil Gresham who, himself, has just broke new ground in the Lake District with his first ascent of ‘Lexicon’, an E11 on Pavey Arc.

For more information on the climbs that can be had at Cloggy, check out the North Wales Climbs (Rockfax) guide book.