The imposing schist prow of Dalriada on the North Peak of the Cobbler in the Arrochar Alps, Scotland, is an iconic climb that sees relatively few ascents given the many stories it has to tell and the breathtaking images captured there over the years. Dalriada is, for me, the epitome of hard, adventurous climbing in Scotland.
Executing move after move, almost without thinking, I approach the final headwall and utter soft words of reassurance, trying not to contemplate the possibility of success. I’m not afraid of falling off; deep down I’m more terrified of failure in this moment than I’ve ever been in my life. I blank it out. Ignore it. Still shaking, I arrive just below the top, physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. ‘You’re kidding me!’ I whisper as I pull gingerly onto the safety of a ledge. Success.