Back in late January Greg Boswell repeated The Cathedral (X,11) on the Cobbler, taking a couple of falls before succeeding on his third try for a ground-up ascent.
The route was first climbed by Dave MacLeod back in 2004 and Greg commented on his blog:
"I was super psyched to get this route ticked, and once again Mr MacLeod gives an energy sapping masterpiece of fun and hard climbing......keep them coming Dave!"
The route crosses a huge roof, which Greg found to be in excellent white condition (see photo).
Commenting on his ascent on his blog, Greg wrote:
"I started up the steep techy 15m wall below the roof, which was surprisingly tricky and required a little more thought and energy than I would have liked. But I bashed on up towards the impending barricade of horizontal steepness, and eventually found myself arranging gear beneath the blanket of ice and rime that coated the huge roof.
Once I had gathered up some courage, I found myself performing some core destroying moves and getting pumped out of my head trying to clear away all the whiteness in the crack and on the wall trying to find hooks and a passage through the energy sapping roof.
Once I was fully committed and cranking out looking for the next placement, scraping away with my right axe, trying to keep moving while clearing the unwanted rime away, the tiny chockstone I was pressing away on with my left tool pulled out and I took the big upside down swing into the wall below. The onsight was over...... I wasn't too fussed though. Because even though the chockstone ripped, I was pretty damn pumped, and if these routes truly are this grade, which I think they are, anything above grade IX/9 should be very very hard to onsight. So it just shows that the grading scale is pretty good."
"So at 2:15 I tied into the sharp end once again and flew up the lower wall to reach the start of the really hard climbing. This time my head was set on one thing and once thing only.... the top! I moved quickly between horrible wobbly hooks and torques and swung my feet out horizontally in front of me. I flustered around trying to find another hook where the last had ripped out, but all I could find was a tiny rounded sloping edge..... I matched this with both tools swaying left and right ( a good sign of little purchase, I.e. a shit placement!) and lunged out as high as I could. My axe caught on something beneath the whiteness and as I weighted it, it pulled towards me, I moved straight away, flustered again I lunged with my other tool and pulled without thinking....the next few minutes are a blur of spindrift and forearm pump. But I kept going, and eventually flopped onto the top of the wall and into a world of easy ground. WOOOO FRICKEN HOOOOO!"
Greg hasn't been the only climber out and about, and reported on Scottishwinter.com is Donald King and Mike Pescod's first winter ascent of Engineer's Crack (VIII,9) on Buachaille Etive Mor.
"Donald fell once and was very disappointed not to get the on sight... However, he got back on and climbed it second go."
And also on Scottishwinter, one of the most exciting looking lines so far this season is No Success Like Failure (IX,8) on Ben Nevis, climbed by Iain Small and Simon Richardson, with a bit of help from Blair Fyffe on an earlier attempt.
"...Below him were 20 metres of scantly protected Tech 8 climbing, but this was a mere taster for what lay ahead. As the groove reared up into the first overhang, the rock blanked out. There were no obvious cracks and Iain spent nearly an hour stood on one foot fighting to place a poor Pecker, a knifeblade and finally a small sideways wire under an overlap..."
He is also sponsored by Edelrid and Big Tree Campervans .