A few days ago UKC reported that Malcolm Smith made the first ascent of Blood Diamond (F8c+) on the Anvil, Argyll. (see UKC News).
Malc thinks Blood Diamond is the hardest route at the Anvil and at hard F8c+ it weighs in as one of the hardest in Scotland.
Speaking by email to UKC, Malcolm said:
"Blood Diamond is a route I'd spent a few days on a couple of years ago but failed to stick with. This year I returned with renewed motivation and I climbed it relatively quickly. It's a great line which climbs straight up the centre of the crag at its steepest, most sustained point.
I was unsure of the grade but it's a bit harder than the Anvil's other 8c+ 'Metal Core' which I repeated a couple of years ago. It's probably similar in difficulty to Hubble but it falls a little short of the difficulty of Steve's [McClure] routes in Yorkshire, to which I must return, fuel prices permitting!"
Malcolm has been down in Yorkshire having a look at various routes including the F9a Rainshadow - pictured below.
Dave MacLeod is no stranger to the Anvil and made the first ascent of Body Blow, which is the F8b+ finish to Malcolm's new route. He commented on Malc's ascent:
"It's great to hear Malc got this project done. It's a superb piece of climbing and got to be a pretty hard tick at 8c+ unless Malc found an easier sequence. But I suspect rock crushing strength was the solution to hanging that non existent left-hand sidepull."
Malcolm Smith has been at the cutting edge of British sport climbing and bouldering for many years now - back in 1992 he ticked the famous route Hubble (F8c+) at Raven Tor - aged just 18.
More recently (2008) he made the first ascent of Gut Buster (Font 8b+) at Dumbarton rock.
You can see Malc in action in the video below: