Scotland has seen a storm of hard ascents over the past few days, top of the list is perhaps Andy Turner on The Hurting (XI,11).
The Hurting is a 35 metre route on Fiacall Buttress, Coire an t-Sneachda in the Cairngorms and was first climbed in winter by Dave MacLeod back in 2005. It is graded E4 6a in summer.
MacLeod graded the route XI,11 and climbed it after abseil inspection. He commented at the time that he thought it would rank as the hardest traditionally protected mixed climb in the world.
Andy Turner has made the second ascent of the route - ground up. He has written an excellent blog post recounting his adventure.
From Andy Turner's Blog:
"Launching off up known ground was not as easy as first expected. Having kicked off all the useful ice the other day I now had to rely on the picks on the rounded granite. It took about an 1 1/2 hours to get back to my high point and that's where the fear suddenly set in. Not so much about taking the fall again, but wondering whether would I have the balls to climb to this point again if I did fall.
Taking a deep breathe I slowly stepped out onto the steep featureless wall. Getting the same torque as that let me down earlier in the week I managed to seat it better before quickly finding another good hook and a small wire. Now totally committed the above ledge beckoned. Hoping it would be flat with good neve I tentatively reached for it only to find a thin layer of ice and a 30 degree sloping ledge.
Trying to keep calm I managed to insert myself under the roof. Finding good hooks gave a short respite and chance to gather my thoughts for the steep headwall above. Reaching out on straight arms to get a look my heart sank. The first 15ft all seemed to overhang. I was just praying for good hooks. After what seems like an age, it was time to confront the thing head on..."
RELATED VIDEO: Dave MacLeod on The Hurting - from Hotaches
Other action has been from visiting climbers Charly Fritzer and Ines Papert. Amongst other things the team managed to nab the second ascent of To Those Who Wait (IX,9) on Ben Nevis. The relatively new route put up by Greg Boswell and Will Sim a few weeks ago.
You can see more photos of them on Hans Hornberger's website.
A good recent round-up of more hard Scottish action has just been written by Ian Parnell on his blog - check it out here: Ian's lovely blog about hard Scottish things.
Thanks go to Mark Reeves of Life in the Vertical for the photo of To Those Who Wait.