Winter Action: Stone Temple Pilots and More

Greg Boswell leading off on the first pitch of Stone Temple Pilots (X,9), 128 kb
Greg Boswell leading off on the first pitch of Stone Temple Pilots (X,9)
© Will Sim
Of course Greg Boswell has been out in the thick of it, this time partnered by Will Sim. The pair made the second ascent of the very long Stone Temple Pilots (X,9) on the Shelterstone Crag, Cairngorms. This route was put up in the ground-up style by Pete Macpherson and Guy Robertson last season.

Swinging leads on this epic eight-pitch adventure, Boswell and Sim started and finished their day in the dark.

Here, Greg Boswell takes up the story:

"We set off from the car at 3:30am and trotted over the goat track to the Loch Avon Basin. I started up the first pitch at 6:30am and from then on it was go go go until we reached the top, roughly 14 hours later. 

The 8 pitch route was home to some very hard and technical climbing with most of the pitches going at a stonking grade VIII or above, with the crux pitch going at what I thought felt like a pumpy grade IX. The route forges a direct line up the compact face of the Shelterstone with every pitch worthy of at least 3 stars. 

Will and I shared leads and as darkness fell we were both feeling the fatigue brought upon us by this mega route. We climbed the last two long pitches in the dark, which we slowly chipped away at until I flopped onto the summit at roughly 9pm. 

The route was definitely the most sustained and physical climb I had done to date, with every pitch pushing my body to new limits of endurance. But thankfully we got it sent and I was personally psyched to get this monster line climbed onsight."

Will Sim leading a technical slab pitch high on Stone Temple Pilots, 142 kb
Will Sim leading a technical slab pitch high on Stone Temple Pilots
© Greg Boswell
When asked what inspired them to tackle this route, Greg replied:

"Well in the words of Simon Richardson "This eight-pitch route is generally acknowledged to be the most sustained winter route climbed in Scotland to date". 

This is one of the reasons Will and I opted for this particular line, to see how we faired on such a long and hard route. But also because the line is so striking directly up the huge face of the Shelterstone, it would have been rude not to get on and climb it!

I definitely think this will be one of the toughest winter routes Scotland has to offer for a while, but I don't think it will stay that way for long. Someone will probably find a longer and harder line to climb on one of Scotland's other breathtaking cliffs, and then it will be game on to see what sort of a fight that line puts up! I personally wouldn't be surprised if Robertson and Macpherson were the ones to do it. After their first ascent of STP it shows how psyched and hungry for adventure these two are and I'm sure they'll keep it up and find another 4 star monster to bag!"

Not long after their ascent of Stone Temple Pilots, Boswell and Sim were out again and repeated the 2006 line of Scarface Wall (VIII,8) on Lochnagar. You go boys!

Both Greg and Will have blogged about the ascent, read their accounts on Greg's Blog and Will's Blog.

Other action of note is a new route by Nick Bullock and Dougal Tavener on Ben Nevis.

The route description (taken from Nick Bullock's Blog) is as follows:

Ride of the Wild Bullhorn. VIII/10 Bullock/Tavener. 16/12/11. 55m
The climb is the obvious overhanging groove/corner crack on the left side of the steep buttress to the right of Great Chimney in the Echo Wall area of Tower Ridge.

1. Follow ice smears for 30m until reaching a large ledge beneath the main face of the buttress. 30m.
2. On the left side of the ledge beneath the overhanging groove/corner is a broken right to left crack system. Follow this with one quite hard pull until on a ledge just to the left of the groove. The belay is an in-situ red hex and a large block on the far left of the ledge.
3. Climb direct into the steep groove, (interesting), then using a variety of techniques and a certain amount of strength, continue to climb the overhanging corner past a small pod with a quasi-rest if you have imagination, past another overhang (crux) and into a tight v-groove to exit steeply onto Tower Ridge.

Greg Boswell is sponsored by The Mountain Boot Company - which is: Scarpa , Grivel , Deuter , Outdoor Research , Ski Trab , Lorpen . He is also sponsored by Edelrid .

Will Sim is sponsored by Marmot

Nick Bullock is sponsored by DMM, Mountain Equipment, Samsung, Boreal

Dougal Tavener is sponsored by DMM, Mammut


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