Greg Boswell and Guy Robertson have made the first ascent of a new route named The Greatest Show on Earth X/10 on Cul Mor, claiming the line to be 4-star quality. Greg onsighted the crux pitch with an impressive display of bold climbing.
The route was scouted by Guy who told Greg of "a big unclimbed wall with a huge roof at the bottom" in Coire Gorm and involved ice columns, semi-detached blocks and poor gear placements in general.
Greg commented in his blog:
"The whole lower third of the face was masked in a wave of hanging icicles and smooth fat columns, then came the roof, which stretched the length of the buttress and my arms started to ache just thinking about trying to get over it!"
Guy lead the first pitch, climbing up thick ice and frozen turf, albeit with a lack of ice screws. Greg followed and after contemplating the steep roof section above, decided to give it a go:
"After I had seconded up the first pitch and tried to suppress the nervous butterfly party that was raving on in my stomach, we decided that I might as well have a look, but neither of us were overly convinced that the crazy steep next pitch would even be climbable let alone have any worthwhile gear on it, however, one can but try. So I did."
Having climbed the first ice column, Greg found a poor placement with two upside-down turf hooks and committed to the next hard section, finding a better runner higher up behind a block and placing a sling around a small spike. Attempting to get over the roof, he struggled to find a sequence and decent gear:
"I opted for one last look as I knew I wasn’t going to have many more down-climbing goes left in my arms. I reached my high point and frantically stuffed in a cam, I gave it a tug and it popped out, so I turned it around and the smaller lugs bit a little better on a small flake, I was too pumped to give it another check so I pulled up on a tiny ice smear over the roof. By now I was well up above the belay and with very little - all of which being marginal - gear stopping me from zooming past the belay and onto the huge ledge below."
A few bold moves and marginal placements later, Greg found himself at the belay. Guy seconded up and the pair finished up the final "outrageously fun" pitches, naming the route after the spectacular view from the summit.
"It was an awesome day and I had fun climbing in a new area, and to make it even better I managed to onsight one of the hardest pitches I’ve done in Scotland and climb a new four star route with what might be one of the best views I’ve ever seen!"