Uisdean Hawthorn and Tom Livingstone made the second ascent of The Vapouriser VIII, 8 in Creag an Dubh Loch at the weekend - in less than ideal ice conditions.
The first ascensionists (Boswell and Robertson, in 2012) described it as ‘worthy of four stars’ with 'amazing ice climbing.’ The route features two long pitches of ice climbing and two shorter pitches of mixed. Unfortunately at this early point in the season, the ice wasn’t in great condition and the mixed climbing was quite verglassed and buried in snow during Uisdean and Tom’s ascent.
The Vapouriser is located in the central gully of Creag an Dubh Loch, on the Central Gully Wall - just a few metres away from The Giant, a route which Uisdean climbed in 2013 with his father, Doug.
After a lengthy walk-in, which included walking over the frozen loch to reach the crag, the pair arrived to see the climb in ‘acceptable’ condition, but noted that the ice was occasionally poor and the rock heavily rimed and verglassed.
The first two pitches were long and icy, with many screws bottoming out and average belays. The third pitch involved a crawling section along a ledge which gradually becomes narrower and more overhung, before wildly swinging across onto ice. They arrived at the fourth pitch in darkness, which involved an overhanging slot, but Tom couldn’t find much of the ‘good gear' that was mentioned in the description.
Tom commented: "Overall, it was a great day out and we enjoyed the route, particularly in the less-than-ideal conditions!"
Tom is sponsored by: DMM and Jöttnar
Uisdean is supported by: Mountain Equipment and TRAC Oil & Gas