Dave MacLeod has made the first ascent of a stunning granite crack line near Kintra on the Isle of Mull, which he has graded E8 6c and named Ice Burn. The 20m crack has been touted "A mini Requiem on granite" and involves stern laybacking and finger jams with a crimpy finish.
Due to the curtailed Scottish winter-climbing season, Dave headed to Mull following a tip-off from Michael Tweedley about some potential new lines. Writing in his blog, Dave described the stand-out line:
"I started trying the crack which was amazing. I’m not really a crack person, so it felt like 8a+ to me and would definitely be a good sustained fight. None of the individual moves were that hard but I could just tell the last few metres would be exciting after very sustained climbing and placing all those cams."
After spending a few days figuring out the sequence, it turned into a waiting game for conditions:
"Although I had several days in hand, I was anxious as always to get my chance to try it. The perfect week of weather had unfortunately proved not quite perfect - under the thin layer of inversion cloud, some drizzle was forecast. And one stubbornly seeping hold in the crack looked like it could scupper the whole thing unless it got sun and wind on it."
Rolled-up kitchen towel proved vital for drying-out the seeping hold, and on Saturday an evening breeze with cool conditions allowed for a successful battle with the route:
"At the last cam, my right arm was burning. But I actually felt like I had enough strength to deal with it and was able to step up a gear and bear down on the final crimps. With a shout I leapt for the top of the crag and there was no way I was letting go."
"First trad route of the year, and a belter it was too. Ice Burn, E8 6c. Tomorrow I have one more day to look at another hard sounding trad project before it’s back to bouldering mode. I have three Scottish bouldering projects I want to try in the next two weeks. One 8A+ and two 8Bs, and then it will be time for me to drive to Switzerland."
Dave also managed a first ascent of a neighbouring E6 - Grasas Saturadas - as well as a first ascent of a F7C boulder problem - High Heidyin - also at Kintra.
Check out Dave's blog about Mull.
More photos and a short clip of the route can be found on Chris Prescott Adventure Photography's Facebook Page.