Edinburgh-based Will Bosi (19) has made the coveted first repeat of Malcolm Smith's Hunger 9a at the Anvil on the east side of Loch Goil. The line was established in 2010 as Scotland's first 9a and is a link-up of Dave Redpath's Fire Power 8b and Dave MacLeod's Body Blow 8b+.
The Anvil is a freestanding boulder with three steep sides, which is difficult to find in good condition. The route is 25 metres long and about 60 degrees overhanging. In order to avoid the two hour walk in, Will opted to take his bike to conserve some energy for the route.
Will is consolidating his list of 9a ascents, having completed three so far:
- Rainshadow, Malham Cove
- Hubble, Raven Tor
- Hunger, The Anvil
In addition to these confirmed 9as, last year Will also ticked two 8c+s that were formerly 9a - Jungle Speed and A Muerte in Siurana, Spain.
Why Hunger? When did you first set your sights on it?
I first set myself the goal of climbing Hunger about 6 years ago when my dad bought me the Scottish Sport climbing guide. I pretty much went through the whole book in a couple of days and was so inspired by the Anvil. I did as much research as I could online and knew straight away I had to climb this route. I set it as a life goal and didn't expect to climb it anytime soon.
How much time did you spend on it? Tell us a bit about the process of working it.
It took four days in total but for two of those days it was pouring with rain and conditions were awful. Last year I had a four day trip where I tried it for the first time. I got really close on the first day but that night the weather took a turn and it didn't stop raining for the rest of the trip.
It was a last minute decision on Friday to head in as the weather looked good.
Is Malcolm Smith a bit of a hero of yours? You've repeated a few of his routes/ascents now.
Yes! The wall I spent the most time at when I was younger was where he used to train. I still remember some of the problems he had set which just looked impossible. Although I never met him there he really inspired me and I've always been drawn to his routes as many are unrepeated or have very few ascents.
Are you keen to get into first ascents in the future?
Yes very, I love trying unrepeated routes because there is still some mystery about them. The clear next step is to move towards establishing the routes myself. Unfortunately I currently don't have the time or rock to do this.
How did Hunger feel compared to other routes at your limit that you've done?
It's very hard to compare as the route is much steeper than the other hard routes I've done. The grade breakdown is a short 8b into a short 8b+. Which doesn't sound so bad, but what makes it hard is the 8b+ starts with a Font 8A boulder. I think the hardest part is just getting the weather to try it, before midgey season arrives!
9a+ or 9b next?
9a+ and soon!
Will's latest hard ticks have been documented by Paul Diffley of Hot Aches Productions, for a feature film called Whiz Kid.