Greg Boswell and Guy Robertson have started the Scottish Winter season as they mean to go on, by making the first ascent of a two-pitch new route on ???'s Hayfork Wall, which they have named The Forge X/10. Greg onsighted the crux first pitch, spending 4 hours on the lead. Guy led the second pitch, which climbs through a steep roof above the headwall.
Existing winter routes on the wall include Silver Fox VII/8 and Wailing Wall IX/9. The Forge follows an obvious crack up the middle of the wall, which Greg says is comparable in style to Dave MacLeod's The Hurting XI/11 at Coire an t-Sneachda. Greg told UKC:
'I'd never been on An Teallach before. Guy had, but never on that wall. We knew there were two routes on the wall, one on either side, so it was the elusive middle section that everyone seemed to be avoiding that drew us in. It was a cool place to get to so early in the season. Everyone usually plays it safe with the odd route in the Northern Corries, but with the conditions not having really consolidated anywhere yet, we eagerly watched the forecast and opted to take the risk going NW when it looked like the most promising venue for a good, adventurous route.'
The Forge didn't go without a fight, however. From the beginning, Greg struggled to read the route, despite the obvious crack feature. He commented:
'It was like a bunch of hard mixed climbing boulder problems stacked on top of each other, with horrific feet placements and thin hooks. Each one getting steeper and with the crack worsening the higher I got. The gear was hard won as well. There were two occasions when I thought I was in for a long ride if my axes ripped from their teetering placements.'
Eventually, after 4 hours of grovelling upwards, Greg finally made the last heart-in-mouth moves to reach the belay ledge. He explained:
'I very nearly fluffed it at the end! By this point the weather had massively deteriorated and Guy had to second the pitch after his marathon belay session whilst getting consumed by a spindrift waterfall and horrific gusts of wind. The second pitch was no giveaway either, but was much more amenable than it looked from below. Guy went direct through the huge roof above then carefully made his way up the last tricky headwall above.'
Summing up the route, Greg added:
'It was an amazing climb and a really fun way to start the season off. I've got some cool plans for this season and it was good to get stuck in straight away, as they'll be up there with the hardest stuff I've done (if I do them). But thankfully all the training paid off on this occasion!'
Well you might as well jump in at the deep end and start the season with a bang! Yesterday Guy and I had an amazing day on the Hayfork Wall on An Teallach. All the forecasts pointed towards this area being in condition, so we decided to roll the dice and we made the 5 hour journey North on Monday night, somewhat sceptical but willing to try. Thankfully we struck gold! There was lots of stuff in condition in the area, but one line in particular stood out above the rest. The direct crack line straight up the middle of the Hayfork Wall. The route had two big pitches of 45m/40m and it took me the best part of 4 hours to climb the crux first pitch up the centre of the steep face. The climbing was very technical, super physical and had multiple boulder problem style cruxy sections along the way. I was over the moon to climb the route onsight, as it really did pack a massive punch and there was more than one occasion where I thought I was about to take a monster whipper, as axes ripped whilst I moved up on minuscule hooks and zero foot placements. 🤢 The second pitch forged its way through the huge looming roof above, that Guy dispatched with ease and continued up the last technical face as darkness consumed our surroundings. . ➖The Forge X/10 ***➖ . . . . #mixedclimbing #climbing #newroute #hard #scotland #scottishwinter #anteallach #forge #suuntoclimb #wearerab #scarpa #grivel . . . . @grivel @rab.equipment @seatosummitgear @suunto @scarpa_uk @lekiuk