This is an updated version of a previously published news piece, with additional information and photos.
Greg Boswell and Jamie Skelton have made the first ascent of Scotland's hardest climb, Bring Da Ruckus, XII 13, on Shadow Buttress at Lochnagar.
The route was climbed ground-up, with Boswell onsighting the upper headwall after having climbed through the 'monster roof' on his third attempt. Whilst the route had been on Greg's radar for some time, it took some encouragement from Jamie and Hamish Frost for Greg to commit to taking it on.
The end result, Bring Da Ruckus XII 13, marks new winter climbing territory. Whilst Scottish XII routes have been climbed before (including Greg's own Banana Wall XII 12, the second of the grade), this is the first time that the technical difficulty of the hardest section of climbing - indicated by the second of the two numbers - has reached 13.
Taking to instagram to share the news of the climb, Greg said:
'Yesterday Jamie Skelton, Hamish Frost, and I walked into Lochnagar without any real plan. When we got to the col and looked into the Coire, we saw the crags looking good and instantly decided it would be good to get on something fairly interesting. I'd like to say I don't succumb to peer pressure easily, but when we reached the bottom of Shadow Buttress and I stated that the monster roof was on my radar to try this season, they both egged me on and I eventually decided it was worth giving it a go'.
'Long story short, after two all out battles with the huge roof and some moves of a difficulty that I've never come across in Scotland, I eventually found myself on the headwall on my third attempt of the day. Surprisingly though the climbing didn't let up and it was a painstaking battle, including the last move, which I very nearly messed up. A final sting in the tail!'
'It was awesome to get on something of this difficulty without knowing anything about what was above. Climbing the route ground up and swinging through the roof on blind, scrittley pick placements, not knowing remotely what was above was a real mental battle! As I belayed Jamie and Hamish up the pitch, we were listening to the sound of avalanches ripping down the Coire to either side of us'.
'We were safe, due to our route choice, but as the light faded and Jamie set off on the second pitch, there was an ominous feeling from the booming ruckus in the darkness, from snow ripping down the gully lines off in the distance. Once safely back at the bags it was big smiles and tired arms all round! What an adventure!'
'The sustained nature of this route and the power packed and blind crux roof puts it above every other high grade route I've climbed in Scotland. The grade range is very open to suggestion in the upper reaches of the Scottish mixed climbing world, as there are few very hard routes and it's all down to personal experience, plus the style in which we approach the climbs has a huge effect on the grade. But for the ground up or onsight is how I prefer to grade. Until people repeat these routes, it's all a bit of a guess. "Bring da Ruckus" XII 13'.
This is Greg's third hard FWA this season. In mid-December he and Guy Robertson paired up for the first winter ascent of the Nihilist, IX 9, and later that month the same duo made the first winter ascent of Vortex, X 10. Check out the links below to read up on both of these ascents:
Bloomin' Henry Greg! For a minute I thought you were just climbing on a single pink rope with no gear in the roof. You're taking Scottish winter climbing in an amazing direction.
Proper legends! Amazing effort.
Chuffin’ heck that looks wild!!!