Photo by Stewart Whiting
On 7 December Greg Boswell made the first winter ascent of The Demon (IX, 9) at Coire an Lochain in the Northern Corries, Scotland.
Despite an unusually mild December, winter climbing in Scotland has got off to an interesting start with a flurry of activity across the country. While there have been a series of first repeats and a handful of first ascents in the Ben Nevis range, according to Simon Richardson ofScottishwinter.com, the most important climb to date was carried out by Greg Boswell at Coire an Lochain in the Northern Corries where he made the first winter ascent of The Demon. In line with recent trends, this is a winter ascent of a summer climb; The Demon was established in 1983 on the No.3 Buttress and graded E2 by the first ascentionists Brian Davison and Andy Nisbet.
Boswell noticed the line a couple of years ago while climbing Happy Tyrolean’s and, after an extended period of ice climbing in Canada together with Nick Bullock, on Saturday 7 December he returned to the steep and imposing buttress with this in mind. With the rock plastered a pristine white, Boswell climbed rounded granite ledges past super technical, highly committing terrain to reach a belay, from where his partner Douglass Russell continued on up and in the dark to conclude the climb. The route has been graded IX,9 and Boswell’s onsight certainly stands out as a fine testament to the skill of this young climber whose personal highlights include the first ascent of To Those Who Wait (IX, 9) and the first repeat of Don’t die of Ignorance (XI,11, Dave MacLeod) both on Ben Nevis.