Greg Boswell on the second free ascent of Don’t Die of Ignorance (XI,11) on The Comb on Ben Nevis. There was fierce competition to repeat this line - over the last two seasons several strong teams have attempted the route with no success. (Photo James Dunn Visuals)

I have a long backlog of ascents to write up from last week’s BMC Winter Meet, but some posts just can’t wait…. Greg Boswell and James Dunn pulled off a coveted repeat yesterday (January 29) when they made the second free ascent of Don’t Die of Ignorance on Ben Nevis. The route which traverses around the steep front nose of The Comb to gain the attractive central groove system was first climbed by Simon Yates and Andy Cave in February 1987 and graded VI,6 and A2. In March 2008 Dave MacLeod succeeded in freeing the route with Joe French on his sixth attempt. The route was graded XI,11 making it the most technically difficult winter route on the mountain.

“I had a go at the on sight on Friday with Jen Olsen [a visiting US climber on the Winter Meet], but I dropped a tool mid crux,” Greg told me. “I then had another go but a small flake ripped after finishing the traverse. James and I went back yesterday and I got it first time with a fairly smooth ascent. The crux traverse was powerful and thin, but the icy wall above the crack was utterly terrifying with a good 10m run out above a dodgy hook. Some of the thinnest climbing I have ever done. A sterling effort for Mr MacLeod to free such an awesome line!”