On form Greg Boswell succeeded on one of the most prized objectives on Ben Nevis on March 6 when he made the first ascent of The Fear Factory (WI6R), the prominent hanging icicle on the lower part of the Little Brenva Face, with Guy Robertson and Hamish Frost.
The upper part of the hanging ice fang was climbed Dave MacLeod and Andy Nelson when they climbed The Snotter in February 2013. They ascended steep rock further right to gain the ice, but the prize of the complete ice feature remained.
“Finding an ice feature so distinct in Scotland is almost unheard of,” Greg told me. “Even in European terms, it would be classed as a big crazy piece of real-estate, let alone on Ben Nevis!
It was an absolute pleasure to reach the huge fang completely on ice. The climbing itself wasn’t overly physically taxing. The main difficulty was dealing with the delicate fang and the lack of protection – it was too dangerous to place screws in case it detached. In the end it was a 20m run out from my last protection to finally reach the safety of the easy ground above.
All in all, it was an amazing route and totally surreal to belay Hamish and Guy up the line after having climbed such an out-there pitch. We called the route The Fear Factory and opted for the Continental grade of WI6R as we feel this is the logical way to grade such an out of the ordinary Scottish route.”
Please could someone explain to ignorant me what W16R is?
(Incredible route, by the way–well done Greg, Guy, Hamish!)
Well done. A great addition to Scottish winter climbing and Ben Nevis. Strong in mind and body.