Greg Boswell Fights For Scotland’s Hardest Winter Climb

The ceiling of difficulty in Scottish winter climbing just got a little higher.

And I do mean “ceiling.”

That’s the rock formation Greg Boswell’s Bring da Ruckus centers around, with harrowing exposure and a XII 13 difficulty rating — the country’s highest ever.

Boswell announced the first ascent on Tuesday. The exacting climb, five days before, had given the veteran climber all he could handle. Leading out the two-meter-deep roof on sketchy ax placements with gear far below was one thing. But powering up the headwall above on even worse purchase and more exposure was another.


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“This is where I really had to dig in! The minuscule footholds disappeared beneath a blanket of white and my arms and hands were feeling annihilated whilst I frantically searched for axe placements to make upwards progress,” Boswell wrote on Instagram. “This is the beauty of winter climbing, and what I love so much about it. It might look like it’s easing up, but it could just be getting started!”

Boswell stuck with it on the headwall to secure the first ascent, even after succumbing to falls lower on the route on two previous attempts, according to Planet Mountain.

Other climbs at the Scottish winter grade of XII exist — like Dave MacLeod’s Anubis (XII 12), which Boswell repeated in 2019. But until Bring da Ruckus, no one had proposed a technical grade of 13 for a winter climb.

“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,” Boswell said.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.