Greg Boswell and Pete Macpherson have made an ground-up first ascent in Coire an Lochain, one of the hardest of its kind. The route, Siberian Tiger IX 10, follows a similar line to the summer route Siberia E3 5c.
Macpherson and Guy Robertson had seen an unclimbed line in the coire the previous week and were planning to attempt it the following day when they receieved a text from Boswell who was looking for a partner. Robertson led the first pitch, which is shared with The Vicar VII 8, featuring pumpy but positive hooking and good protection.
Once the team had arrived at the belay ledge on The Vicar, the rope were quickly sorted so that Macpherson could have an onsight attempt on the crux pitch. After bold and technical moves straight off the belay he made his way up a thin slab to what appeared to be a rest below the roof, which guarded access to a second blank slab above.
After spending some time trying to recover, Macpherson set off up the roof but an axe placement pulled and he was unable to replace it in time before the other also pulled resulting in an 11 metre fall onto the slab below. He gave the pitch a second ground-up attempt but decided to lower off the highest piece of gear with the recent memory of the fall in mind. In the end he was only inches away from being able to recover and potentially finish the route onsight.
The pitch then fell to Boswell who tentatively took the lead and discovered the first slab to be composed of extremely marginal hooks and the rest under the roof was not a rest. After failing to place any reliable protection higher than Macpherson’s last piece, Boswell committed to the crux. Having pulled through the lip and arranged some poor protection on the blank slab he climbed through to a reliable piece and eventually to easier ground.