Scotland's First 9a! Malcolm Smith, Hunger

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Malcolm Smith on the first ascent of Hunger at The Anvil
Photo Mark McGowan
Malcolm Smith
Photo Mark McGowan

A new standard in Scottish sport climbing

Malcolm Smith has completed the last major project at the Anvil, linking the crux of Fire Power into Body Blow, with the result being Scotland's hardest sport route at 9a.

When Malcolm first tried the line, two years ago (because the start of Blood Diamond was seeping), it was so cold that he was blowtorching his hands to get them warm, and they became numb hanging from the rest before the crux. During the second half of June this year he began working the line in earnest, but the weather went to the other extreme (by Scottish standards, at least). Wednesday at last brought cool and windy conditions, and he closed the deal. Malcolm spent seven days on the route this year.

After he completed Blood Diamond, Malcolm initially doubted whether the Fire Power start would be worth 9a, but - as it turns out - it is. These routes perfectly suit Malcolm's style, being steep and powerful. Hunger is four metres of easy climbing to a good rest, then a two-move Font 7c+ boulder problem. After this, some easier but reasonably athletic climbing leads leftwards to a strenuous rest at the start of Body Blow, where Malcolm stopped for a couple of minutes. Straight above this rest comes the crux, which is a two-move Font 8a boulder problem, and then a shake-out on a jug, followed by an 8a (route grade) to the lower-off. An absolutely stunning piece of power endurance climbing.

So, that's the Anvil more-or-less climbed-out - time to find a new crag, Michael!


Reported 7th July 2010

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