Scottish winter climbing: Greg Boswell and Jeff Mercier highlights and new routes

Cùl Mòr. Setting off "Overwatch" (XI,11) ©Frost-Boswell-Mercier

Mountain guide and PGHM rescuer for almost 25 years, Jeff Mercier is still sharing his passion for ice climbing and high difficulty mixed climbing at the age of 53. This January, he roped up with Greg Boswell, one of Scotland’s leading mixed climbers, to repeat and pioneer a series of routes in some of the country’s finest spots. Jeff Mercier tells the story of an activity that is demanding and rustic, and not forgetting the Boswell phenomenon.

He has the face of someone who has gladly battled frost and wind every day for a week. Jeff Mercier has the smile of a satisfied man, rubbing his head with his hands still swollen from having gripped the ice axes.

At 53 – don’t remind him if you see him – Mercier is still living his passion for ice and mixed climbing to the max, this time shared with Scottish phenomenon Greg Boswell and climber-photographer Hamish Frost. Little-known spots, Greg’s van and every day a ‘fight’ in the wind and snow, repeating or setting off… hard, typical routes. Interview.

Snow, wind, clogged and often rounded cracks, micro holds or worse, hard mixed Scottish climbing at its best. Here setting off FlyBy (IX,9) at Cùl Mòr. ©Coll. Mercier/Boswell/Frost

Alpine Mag: Jeff, we know about your passion for long mixed climbs in the Mont-Blanc massif, when you were based at the PGHM in Chamonix, and then for climbing glacier runnels and overhangs. But you also travel for ice climbing in Canada, mixed