A Trip Up Great Gully

On Thursday night Tim, John, Euan and I left Glasgow for Glen Coe to spend the night in the Creagh Dubh hut at the foot of the Buachaille. Over dinner and some beers we looked at the guide books to decide where to head the next day. After some deliberation the decision was made to head up Great Gully to the east facing buttress opposite Slime Wall, a wall I had previously seen on a visit to do the route “Bludgers Revelation”, but never climbed on.

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7am came and the mountain was lit by morning light with not a cloud in the sky. Today looked like it could be an excellent day! Tim and I set off from the hut almost immediatly, and John and Euan followed a few minutes behind.

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The walk from the hut to the bottom of Great Gully was quick, around 15-20 minutes. Once in Great Gully it becomes a mixture of scrambling and avoiding loose rock, an unplesant experiance. A further 20 mintures brings you to the bottom of Slime Wall and Great Gully Easy Buttress.

Unpacking quickly Tim and I geared up and set off to do July Crack. A short scramble to the grassy ledge of our first belay, Tim set off to lead pitch 1. He soon shouted that he had found a belay and shortly after I was climbing up to join him. Uppon arrival at the belay stance it was clear we were off route. I had watched two friends on this route the year before and this was not the belay I remember them standing on. I decied to finish directly up the wall and later in the day we realsed this route was infact Direct Route (VS).

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Next we headed for the Upper Buttress where we had out eye on doing Yam E1 5b. This was my first E grade in the mountains so I was slightly nervous beforehand. Tim took the lead and moved up the wide crack without to much trouble. I seconded to clean the gear, finding it pumpy in places. Decending back to the base of the crag we met up with John and Euan who had just climbed June Crack (VS). Now we decided to give Yammy E2 5b a go while John and Euan climbed May Crack, a 4 star classic.

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This time it was my lead and after finding Yam harder than I expected, I was in doubt whetheror not I had what it took to climb the route. The route takes a direct line via a series of cracks to a roof then traverses under the roof to a corner system where the climbing eases to the top. A few seconds after leaving the ground I was totally focused on the climbing ahead of me. Some of the gear was spread out, but almost everything was totally bomber. Traversing under the roof and into the corner I could see I had the route in the bag.  This was probably the most enjoyable route I have done this season. The climbing was excellent and the slab gives some great exposure on the high mountain crag.

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Before we decended back down to the bags in Great Gully Tim managed a quick solo of May Crack after John and Euan had expressed how great a route it was.  Back at the bags we each set out for one last route of the day. Tim and I did June Crack and John and Euan did August Crack. All in all a great day!

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