Sometimes I agree to things and immediately realise what a terrible decision I’ve made. In a way, this trip was one of those decisions. Leaving work in Edinburgh at 5pm for a full night of climbing in Glen Coe and returning back to work for 9am the next day, without sleep, was never going to be a good idea I suppose.
We arrived in Glen Coe at 20:00 as anticipated. With no time to spare, the bags were quickly packed and we set off for the bottom of Great Gully and began the scramble up toward Slime Wall. This wall has a reputation as being very intimidating and receives almost no sun. Bludgers Revelation is a classic 6 pitch Jimmy Marshall route that takes a prominent corner on the left hand side of the wall and from here the traverse pitch takes the rising ramps over to the bottom of the revelation flake. It can be easy to go off route or miss belays and most route descriptions seem to be rubbish. For this reason below is my interpretation of the route description.
1. 5a Climb to the base of the groove corner to the first belay, miss this and continue directly upwards through the slightly overhanging corner (crux) on good holds to reach a belay ledge.
2. 4c Move left off the ledge pulling round the corner, climb past the large spike and continue to belay on sloping ledge, miss this and move rightwards to gain the ramps. Move delicately up this on good sloping holds (bold) pulling over a small bulge and a few meters after this look leftwards onto the upper ramps for a block belay (easy to miss).
3. 4c Move right back onto the ramps and follow this traversing to the base of the obvious flake. Climb the flake on excellent holds with great exposure. At the end of the flake climb directly up 10meters to a small ledge belay.
4. 4a Follow the flake to a small ledge and the bottom of an easy groove. Climb this to easy ground.
We set off on pitch 1 at 9pm, aiming to have done the traverse pitch by the time it was dark as we knew it was bold. By linking the first and second pitch we were well on track to reaching belay 4 by dark, Luke seconded and arrived at the first belay around 10pm. I then set off again to link pitch 3 and 4. The year previous I had backed off pitch 4 due to the bold climbing. This year however my head was in the right space, and the climbing felt easy. Pulling over the bulge where I backed off last year, I knew there was no going back as the moves would have been to hard to reverse. A few meters further and I began looking for the block belay. I stood for a few minutes confused as to where it was, thinking that maybe if I continue on I would find it, although knowing that I could just as easily not find it and run out of rope. Luckily just before I moved off I decided to pull over right onto the higher ramp and with some relief I spotted it.
Setting up the belay and getting Luke up as the sun set I knew we had the route in the bag. It felt strange to be on Slime Wall in the middle of the night, something I would never even considered a year ago. It was now Lukes turn to take the lead on the exposed flake pitch. He was nervous and had a moment of hesitation near the top of the flake, doubting if he could actually lead it, shouting to me that I may need me to take the lead. Unknowing to him I was not going to let him down, so he’d better get on with it! With some words of encouragement he managed to pull through and find the next belay. A quick second in complete darkness and a short easy lead to the top and we had done it, topping out at 1am!
What a night! Back down at the bags by 2:30am and we were walking out as the sun was rising. The thought of work in a few hours was brutal but it was totally worth it!