Last Thursday Greg Boswell and Guy Robertson made a first ascent of the six-pitch ‘Holy Grail’ on Slime Wall, Buachaille Etive Mor in Gencoe. They followed 2 pitches of Raven’s Gully before establishing a new line directly up the face and through the roof of the Great Cave. The Scarpa pair were ecstatic with what was a successful attempt on a long considered route. The icing on the cake was experiencing some of the best winter conditions a mountaineer can hope for in Scotland!
Guy Robertson: “This line has been nestling in the back of my mind for years – it’s a well-known objective, but I think the apparent scale of the route with such obviously hard climbing quite a long way up the cliff has probably put folk off. That and the fact that Slime Wall itself bizarrely just doesn’t seem to receive any attention these days (it certainly deserves more).”
Guy: “Everything was perfect for us on the day – good snow and ice helping on the less steep lower pitches, and the whole underside of the Great Cave and headwall plastered white. An unusual combination. As is often the case in this modern internet-enabled age we benefited from some first-hand information imparted to us the day before – a couple of Greg’s mates had been up to try Raven’s Gully. We were going to go there anyway, but this really sealed the deal.”
Greg Boswell: “The route was out of this world, a really special day! It was home to some straightforward enjoyable climbing but also some crazy hard and technical, yet just as enjoyable pitches. It was cool to finally get climbing on Slime Wall and it was even better to do a big new route through the long-awaited Great Cave. We will struggle to top that day this winter, but we’ll sure try!”
Guy: “It’s not often I get to watch Greg suffer in my wake, so I took some pleasure in watching him lurch and wretch his way up the crux roof behind me! To be fair, he did have a bit of a snuffle, pour soul. Of course, none of that stopped him from blasting up the last pitch in the dark – good sustained tech 8 and 9 in its own right. The route name is derived from the fact that the line, the climbing, the situation and our good friends from the Creag Dubh Mountaineering Club all combined to make this a really special day – you just don’t get many like this in a lifetime of winter climbing.”
Scarpa Mountaineering Boots