Creag an Dubh Loch - Black Mamba

Following on from the hard winter I was skeptical that the mountains would dry out in time for me heading to the alps in June, especially the high cliffs of the Cairngorms. Managing to get out on the lower crags and sea cliffs a few times, I was climbing well and hoped to get on some bigger mountain routes. Thankfully the weather played along and getting home at the end of May from a final work trip reports were around of a bone dry Dubh Loch.

Creag an Dubh Loch

Dave got home the same day and on the back of a fantastic forecast we rushed in the next day. We cycled in along the north side of Loch Muick and left bikes and bothy kit at Glas Alt Shiel before continuing up towards the Dubh loch and it's mightly cliff. Reports were correct and most of the cliff was dry so we headed for 'Black Mamba' a 300m VS on the central slabs.

Dave led up the short first pitch which boldy followed a thin crack up steep slabs with little to no protection, the crux of the route for sure. I led through on a fantastic pitch up grooves to a comfy belay. Another lead each and we found ourselves at the start of the terrace. From here we lost the route and Dave led a very steep diagonal traverse to the bottom of the quartz corner. I led the final fantastic pitch through the corner and on to the edge of the plateau.

Dave on the first pitch of Black Mamba

Upon topping out we decided to go for a wander over a couple of the nearby munros, Cairn Bannoch and Carn an t-Sagairt Mor before dropping down past the Dubh Loch and back to the bothy.

Topping out

After a night at the bothy we headed back up to have a look at another classic. 'The Mousetrap' is shorter but harder and after a bit of messing around due to routefinding and fatigue, we abseiled off and wandered out.

Great to finally get a big route done on the face, one of the tallest in Scotland. I'll be back in for Mousetrap amongst other things for sure. One of my favourite places in both summer and winter.


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