Climbs 100
Rocktype Granite
Altitude 750m a.s.l
Faces NE

The Hanging Gardens of the Cairngorms © hwackerhage

Crag features

This huge, imposing cliff stretches for over a kilometre and gives excellent mid/upper grade routes, of up to 300m. The collection of extremes on Central Gully Wall is unrivalled anywhere else in the country.

With the demise of Cougar's third pitch, the most popular routes are Cyclops, Black Mamba, Goliath, Mousetrap and King Rat. Voyage of the Beagle is the pick of the mid-extremes and Cannibal and Origin of the Species are ones to test you when you've honed your granite weirdness skills. Routes to tempt instead of Cougar include Vampire and Alice Springs (when its dry!) or a link up of Sous les Toits, P1 of Sans Fer and then Masque for lots of E2 climbing up the full height of the cliff. The harder routes, despite some of them receiving little traffic, seem to stay pretty clean and a dearth of logged ascents shouldn't put you off. There are some exceptions where going armed with a brush might be advised - Flodden (although it did get ascents in 2014) and Range War (first pitch possible to by-pass - see guide). Some pegs are now absent or in a poor state. For Perilous Journey this may be problematic but for others, including Naked Ape, there is no change to the original grade.

Some parts of the cliff take a while to dry out, notably Broad Terrace Wall, but other parts, including much of cliff from The Shetlander through to Raptor dry out relatively quickly and will not be affected by an odd day of rain in an otherwise dry spell. The Buff Slabs seem to dry quickly as does the smooth barrier wall on False Gully Wall although wetness may be encountered higher on the routes. If there really is nothing dry, there is always Eagles Rock with a few excellent slab climbs.

Winter climbing at the Dubh Loch has seen a bit of a resurgence in recent years with a whole host of ice routes to be recommended on Broad Terrace Wall. These sit just along from the already classic Labyrinth and Hanging Garden Route. Giant also came fleetingly into condition in 2013/14 and can probably be added to the sought after Goliath for routes that only come into condition every 30 years - time will tell. Vertigo Wall seems to be fairly regularly in condition and may be a good early season target following a cold spell. Ice is a theme that links all these routes.

Approach notes

Taking a bike to cruise along the smooth track on the North side of Loch Muick makes the approach pretty pleasant. The walk in from the end of the loch is short and steep on a good path and is quite scenic with waterfalls and wee crags and birch trees dotted about. So no whinging please. Then the cliff appears and your jaw drops, particularly if its your first visit. 

Most routes, including Cyclops and Black Mamba, are best approached by walking along the North side of the Dubh Loch and ascending to the routes from the base of the Central Gully talus fan.

Those approaching from the South could consider parking at Glen Clova, cycling up towards Bachnagairn, climbing over the flank of Broad Cairn to drop into the Dubh Loch from above - potentially you could suprise an Aberdonian by beating him to the base of his route this way.

Cycled in from the car park at the Spittal of Glen Muik to just past Glas Allt Shiel. Definately the way to do it. Great trip. Great crag.
climberuk - 20/Sep/09
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Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
1Valentine's ButtressI/II 2
 South-East Buttress 
3Souls on Fire
-
IV 5 * 
4Dark SoulsIV 4 *2
5South East ButtressM 3
6South East ButtressII *3
7South East Gully
-
I **22
 Broad Terrace Wall 
9The Snow DesertV 6 2
10Eye of Allah
-
E3 5b, 5c **2
11Alice Springs
-
E2 5c ***8
12The Bedouin
-
E4 6a **1
13The Last Oasis
-
VS 4c *2
14The Last Oasis
-
VI 6 ** 
15Take the ThroneVII 6 ***2
16Mirage Variations
-
E1 5a *1
17The Sword of Damocles
-
E2 5b ***3
18The Sword of Damocles
-
VIII 9 ***2
19DevolutionE6 6b **1
20Range War
-
E4 6a ** 
21Range War (winter variation)X 10 ***1
22Flodden
-
E6 6b *** 
23Culloden
-
E2 5c * 
24CullodenIX 9 ***1
25Defence of the RealmVII 7 ***2
26The Sting
-
VII 6 **4
 Hanging Garden 
28The Aqueduct
-
V 4 3
29Bower Buttress
-
V 5 4
30Yeti
-
V 4 2
31Hanging Garden Route (Left Fork)
-
V 4 28
32Labyrinth Left-hand
-
V 5  
33Labyrinth Direct
-
VII 6 40
 Central Slabs 
35Labyrinth Edge
-
IV 5 1
36Dinosaur/Pink Elephant
-
HVS 5a **13
37The White Elephant
-
VII 6 **1
38Blue Max
-
E1 5b **27
39CyclopsHVS 5a ***108
40Slithy Tove
-
E3 6a *2
41Black Mamba
-
VS 4c **122
42Theseus Grooves
-
II  
43Buddha
-
E7 6c **2
44Central Gully Buttress
-
II 4
45Central Gully
-
I ***44
 Central Gully Wall 
47Treeline GrooveIV 5 *2
48Sabre Cut
-
IV 5  
49The Shetlander
-
E6 6c ** 
50The Wicker Man
-
E3 6a **9
51Vertigo Wall
-
VI 7 ***13
52Vertigo Wall
-
VS 4c * 
53The VapouriserVIII 8 ***3
54Gorilla
-
E6 6b ** 
55BombadilloE4 6a **2
56The Israelite
-
E4 6a **1
57Goliath
-
HVS 5a **76
58 The Giant
-
E3 6a **11
59The GiantV ***3
60The Naked Ape
-
E5 6b ***10
61The Origin of Species
-
E6 6b *** 
62The Ascent Of Man
-
E5 6b ***2
63Perilous Journey
-
E6 6b **1
64Hybrid Vigour
-
E6 6c *** 
65Cannibal
-
E6 6b ***2
66Voyage of the Beagle
-
E5 6a ***15
67CougarE3 5c ***50
68Vampire
-
E2 5b **9
69RaptorE2 5b * 
70PredatorHVS 5a * 
71The Mousetrap
-
VS 4c ***180
72Dubh Loch Monster
-
E1 5c **16
73Black DiamondE4 6a 3
74King Rat
-
E1 5c ***123
75Waterkelpie Wall
-
E1 5c *2
76GulliverE2 5b 2
77Cayman
-
E2 5c *4
 Buff Slabs 
79Bare
-
E5 6a * 
80Stark
-
E3 5c * 
81Buffy
-
E6 6b ** 
82Naked
-
E4 5c **2
83The Holiday Boys
-
E3 5c * 
 Sous les Toits 
85Sous les Toits
-
E2 5c *3
86Forte Declivite
-
E5 6b * 
 False Gully Wall 
88Masque
-
E2 5c **1
89The SnakeE4 6a **2
90Fer de Lance
-
E6 6b *** 
91The Improbability Drive
-
E6 6c *** 
92Slartibartfast
-
E5 6b ***1
93Magrathea
-
E9 7a ***1
94An Spearag
-
E6 6c ** 
95Sans Fer
-
E4 6b **3
96Iron in the Soul
-
E4 6a ** 
97Sans Fer / Iron in the Soul
-
E4 6b ***5
98Falseface
-
E2 5c *3
99The Gathering
-
E3 6a * 
100The Quickening
-
E4 6b * 
 North-West Buttress 
102North West Gully
-
II **20
103Jezebel
-
E3 6b * 
104Baal
-
E5 6a ** 
105Late Night FinalHS *4

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