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Creag an Dubh-loch

Creag an Dubh-loch.   Photo: Scott Muir

From a skiers point of view, the large north facing granite cliff of Creag an Dubh-loch is dominated by the wide slot of Central Gully.  With the foot of the cliff relatively low, the runouts may often be too rocky to justify a descent, but if there's enough snow, it's a superb place to ski.  Central Gully is the main objective, but South-East Gully is a worthy companion.  There are also a couple of gullies on Eagles Rocks, facing Creag an Dubh-loch that look straightforward in the right conditions.

Approach

The most logical approach is from the Glen Muick car park.  If the landrover tracks are free of snow, a bike will considerably ease the effort required to get to Glas-allt-Shiel.  From there, the most direct approach is following the obvious path up to the Dubh-loch itself, which gives a fine view of the face.  Less convenient (and longer) approaches can be made from Glen Doll, or the Invercauld bridge on the A93

Relevant Weather Forecasts

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Relevant Avalanche Forecasts

There is one relevant Scottish Avalanche Information Service forecast for Creag an Dubh-loch.

This deep, wide gully is an obvious target for skiers.  With a cornice that is usually passable on the skiers right, the angle eases immediately below the cornice providing lots of room to make turns at a relatively mellow angle.  There are some huge boulders guarding the mouth of the gully, and due to the low altitude, they are rarely covered, so be aware of that when descending. 

Looking back up Central Gully, April 2013  Photo: Scott Muir
Approaching the rocks at the mouth of the gully, April 2013  Photo: Scott Muir
Looking down into Central Gully, April 2013  Photo: Scott Muir
Negotiating the rocks at the mouth of Central Gully, April 2013  Photo: Scott Muir
The lower section of Central Gully, April 2013  Photo: Scott Muir
The upper section of Central Gully, April 2013  Photo: Scott Muir
Grid Reference: NO232825

Approximate Start Height: 970m

Approximate Descent: 300m

General Aspect: North

Climbing Grade: I

Notes: Easy for the grade
 

A shorter, narrower and more difficult companion route to Central Gully, South-East Gully is less often in condition from a skiing point of view.  In lean conditions, it is a narrow runnel of ice, and requires a reasonable build up before being in condition to ski.   The entry to the gully is likely to be intimidating, but should be possible a few metres below the entrance to the gully on the East side, by traversing back in above a small drop to below the cornice.  Once in the gully, it is narrow, but straightforward, with a little steeper section lower down, before opening up onto the debris cone below.   

South-East Gully, taken from the Dubh Loch  Photo: Scott Muir
Looking back up South-East Gully  Photo: Scott Muir
Looking down South-East Gully.  Photo: Scott Muir
The entrance to South-East Gully on a misty day.  Photo: Scott Muir
Grid Reference: NO235822

Approximate Start Height: 940m

Approximate Descent: 200m

General Aspect: North

Climbing Grade: I

Notes: Steep entry, then narrow, but straightforward.
 
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