There has been a lot of controversy around Black Mamba lately, so I’ve been a little hesitant to post anything about it, but I would like to say a few things, mainly just about the route itself and climbing in general.
The original route with the three bolts went at 5.12a PG, still very much a trad route. Without the three bolts the route became a pretty heady R rated climb, it’s amazing that it even goes. Some of the gear you get isn’t the best and some is pretty far between. However, it encompasses a lot of what I look for in a route, hard, technical, and exposed climbing. Only amplified by the bolts having been removed. Being able to climb through the runouts and small protection and focus solely on the climbing is an amazing feeling, and I’m extremely proud to have sent Black Mamba entirely on gear!
With that said I’m still very interested to see what the future has in store for this route. It is a hard Seneca classic and I think anyone climbing the grade should climb it! As much as I like bold runout routes, I’m all for accessibility in climbing and I am by no means against the bolts going back up, ideally in their previous holes if possible. Why attempt to change something already so good?
Seneca holds a very special place in my heart and it always will, It’s been a little over 10 years since my first trip to Seneca and I’ve learned a lot, met tons of great people, and overall really enjoyed being apart of the climbing community. I hope we can continue to make Seneca a better place for everyone, and focus on what really matters. It’s easy to forget why we climb, but it’s to have fun, to challenge ourselves, and to spend time with friends! So appreciate every chance to go climbing, I know I do!
Thanks @the__tgh for taking all the sweet photos of @taylorpisano and I! It was a wild ride!