All posts by Andy Tees

Great Gully Ridge

Whilst in Dublin for the weekend, Sarah and myself headed to Wicklow in search of some warm rock. We decided to avoid Glendalough due to inevitable bank holiday madness that would come with the great weather. Dave Flanaghan’s Ireland guidebook only lists a single route in Glenmalure, but it sounded like a good one, so we were all set.

Despite a treacherous approach through near vertical heather, the route is a great day out. Great Gully Ridge is 5 enjoyable pitches (could be done in 3 probably) on great rock, in a great situation above Glenmalure. Pitches 2 and 4 are more of a scramble, but the other pitches provide nice climbing, no harder than HS. An adventurous route with great views, highly recommended!

Andy

ggr2

Poisoned Glen

Kevin McGee, Geoff, George and myself met at the car park at the upper end of Glenveigh for some climbing at Ballaghageeha Buttress on Sunday.

With three of us having never climbed there before, Kevin assumed the role of local guide and crag expert.

Although the sun was making a good attempt to stay out, the crag was in the shade and the wind was blowing, making things pretty chilly…

Fittingly, George started with Patagonian Summer (HVS 5a), cruising it despite the frozen fingers. Meanwhile Kevin led The Mistress (currently HVS 5a), seconded by Geoff.

Myself and Geoff then both led Pebbles (HS), a decent route but without much gear and some serious run-outs… As someone later said ‘the gear is only there to stop your corpse from rolling down the face’.

The sun finally made it around to the front of the crag as George reached the top of The Mistress, followed with difficulty by myself. A cracking route, the difficult sections are interspersed with only marginally less difficult sections. In my opinion the route should be upgraded to E1 5b, as the difficulty is a step up from any HVS 5a I have climbed recently.

Kevin was on Tooth Fairy at this point, which appeared harder than anything else climbed that day, but still graded HVS(?). While the rest of us stood around in the sun taking pictures, Patrick and Adam Tinney arrived, fresh from attempting some other hard routes in a nearby gully. When Kevin reached the belay, we realised that someone needed to second him… Geoff wasn’t feeling keen, so George took up the challenge.

The Tinneys were starting on Patagonian Summer and George was making Tooth Fairy look easy as I left for the trip back to Belfast.

A good day’s climbing on a great crag that doesn’t see much traffic.

Andy

Dalkey Dash

With the forecasted rain/sleet failing to materialise in Dublin on Saturday, and Sunday morning still being dry, Sarah and I shook off our hangovers and headed out to Dalkey Quarry for a couple of routes on Sunday afternoon (as we happened to be the neighbourhood..).

We started off with Yorkshire Pudding (HS 4b), to clear out the cobwebs. We were then joined by some former UCD Mountaineering Club pals, Aoife, Dermot and John.

It was chilly enough with a stiff breeze blowing off the sea, so belay jackets were staying firmly on for climbing. Sarah and myself then did Fang** (HVS 5a), while Dermot led Oggie (S 4a).

After realising that the other side of the valley was in the sun, and would be sheltered from the wind, we headed across, and both parties led Street Fighter** (VS 4c) in much more pleasant conditions. After the UCD contingent did something else on the Eliminates Wall we decided that was enough excitement, and retired to Glasthule for coffee.

A fortuitous afternoon’s climbing considering the horrendous forecast for the weekend! Dalkey is a great spot, definitely worth a trip down the road for those located in Belfast, especially since you can escape easily to any number of climbing walls, gear shops or pubs if you get rained off!

Andy

Climbfest 2016 (29 April – 1 May)

Culdaff Climbfest is on the usual Mayday bank holiday 29th April- 2nd May. Culdaff continues to be the venue of choice for this event due, in part, to the availability of the superb indoor wall in Derry/Londonderry as a wet weather alternative. Last year proved difficult, not just because the weather proved disappointing, but Bunagee harbour was undergoing extensive renovation making access to the campsite problematic. The work is now complete, and in addition, the camping area has since been drained and reseeded.

The campsite at Bunagee will have a number of routes of various grades with pre-installed top ropes within 100m of the tents. Other crags such as Dunmore, Warm Bay Point, Dungloon, Malin Head and Port a Doris, are less than half an hour’s journey by car. (Dunmore Head is 5 minutes).

Fair Head is not much more than an hour away, using the Greencastle to Magilligan Ferry, should it receive funding and continue this year.

There will be the usual beginners’ session at Dunmore Head on Saturday morning, and the Saturday night barbeque and party. There will be a fee to cover camping, and expenses, with surplus funds going to the local community association to ensure continued access.

This is a good opportunity to enjoy the 450- odd quality easy and middle grade routes on Inishowen, in a venue just awarded the prestigious accolade as one of the 10 best beaches in Ireland.

Comprehensive online topo guides, covering all of the routes on Inishowen, can be downloaded here.

This event, the longest running climbing festival in Ireland, complies with the Mountaineering Ireland Events Policy, and ‘Leave no Trace’ Ireland.

AGM 2015

AGM 5.30 Saturday 3rd October. Geoff has suggested a session at the wall first, then take a room at the Arena (£8 each including tea and coffee) then maybe go for a pint and a bite in Derry. Possibility of outside climbing, instead of the wall if it is a dry day.
Come with ideas for days out during the winter, and suggestions as to how we take the club forward. Anyone volunteering for Secretary?
You are probably aware that the rugby world cup kicks off tomorrow, and McGrorys are showing the Ireland v Canada match with some sort of a meal deal. The forecast is good so what about climbing at Dunmore in the morning and those who wish to watch the game can adjourn to the pub.
I have a new route to go ( Margaret Quinn knows about this) and it soon will be too cold! All welcome- meet at Dunmore Head 10-10.30?
Floor space, or possibly a bed, available for anyone who wants to stay over.

Alps and Spaghetti Tour 2015

Faith in mountaineering now fully restored, after many recent washouts!
We ( Finbarr, Aoife, Fergus, Marg and self) hired a car at Geneva, and drove to the alpine meet in Saas Grund joining club members Cliona, Gerard, Andrew and Sarah, with Sandra and Dave arriving shortly after. There was a fair crowd of MI members camping in the sunshine, with Niall and family renting in the village. Some idiot came up with a plan to walk into the Amageller hut the next day, traverse the Dri Hornli Ridge, stay overnight, and do the traverse of the Weissmeis 4000m+ the next day. A bigger idiot ( me) thought it was a good idea. Reality kicked in when it took everything I had to make the hut, and the rest of the day to recover. Andrew and Fergus did the Weissmeis traverse, while Finbarr and self, with Gerard and Elaine and Sandra And Dave had a simply superb day on the Dri Hornli ( a cross between the Cuillin Ridge and Howling Ridge, but far better). The next few days saw the Allalinhorn, the Nadelhorn and the Jagihorn climbed, as we prepared for the Spaghetti extravaganza.
Friday saw Margaret and Aoife take to the TMR ( Tour de Monte Rosa), to trek to Gressoney from Saas Grund, while Sandra, Dave, Fergus, Finbarr, and self drove around via the St Bernard tunnel. Lifts took us to 3600m and a short trek to the Gnifetti Rifugi, which was jammed with people, it being the weekend. The atmosphere was jubilant and the food was fantastic!! In the morning we followed hoardes up the glacier, and Vincent Pyramid 4215m, Balmenhorn 4157m, Schwarzhorn 4322m, Ludwigshohe 4341m, and Parrotspitze 4432, fell to our weary tred, before we had to make the exhausting ascent to the highest hut in Europe, the Margarhita, at 4554m, atop the Signalkuppe. In fact the fourth highest summit in Europe is the toilet on the top (our) floor as there is a step up onto the throne. Thus, the saying ” I am going for the summit, and may be some time”. This exhausting day coupled with sleeping ( or not sleeping) at altitude, meant that we were down to three for the ascent of the Dufourspitze the following morning. We made the Zumsteinspitze in good time, but descending the knife edged snowy crest to the sattel was dry mouth time, and when Fergus’s broken wrist started to give him trouble on a down climb, we decided to give the alps’ second peak a miss, from that side.
The next day was the mighty Liskamm, and on Martin Moran’s recommendation we opted for the Cresta Sella. Getting to the satellite peak was unexpectedly tricky as the hot weather had melted any path of ascent, leaving steep ice, and necessitating placement of several ice screws. Getting down to the col looked problematic, and the ridge itself long and loose, so only two decided to give it a go. When the exhausted two returned down the ridge they were greatly moved to see that the other three had loyally stayed put to support them in their hour of need. It soon became apparent that the three were in fact stuck, the rope being much too short for the precipitous icy descent to the glacier on the other side, and the wise decision was made to remain put. Even with two ropes and placement of ice screws the descent was prolonged and tricky, with two abbs and a pendulum. 14 hours after setting out, the weary crew trudged onto the Quintino Sella hut. Amazingly, they were fed, despite being one hour twenty minutes late for dinner. I love Italy. This simply would not happen in France!!
Dave and Sandra decided to head down the next day, while Fergus, Finbarr, and self climbed Castor 4225m in just over 2 hours from the hut (about an hour under guide book time) then followed them down to Gressoney, where Marg and Aoife had just arrived. A fine celebratory meal out was had at the Flying Bra, followed by a rest day ( Dave and Sandra decided to go cragging but forgot to bring a rope), and the last day we walked over the Rothorn Pass enchanted by all the lovely alpine flowers we had denied ourselves by being up on the glaciers pretty much all of the trip.
Super trip, now I need a holiday…..

Update: Climbfest 2015

The Donegal Climbfest will be once again held in Culdaff on the 1-4 May 2015.

Camping will be available behind the pier as previously, with toilet facilities provided. Due to renovation work on the pier, parking will not be possible on the pier, but further back on the road to Bunagee. We hope to have access on the track up to the campsite, so campers can drive up, deposit their gear, and then park their cars back down on the road.

As usual, on Saturday morning there will be a beginners session, for anyone to come along and have a climb. Gear, belayers and instruction will be provided from Colmcille Climbers club members and Gartan instructors. The beginners session will be at Dunmore Head (out past the beaches).

At some point during the weekend, there will be a gear sale to raise money for the Nepal Earthquake (www.dec.org.uk/Nepal). Club members will be selling all kinds of used and less-used gear, please bring along anything you would like to donate to the gear sale. This will most likely take place in McGrory’s, enquire with Colmcille members on the weekend for more info.

Topo guides for all of the local crags are available for viewing and download from this website. The files are quite large, so get them downloaded to your smartphone before you head off! Paper copies will be available on the weekend.

Registration fee for the weekend is 10 euro.

The new climbing wall in St Columb’s Park in Derry is now open. At the moment, weather on Sunday is looking particularly bad, so it might be an opportunity to check out this brand new facility!