Category Archives: Logbook

An entry in the CC logbook

Owey September 5th – 7th

The weather continued to do as it was told so Marty, Valli and Alan paddled over on Friday evening while I caught the boat with young Dhonail at the helm. Also on board was Mauritz, a young German hitchhiking surfer that Valli found.
Saturday dawned windy and cloudy but dry so once Ivan arrived we all headed off. A bit reluctantly at first, thinking there may be a bit of shivering to be endured. By the time we reached the fluted wall area though the sun was shining. Marty and Alan picked Promethius, a great looking line. A real classic and a photographers’ dream, a three star route probably. If it was in Cornwall this would have climbers all over it. Ivan and I headed down to the seaward end of the opposite side of the zawn and put up a couple of new lines – steeper than they looked! Lovely and warm in the sun though and out of the wind. The day ended with a mass ascent of Darcy, which is again a real classic up a fine slab, worth at least 2 stars.
Sunday was another sunny day and we headed back to the same area. No new lines were climbed but Alan did explore a few lines. so still plenty to do on the Island. Ivan and I climbed Promethius, posed for photos and confirmed its classic status. A bit freaky going down to the hanging belay but ok once the solid cams in place!
Marty again paddled home with Ivan and Karen, while I guarded the luggage. We left Alan and Valli to enjoy another evening A great weekend and I can’t wait to get back, even if it may be next year now.

Highland Fling

Martin Boner and I met up in Glasgow airport and off we went to Fortwillian (Bill’s Fort). It was a nice journey up but that all changed when we woke next morning to persistent drizzle. Nonetheless, being the foolhardy souls that we were we headed off to see if anything was possibility on Ben Nevis. By the time we got to the CIC hut – we were soaked through. So we opted for a reconnaissance of Observatory Gully. A challenging struggle up the scree slope but were rewarded with close up views of all the major lines. (It didn’t rain all the time – just most times). What made it worthwhile was that the small glacier in the upper region of Observatory Gully had melted underneath and it was possible to walk under it. We came across submerged waterfalls that came directly from 0.5 Gully and other main climbing (drainage) lines. We had a close up inspection of Dave McLeod’s climb on Echo Wall – hey major respect.

Saturday wasn’t that much better so off we went to Glencoe. Martin had it in his mind to climb the South Face of A’Ceallaigh. There was much vertical heather to cling to but there were short rock obstacles as well. The dry one’s were good fun but the wet faces were avoided by the line of least resistance. When we got to the upper cliff tier, the rock provided very enjoyable scrambling with a nice finish. Neither of us fancied downclimbing the almost vertical heather so we opted for a ridge walk to Am Bodach (Start of the Aonach Eagach ridge) and a descent from here. At least I we can say that we have now completed the Aonach Eagach Ridge from start to finish.

Sunday was home day but the sun shone and we thought we had enough time to climb North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mór in Glencoe. We started out at 9.30am and were on the summit by 1.00pm. A highly recommended must do climb. Most books describe it as a scramble. However, it’s steepness and exposure is very sustained right from the start. There are 4 identifiable pitches but really the entire route is one very long and sustained pitch. In my opinion, it is more serious than Curved Ridge and would certainly challenge the difficulty sections on Agag’s Groove. Others will have their own opinion but sure that’s OK too. For us, it was a fantastic outing on an iconic mountain. Total time from A82 Carpark to summit and back to carpark was 5 hours. We even had time for dinner in Tyndrum on the way to the airport. Youtube video in 2 parts

North Buttress – Part 1:

North Buttress – Part 2 :

The Anointed One

PJ, Thomas , Margaret and self went to Scotland to prepare the way for the great one, one whose destiny was about to be fulfilled. To pass the time before the coming, Margaret led me astray, to pay homage to the unworthy, a mere Corbett of such nonentity and remoteness, as to not justify the last trudge through the mist and drizzle to its miserable highpoint. ( PJ and Thomas wisely did Sgurr Donail on the Ballachulish horseshoe).

So demoralised was I, that I could venture no further than the retail wilderness of Fort William Main street the following day.

Spirits recovered on Thursday and we had a fine walk over the Grey Corries range, bagging a number of summits including a couple of new Munros for me.

On Thursday evening, the great one and his disciples arrived, to set up operational headquarters in Witherspoons.

As fortold in the scriptures, the day arrived, with the multitude gathering in Glen Nevis in anticipation of the great event.

Heavenward, they rose in unison ( except the old and decrepid, who took the cablecar round the back) up the flanks of the Lochaber giant to the summit, where the great one gained enlightenment, and joined the ranks of the celestials- (Margaret and Jimmy). Nectar was in great supply ( and Dungiven paintstripper), before the multitude floated back to earth on a airborne chariot, sort of.

Celebrations went on into the night, but in the morning there was light, and it was good.

They sought the celestial tower, and after much labour, privation, (and dehydration) the faithful came to the gateway.

But there came amongst them, a false prophet, Finbarr, who leadeth them ashtray, and they forsook the anointed one, so it came to pass that the first became last and the last became first. And the lord sent a cloud to separate and confuse the pilgrims, and it worked fairly well, but the faithful prevailed and reached the promised land, some eventually, and indeed they came upon great multitudes milling about looking for salvation, or the way down.

But gettin down was another story. ( Revelations 2, V17).

Margaret did another Corbett.

Trials and Tragedy in the Alps

Trials and Tragedy in the Alps.

The only things of note I did in a month in the Alps this year, were the traverse of the Pelvoux with Fergus, and the Gran Paradiso. The former was great, but make sure to bring enough rope to make 40m+ abseils on descent, as the glaciers have retreated substantially. The second week of the MI meet at Ailefroide wasnt actually that bad, but Courmayeur was more unsettled ( although the campsite was excellent).

I didnt actually see the Gran Paradiso at any stage, thick cloud and light rain/snow prevented any level of visibility, but we got to the top thanks largely to Anthony’s GPS and the new GPS compatible map ( does this mean my alpine map collection will have to be replaced?). Needless to say, as soon as Fergus, Ant, PJ and self got back to the hut, it cleared up. This was the story in 2014, the weather was unsettled, capricious, and the forecasts entirely unreliable.

Still, we came back safely. Sadly others didn’t!



Great trip, many new climbs (some destined, perhaps, to become classics). See guide book later for details. Also kayaking and kite flying (don’t ask). Good to see Valli, Ivan and Martin Boner. Great help and hospitality from Dan Betty Gallagher et al. No trip to Owey now complete without a visit to The Donkey’s Pelvis (provided you have the head, stomach, liver and stamina).


Gola Sunshine

PJ and I got word that Ivan Krella, Dave Millar and Kevin McGee were heading to Gola for the weekend and arranged to meet up for the 11 o’clock boat. Jimmy’s ship seemed to have shrunk a bit as he was driving (sailing?) a 5 man rib that took 2 trips to get the 5 of us and our gear across. Turns out he still has the big boat but some churlish bugger got him in trouble with the law, taking a picture of his overloaded boat and ended up with him having a €1750 fine, so he uses the small one as and when.

It pissed down all the way from Derry but, as is the way with Gola, once on the island things were merely a bit cloudy while the mainland got drenched. We set up camp and, after a bit of difficulty with Ivan’s one-man conundrum of a tent that took four of us to sort out, were off to the walls.

PJ and I settled for Mhachaire na nGall wall and did Bootleg , Wendy Raindrops and Alan’s line (all Severes) before joining the boys on the main wall for something a bit harder. While Ivan and Kevin had a go on Ship Wrecked (E2) we abseiled down Kept Woman with the plan to do Metric Tonn or The Plagiarist (both HS). We didn’t account for the tides though, couldn’t access the climbs and ended up back on the main wall for Lunch Money (HS). A cracking wee short route, very technical move in the middle as the corner leans out, exactly what you don’t want it to do!

So it was teatime and back to the camp for the usual cooking and fireside shenanigans, involving large quantities of beer, Guinness, wine and Czech poteen. There were a bunch of Queen’s students there too, on the tail end of a 10 day trip but they kept themselves to themselves and left the rowdiness to the older generation. Maybe they’d run out of supplies by that point? We took full advantage of the beachside fire ring they’d built though, a lovely spot to spend the evening.

Hangovers intact we headed to the walls again next day, the boys doing Asgard, Ceol na Maire and probably other E2s while PJ and I tried to decipher the descriptions for the routes on the east wall of the Narrow Zawn. We finally gave up and headed to the old staple Gripple Wall and a run up Pride Of Gola (S).

The blue skies finally arrived though I’d been pretty well toasted the day before because of the light cloud cover. So we rounded up the day with a rattle on Gripple Wall, a supposed VDiff that had a testy bit on the middle more reminiscent of HS routes.

We retired to the harbour to soak up the sunshine as we waited on the boat and got chatting to the Strabane Ramblers, many of whom were having a swim, and who’d enjoyed a day out touring the island. They knew PJ somehow, name-dropped Marty McGuigan and were well aware of Climbfest.

Once again Gola didn’t let us down, it’s always worth the trashed hands from the granite to sample such fine climbing and scenery. Unbeatable.


Eglish. Chilly apiece

To Eglish with Alan T. Great first day excepting horrid walk in (not long, but tussocks, hags, pipes, streams, glar etc. etc.). We got Incy Wincy on way in, a perfect slab we couldn’t pass (955 844) and on arrival explored a previously unclimbed buttress, now designated Emelyn Buttress (957 889). This gave us Gift Aid and Philanthropist – see online guide. Finished off with Twp Paghals and a Spraghal, excellent route – A. Tees and V. Russel. Stashed gear for return the following day – a mistake: conditions as per photo. Home. Still plenty more to do.

St Paddys Cairngorms tour

Sandra and I headed for Cairngorms for St Paddys week, a couple of hills climbed behind Newtownmore and then a days skiing/ ski mountaineering on Cairn Gorm , digger at top digging out Ptarmigan
Restaurant which was completely covered, then days cycling around Glenmore due to mad winds up high,
An Socach near Glenshee and a final day on Mount Keen. All repeats for me but Sandra now passed half way mark.

Extreme Gardening

Hailstones were bouncing off the road as I left home. I put my climbing gear in the car just in case the weather might fair up. I arrived at Culdaff at about 10.30 and the sun was shining. I was surprised to find some people already there working like beavers. The purpose of the exercise was to clean the crag and the paths at Dunmore Head, Culdaff in preparation for the climbfest which is held every year on the first weekend of May, the Mayday bank holiday. About ten of us were there, all armed with weapons such as hedge clippers, slashers, billhooks, pruners, scrapers and brushes. Alfie Conn brought the heavy duty stuff, a two stroke hedge trimmer. Ivy, clay and sods of grass rained down from the crag. Alfie and I decided to clear the path from the bottom of the crag to the top. Alfie went in front with the hedge trimmer and I came behind and cut the branches that were too big for the trimmer. Our teamwork was nearly as good as when we are climbing. Alfie’s a dab hand with the hedge trimmer but I made sure to keep my hands back incase I lost a few digits. Everyone took a break for lunch and we sat around in a circle with sandwiches and flasks. A guy called Andy who has just started outdoor rock climbing was there with a brand new MSR whisper lite petrol fueled stove. Now, I have a passion for stoves and the snore of this little machine was music in my ears. This baby can boil a litre of water in three minutes compared to other stoves that take four minutes. You might think one minute would not make much difference but for George Carlton that would mean he could get another route climbed in the minute he saved boiling the water. Anyone who has climbed with George will know what I mean. At these lunch breaks you need to be able to tell a good story and some climbers excell at this. Gerard O’Sullivan can make leading a severe sound a bigger epic than the first ascent of K2. After lunch Andy, who was now energized on super noodles, wanted to lead a route so I agreed to belay him. Andy led the route well and I followed. To use ones knee in rock climbing would be considered bad technique. I didn’t think anyone would see me so I used a sneaky knee to help me over the crux. Hawk eye Tees saw me and I suffered a bit of banter as a result. To finish off the day Alan Tees invited us back to his house for tea. As usually Alan and Margaret made us very welcome in their home. Alan put the kettle on and one of the climbers cut a cake that he had baked. The cake was set on the table and nine of us circled round the cake like wolves around a fresh kill. Someone said, just help yourself, and the cake was gone. I can’t be a hundred per cent sure but I think Maeve McKeever took two pieces of cake. Well I suppose she deserved it as she cleaned two routes all by herself, hanging on her harness for ages. Well done Maeve By this time it was six o’clock so we said our goodbyes and left for home. I really enjoyed my day, good weather, good company and a good job done cleaning the crag and paths. It was good to meet up again with friends I hadn’t seen all winter and I’m looking forward to the Climbfest. Hope the weather is kind to us. Trevor.

MI AGM Weekend

We were represented by our chair, Geoff, Dennis, Gerry, Margaret, Maeve, Valli, Ivan, Maeve was elected to the MI board, congratulations to her, as CCC continues to punch well above its weight in the national mountaineering scene (I was kicked out).

Saturday was dry, but the crag at Happy Valli was wet (no wonder after the winter) so we top roped 4 routes. As well as Geoff, Valli, Ivan and self, we had 2 from the Hanging Rockers, who had never climbed outside before. Geoff was convinced they would be put off it for life, but they were made of sterner stuff, and really enjoyed it (so much they are coming to the climbfest). Karl Boyle (MI CEO) also climbed, and was hugely impressed by both the crag, and Valli’s hospitality during the rugby match. In fact he was quite hard to shift out of Valli’s kitchen and back to the MI meet. Happy Valli has now a powerful friend. Martin and Mary joined the party.

There was the usual dinner and stuff, and the AGM and workshops in the morning, and in the afternoon we did King’s Gully, yet again, in the wet. Always worth doing.

Finbarr joined the party. On Monday, we went up Glenade, behind Eagle Rocks, a lovely walk in lovely conditions. A very spectacular place with huge cliffs, I’ll post a couple of pics. Spotted a really dramatic place for a tent, with a abseil descent. Look out for Extreme Camping coming to a website near you!