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Date: 5th/6th August 2006
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney
Since my last attempt at getting to Gola was thwarted by heavy seas, I was looking forward to getting over, seeing all the bods from IMC and getting some nice climbing done. There's a certain romance in travelling over on the boat and roughing it for a few days but that trek to the campsite can be a killer. How can 1 adult and 3 kids need so much stuff for 2 days?? I heard that the IMC members got someone with a tractor and trailer to carry their stuff over. That's cheating surely!

Anyway Saturday was a late-ish start (11am from Dungiven) because the weather the day before was awful and I was in two minds about going. Got the 3 o'clock boat over and met a fella Owen (Eoin?) going the same way. Since we were both late starters we teamed up and headed straight for Buzz Lightyear (HS 4b) , my favourite Gola climb but my first time leading it. I got us both down to the ledge and up safely, enjoyed leading the route immensely. Scanned around for another route and found The Beautiful (HS 4b) and led that. Neither was a problem for Owen who was a beginner. I was then nearly persuaded to lead a VS 5a by a fella Gerry who reckoned it was a new route. His description of flaky rock and the ever increasing wind put me off the notion and we retired to camp for the usual bonfire and beer.

There I met up with Niall, Alex (the fisherman), Gaby and Sonia and we bantered the night away despite the lashing rain, taking turns to dry the side of us not facing fire. Not unlike Malin Beg we went to bed when the fire died. Next morning myself, Niall, Gaby and Sonia headed for the inland crag. I fancied Corner Boy (HS in the guidebook but VS on the website?) but it was very wet so the only other thing in range was Weathered Window (VS 4b). My first VS lead started badly when I began too far left and had to traverse, deal with rope drag etc. Finished it nicely though with a lovely layback move near the top, to the sounds of yells and cheers from the girls below (not really). Niall made short work of it and the girls pretended to have a tough time, though Sonia had time to pose for a photo at the crux. They managed well for a couple of shorties. :)

Gaby and Sonia had to go, a long drive ahead of them. A French girl Edviche? had turned up and wanted to lead to same route so Niall belayed and then I seconded it. Found it much easier 2nd time round having just led it. Afterwards we headed over to the Gripple Wall and I led Jean A Cheval (S) through a very narrow chimney that Niall and I both had a tight time in. Edviche led Sea Eagle (HS) and once more the day was nearly over, having to catch the last boat at 7pm.

One thing about Gola, you know you've climbed there from the myriad nicks, cuts and scrapes the rough rock leaves on your skin. Note to self: wear longer trousers next time.

Photo of Route