My Highlights of 2007
Submitted by: Peter Cooper
Being a selfish climber (is there any other kind?) you never get to climb as much as you want to and with a new ‘wain’, Eliza Rose, added to the brood, 18th December 2006, climbing activity was not as prolific as it could have been.
Still, a tally of new climbs only in the region of 25+, this year, and about the same number for being 2nd or 3rd on the rope for other folks new routes isn’t too bad. Hell, I even got time to climb other peoples’ routes and a spot of kajaking too! What would a good year be like?
April saw a club visit to Muckish.
I’d wanted to climb the wall next to ‘Thera’, this proved to be blank; it had looked otherwise in the guidebook’s photo. Still what the photo didn’t show was the gorgeous arête to the left. The line is lovely: steep, exposed and committing. Alan Tees, kind friend that he is, prompted me to take-a-loan of his helmet so that there were less bits of me to carry back down. Geoff Thomas ably held the ropes and then ably swore at me, lots, when he got to the top. Bill Mcgowan kindly put some thoughts about its' on-sight ascent onto the on-line guide. This line became ‘Quemadero’ (E2 5a) and it could be a 3 star route, I’m eager to learn what the, eventual, second ascensionist thinks.
The 3rd Culdaff Climb Fest, in May, went really well. Plenty of folks turned-out from around the country and this year there was a sizeable party of old friends from (my old home) Leeds. Lots of "eh-ups" "nay real ales???" and "ow-dos tha wassock?" could be heard in the bars of Culdaff, and that was just the folks from Dublin town. It was rewarding to assist Alan with the production of the Climbfest and its mini-guidebook. I even got to design the t-shirt; hence everyone looked so sharp and stylish: ok a step-up from a tramp. And, as nobody else has stepped-up to the challenge, after, almost, 8 years, I re-climbed ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ on The Waterboys Slab at Bunagee; adding a new direct start. New climbs, by various, guilty, parties, in the Finbar wall area of Dunmore Head were done too late to be included in the new guide but are to be found in the on-line guide. It’s nice to be putting Alan’s most-up-to-date guidebook out-of-date: with him.
My first, climbing, trip to Lough Belshade was a revelation, hell of a wet walk-in but what a venue. Got several very nice new lines done with talented ‘new-kid-on-the-blocs’ Michael Hassan, who only started climbing at this year’s Climbfest; but climbs well beyond what you’d expect. I’m already looking forward to his logbook reports next year. Can’t wait to get climbing there again, hopefully returning the new-route rope-holding favours to Michael.
I was fortunate enough to get two trips onto Owey this year, not much on the new route front to report but what a blissful place to just ‘chill-out’. The ‘Nordkapp’ route is a recommended route, I think it gets 1 star, it should get 3 and is definitely not less than 2. One route Dave, Valli and myself did was the ‘Millar, Schafer, Cooper Route’, this was supposed to just be an escape route but turned into a high quality 2-pitch adventure; it’s not in the on-line guide yet as we need to do a proper description to help you find it.
Malin Head: Skildren Mor was the untapped find of the year.
Alan Tees and Marty McGuigan found the main face, which cannot be seen from the land, and started to explore its possibilities: particularly with their route ‘Phoenix’. Dave Millar, a basking shark and myself had a memorable paddle around this stook, see logbook report. The following day Dave and myself got 2 dream routes in the shape of ‘Tutter Nablets’ and ‘Muintear Na Mara’; one after the other. Both climbs are E1, though very contrasting routes and I would suggest nothing less than 2 stars for either; we left the stook, via a swim, buzzing! It has occurred to me that these could be Ireland’s most northerly extremes, surely that’s worth a trip?
In December I attended a meeting with Paul Dunlop and learned about the valuable work that’s been going on to try and secure a new regional climbing wall for Derry. When it finally comes about this facility will provide a great leap forward for climbing standards in the North West of Ireland. Paul noted that, “Derry, at one stage, was Ireland’s Sheffield”: in respect of its’ concentration of highly talented climbers. Now isn’t that an exciting future prospect to consider?