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New Year Beginnings

Date: 17th Jan 2009
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney

I was all fired up for a fresh winter's day climbing on Saturday followed by a lively discussion of the club's 2009 "to-do" list, but by the Friday the weather forecast was for strong blustery winds and heavy rain so I called it all off. Imagine my surprise, wakening on the Sat morn to blue skies over Derry! A quick call to George confirmed he'd made alternative plans but El Presidente Cooper was willing to risk a few hours despite the encroaching black clouds from the south at Culdaff.

Full of New Year resolution I was at the wall twice during the week and by the time Pete arrived at Dunmore at 11am I was all geared up and ready to lead the traditional 1st route of the year, Orange Blossom (HS 4b). 3 moves into it I wished I hadn't started. Cold cold rock was leaving me very numb and fat-fingered and as I belayed Pete up we were both feeling pain in the fingertips. McGrory's and a hot drink was suddenly VERY appealing.

Nevertheless I was curious about Finbar Wall, having never been round there, so after much blowing on the fingers we headed over the cliff tops. The routes round there are very short but great climbing. I led Redford Classic (S 4a) and can thoroughly recommend it, for the deeply solid natural pocket on the left, around midpoint, that you could swing all day on. Lovely route. Same goes for Inishtrahull to the right of it, which we both top-roped from the Redford anchor to save some time. Lots of natural pockets and great friction rock with a bulge in the middle to work around. The guide questions HS or VS? I found it easy on the day on a top rope so would lean towards the lesser grade but will reserve judgement for when I lead it.

The wind had considerably picked up by now and we were heavily buffeted as we made our way down to the packs again, stooping low to make ourselves less of a target. I wanted to head over to Black Perception (S 4a) to tackle a longer (and possibly more sheltered) route but we decided to squeeze in 1 more Finbar one. This was to be Dunmore Damage (S 4a), another nice but short. By the time I'd led Pete up it we had to shout over the wind.

The rain came in, we called it a day and got a grand soaking on the way back to the pub, where we sorted out a tentative meets list over coffee, hot chocolate and scones, with some telephonic input from George. We've sorted dates up to the MCI Alpine meet in July, but comments and suggestions are still welcome. I'll post the details shortly.

It felt fabulous to be out, the Xmas cobwebs were well and truly blown away. Great to have partnered Mr Cooper at last.

19 Jan 2009
Pete Smith

Now that's what I call a report! Get yerself off to the guidebook next to report your comments about the routes you did.

19 Jan 2009
Peter Cooper

"Aw shucks, you'll have me going red!" It was great to get out after what seemed so long, breaking the new year's back, in good company, makes for a fine few hours.

21 Jan 2009
Alan Tees

Good on yeh! I was on MCI diplomatic duty with the WAI in Dublin. Did Djouce in a hurricane!

Photo of Route