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Sacred Donegal Ice

Date: 10/02/09
Submitted by: Iain Miller

In the midst of time and farther back than most can remember a sacred fable of Donegal climbing lore was born. The secret was kept to the few within the inner circle for generations, rumours and "leaks" were quashed and denied.

 Fast forward to 2002 and Noble Brother Alan Tees released to the masses, what many had fought to keep sacred and secret. The mystic fable of Donegal Ice, and as fate had decreed since publication of the mighty tome, no ice has shown.

 Again we fast forward to Feburary 2009, armed with the knowledge contained within the Mighty Tome, I began the Quest, the Quest for the mystical Donegal Ice.

 Woke very early in the morning to the glorious sight of hard frost in the garden, RESULT, day and night 5 of sub zero temperatures.

 Passing through Dungloe on heavy frosted roads all the way to Lough Barra, toys in the boot and Metallica on the MP3 player, things don't get much better than this! :-) Arrived at Lough Barra and with an absolute minimal of faffery sorted and bagged the toys and began to boot it up the huge coire between Crockfadda and Slieve Snacht. From about the 230m contour a hard frosted crust on the snow ment crampons on and pace increased. Alas the first 2 waterfalls were still liquid and a quick desision was made to continue to the......................AND LO.................

 Three converging falls on the East face of Crockfadda, frozen solid! RESULT!

 Arrived at the lowest point of the frozen stream and began to front point up the series of steep steps and large frozen platforms for 60 or so metres. I kept a direct line up the centre of the convered falls as this was the thickest ice and led me to final wee steepening and onto a large ice plinth.

 At this point, a brief pause for thought and the second tool was unleashed from it's captivity of the rucksack. Thus I was now fully armed to do battle with the 60m of near vertical ice between me and the horizontal world above.

 The following 10mtr groove/corner turned out to be the crux, wide bridging and mucho tool shenanigans in the fragile water ice, and HURRA, I was now on a superb wee stance above irreversable ground and looking up at a further 50 or so metres of superb solid ice steps leading to terra firma. Turned to face out onto the coire and loudly let planet earth know, I was indeed having fun! :-) Silence was thankfully the response and so I tooled and pointed my way up the immaculate ice to the horizontal world. 

 Once on the horizontal, I was now out of the shade and into the baking sun! HURRA! Tools away, shades on, adjust smile to maximum and return to Lough Barra.

 Exshellent Mish Moneypenny! :-)   


12 Feb 2009
Anthony Feeney

Slow down man! You're giving the rest of us an inferiority complex. :)

17 Feb 2009
Alan Tees

You are indeed blessed. There was no trace of ice in Glenveigh the day before! The water running down the back of the ice (and the inside of your arms) really adds to the experience, and when you extract the pick, it squirts out into your eye! Happy memories, only hope I'm not too old next time it freezes!

Photo of Route
Morbid Angel - Route climbs direct through the center Fall.