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Date: 24/04/09
Submitted by: Iain Miller

The Sabaoth chimes tunes of burlesque and insanity.

And so began a loooong journey into the unknown, noble brothers Martin Bonner and Andy Mcinroy, and so we began the quest.

Met Andy in Ardara, and as usual he was carrying a large burden of his photography toys and thus we were three.

Grid Reference 613889 was our rather random parking place, and together we trudged the 4km North over Slievetooey. Now I don't like to use the word rain but it came close to rain in the "dense cloud" walk in. A spot of pea soup navigation and we were on the cliffs tops overlooking the beast. Gull Island is a monster stack and it's landward face holds an arete of biblical proportions.

"Should go at V Diff!" was the battle cry, spider sense was tingling!

Andy scouted the clifftops for photographic purposes, whilst a stake was hammered in and a static rigged for the steep grass descent.

Gabriel and his arch angel, falling ever downwards through the fires of pandemonium to arrive in the dark deserted depth of hell.

The boulder beach at the base of the stack, monster seas crashing either side of us, we stood in awe for some time, this was surreal.

To business, the first pitch took a very deep corner crack for 30m with a solitary reasonable gear placement. (a skinny peg) A traverse of faith and a ramp was followed to gain the arete. An equalized three peg belay constructed in poor, poor, poor rock. Pitch 2 was another 50 mtr pitch this time excellent scrambling with a modicum of atmos up the arete to a fallen block belay. The third pitch climbed another 50mtr to the summit over ground which perhaps the esoteric connoisseur would consider "mixed ground." One of the moments in life where you are truly in the moment.

And thus we were re-united on the summit! HURRA!

The summit is the size of a football pitch and we ambled about gathering blocks.

The descent involved 55m abseil off a stake and cairn belay to a cam belay on the arete. A shpot of guile and we were at the tri-peg belay at the top of pitch 1 and thus we tentatively descended the last 50mtr to the beach.


In the mid afternoon sun the beach was now a much less demonic place to be and all that was left to do was reverse the loooooooooong inward journey.

A point to ponder, is 9 hours car to car for a single route socially acceptable?

Massive thanks to our eye in the sky, Noble Brother Andy Mcinroy, next time sir, we go Subterranean!


25 Apr 2009

Rock is the Devil's work and he wants you to rebel.

26 Apr 2009
Andy McInroy

Iain and Martin, thanks for inviting me along to witness the lunacy. I was glad of a safe clifftop to capture the action. Some of the photos I took can be seen here. The closer in actions shots will be completed shortly

26 Apr 2009
Pete Smith

I wish you wouldn't mention death so often in your route descriptions.

30 Apr 2009
Anthony Feeney

Are there any unconquered sea stacks left? Or is that a closely guarded secret? ;)

30 Apr 2009

You don't 'conquer' a sea-stack, do you? You climb it and get off alive if all goes OK. Like an 8,000m peak...but smaller.

Photo of Route
Gull Island - The landward arete.