|Date: 10 April 2010
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney
With April having been our "summer" for the past few years, the good weather meant climbing was definitely on the agenda this weekend. Alan had pointed out Kinnego Bay just around the next headland last week and it reminded me of an hilarious report by Pete Smith of his exploits with James "Psyclone" Boyle and the route Forked Lightning VS 4c. Excellent reading.
I've hankered after doing this route for years but somehow Kinnego never makes the diary. Now neither PJ nor I knew the way to the climbing area but we stumbled left from the beach in the early afternoon sunshine across boulder after boulder with an 8 year old Eoin in tow. Our only map was a penciled drawing in an ancient "Supplement to the Donegal Climbing Guide" which must have been 20 years old. We tried to decipher the stacks and coves depicted in the drawing, which included a half-sunk Spanish Galleon but unfortunately there were no ancient ships poking out of the sea to guide us. It took a phone call to our esteemed webmaster to confirm we were actually staring at our desired route.
After a quick picnic in the beaming sunshine (who remembers snow 2 weeks ago?!) we went over to the Black Wall and by process of elimination figured we’d found Pan (S 4a) on the far right. I scooted up this easily and PJ quickly followed. From the pinnacle we started to wonder about getting down but it seemed better to just continue climbing up. A 2m down-climb behind the pinnacle left us below an obvious crack. From the online guide this seems to be to the right of Young Whymper and may be a new line if anyone can confirm. Felt about VS initially (especially after a hand hold gave way!) and finished up the grassy blocks.
Having warmed up now it was time for Forked Lightning whose start is tricky enough to reach from the boulder field. Once gained though the route doesn’t look as vertical as it does from further away and that took away some of the nerves. The crux is definitely the bulge at the start but superb holds mean you can place some protection confidently before moving quickly up. In theory. In reality I faffed and tired myself trying to place a hex before changing to a overcammed friend that required a later abseil to retrieve. One past the start though the crack’s edges and flakes on the face give you all the holds you need before finishing with a grin from ear to ear. A lovely, lovely route. One of the best.
PJ confirmed the route’s qualities and after I abseiled for the cam we climbed up over the headland through masses of gorse to get back to the car by a long and winding route. Might have been easier to reverse the beach route. El Presidente Cooper had been promised some McGrory’s company but our late start meant it was 7pm and time to head home. May the good weather continue!
12 Apr 2010
You took me on a trip down memory lane there. I've just been re-reading the _Psyke reports from 2001. Can't believe it all happened 9 years ago! The website - and the internet - have changed a bit since then.
13 Apr 2010
Psyclone is alive and well and living on Facebook! I was sure he'd have dropped himself on his head by now. :) http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/james.e.boyle?ref=ts
13 Apr 2010
His name's James? You learn something every day.
20 Apr 2010
22 Apr 2010
Entertaining reading as always