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Poisoned Glen

Kevin McGee, Geoff, George and myself met at the car park at the upper end of Glenveigh for some climbing at Ballaghageeha Buttress on Sunday.

With three of us having never climbed there before, Kevin assumed the role of local guide and crag expert.

Although the sun was making a good attempt to stay out, the crag was in the shade and the wind was blowing, making things pretty chilly…

Fittingly, George started with Patagonian Summer (HVS 5a), cruising it despite the frozen fingers. Meanwhile Kevin led The Mistress (currently HVS 5a), seconded by Geoff.

Myself and Geoff then both led Pebbles (HS), a decent route but without much gear and some serious run-outs… As someone later said ‘the gear is only there to stop your corpse from rolling down the face’.

The sun finally made it around to the front of the crag as George reached the top of The Mistress, followed with difficulty by myself. A cracking route, the difficult sections are interspersed with only marginally less difficult sections. In my opinion the route should be upgraded to E1 5b, as the difficulty is a step up from any HVS 5a I have climbed recently.

Kevin was on Tooth Fairy at this point, which appeared harder than anything else climbed that day, but still graded HVS(?). While the rest of us stood around in the sun taking pictures, Patrick and Adam Tinney arrived, fresh from attempting some other hard routes in a nearby gully. When Kevin reached the belay, we realised that someone needed to second him… Geoff wasn’t feeling keen, so George took up the challenge.

The Tinneys were starting on Patagonian Summer and George was making Tooth Fairy look easy as I left for the trip back to Belfast.

A good day’s climbing on a great crag that doesn’t see much traffic.

Andy

Culdaff International Climbfest.

 

Culdaff International Climbfest.

 

Well, that what it was.  We had citizens of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Iran, Wales, England, Scotland, (and probably a few I have forgotten) with a much higher proportion female than ever before.

 

The beginners’ session at Dunmore started late due to morning rain, but was well supported with 40-50 at the crag.  It was getting mobbed, so I took a group of 12 who arrived from IMC around to Finbarr wall, which was sheltered and sunny.  There were other groups at Brasil Rock etc at the same time.

 

The top ropes at Dunowen were a great success, maybe we could setup more next year?

 

It stayed dry for the barby for a change.

 

Sunday also started wet, but cleared after 9.00, and Pinnacle bay and Brazil got a lot of traffic, before the forcasted rain arrived about 3.00.  People were pretty climbed out, so some packed up and went home, while others went to McGrorys for a bite.

 

Just a few climbed (plus a couple of late arrivals) on Monday, which was bright and blowy with a few short sharp showers,  before the site was cleared.

 

We are missing two kiddies body harnesses, possibly a DMM harness of Anthony’s, a pair of green rock shoes belonging to Valli, a screwgate belonging to Gerard, and I have a couple of harnesses I don’t recognise in the kit bag + a 9mm rope possibly Geoffs.   Let me know if you have some of this, or are missing anything.

 

A concern was people not wearing helmets, particularly belayers.  Whilst the routes had been mostly checked for loose rock, you can never be sure, and particularly so when the climber strays off route.

 

Thanks to everybody who turned up and helped, the feedback I got from all our visitors was great, they all loved it.

 

Finding Climbfest

For those that haven’t visited Climbfest before here is a little guide of how to find the campsite and most of the top ropes.

Bunagee pier can be found by taking the R238 right through the village then turning right over the bridge towards the filling station. Carry on along this road for a mile or so then turn right at a sign for the pier. A further mile brings you to the pier. Please remember to park tidily as this is a still a working fishing pier.

The Saturday morning session is at the main crag at Dunmore Head. This can be found by following the shore road from the village.

Dalkey Dash

With the forecasted rain/sleet failing to materialise in Dublin on Saturday, and Sunday morning still being dry, Sarah and I shook off our hangovers and headed out to Dalkey Quarry for a couple of routes on Sunday afternoon (as we happened to be the neighbourhood..).

We started off with Yorkshire Pudding (HS 4b), to clear out the cobwebs. We were then joined by some former UCD Mountaineering Club pals, Aoife, Dermot and John.

It was chilly enough with a stiff breeze blowing off the sea, so belay jackets were staying firmly on for climbing. Sarah and myself then did Fang** (HVS 5a), while Dermot led Oggie (S 4a).

After realising that the other side of the valley was in the sun, and would be sheltered from the wind, we headed across, and both parties led Street Fighter** (VS 4c) in much more pleasant conditions. After the UCD contingent did something else on the Eliminates Wall we decided that was enough excitement, and retired to Glasthule for coffee.

A fortuitous afternoon’s climbing considering the horrendous forecast for the weekend! Dalkey is a great spot, definitely worth a trip down the road for those located in Belfast, especially since you can escape easily to any number of climbing walls, gear shops or pubs if you get rained off!

Andy

Climbfest 2016 (29 April – 1 May)

Culdaff Climbfest is on the usual Mayday bank holiday 29th April- 2nd May. Culdaff continues to be the venue of choice for this event due, in part, to the availability of the superb indoor wall in Derry/Londonderry as a wet weather alternative. Last year proved difficult, not just because the weather proved disappointing, but Bunagee harbour was undergoing extensive renovation making access to the campsite problematic. The work is now complete, and in addition, the camping area has since been drained and reseeded.

The campsite at Bunagee will have a number of routes of various grades with pre-installed top ropes within 100m of the tents. Other crags such as Dunmore, Warm Bay Point, Dungloon, Malin Head and Port a Doris, are less than half an hour’s journey by car. (Dunmore Head is 5 minutes).

Fair Head is not much more than an hour away, using the Greencastle to Magilligan Ferry, should it receive funding and continue this year.

There will be the usual beginners’ session at Dunmore Head on Saturday morning, and the Saturday night barbeque and party. There will be a fee to cover camping, and expenses, with surplus funds going to the local community association to ensure continued access.

This is a good opportunity to enjoy the 450- odd quality easy and middle grade routes on Inishowen, in a venue just awarded the prestigious accolade as one of the 10 best beaches in Ireland.

Comprehensive online topo guides, covering all of the routes on Inishowen, can be downloaded here.

This event, the longest running climbing festival in Ireland, complies with the Mountaineering Ireland Events Policy, and ‘Leave no Trace’ Ireland.

Sunny Spain

After a winter indoors the flying four of Gerard, Seamus, Kevin and Geoff set off to enjoy the delights sunny Spain. Or at least that was the plan.  The weather had other ideas. An atrocious forecast for the Siurana area saw us heading south to Alicante. A last minute phone call from the Ryanair check-in queue and Gerard had found great accommodation in Finestrat. Our plan was to stay in that area for a few days then head for the hills but the weather changed our plans once again and so we stayed where we were.
The climbing was always great and we did sometimes see the sun. We visited a different crag every day with styles ranging from the steep pockets of Gandia to the slabbier Sella.

Spain 18

Other attractions were Alcalali, Guadalest, Reconco and Olta. Gerard and Kevin romped up loads of 6b+s and Seamus and I managed many 6a s. Altogether a great week -same time next year lads?

Crag Cleaning at Dunowen

Got a good crowd on Sunday.  Access paths cleared, Bogged til the Oxters, cleaned by Damien, Jericho, Thessalonians, Utmost Good Faith and Aries cleaned by Jim, Andy, Yours truly and Frank. The crabs Claw climbed by Margaret etc plus ascents of a number of routes.  Plenty of sunshine on top, alas in the shade below.

Donegal Guidebook Launch

The Board of Mountaineering Ireland and in association with Donegal County Council have great pleasure in inviting you to the launch of the Rock Climbing in Donegal Guidebook.
This is the latest Mountaineering Ireland published guidebook covering the rock climbing found around the sea cliffs, sea stacks and mountains ranges of Co. Donegal. The author Iain Miller has spent the past nine years exploring Donegal making the first ascents of over 400 rock climbs and 50 previously unclimbed sea stacks. It is with this indepth knowledge of rural Donegal that he has selected and documented the climbs within this guidebook. What this guidebook will provide the first time visitor and the more seasoned Donegal climber alike is a lifetime, and indeed several lifetimes of outstanding world class rock climbing in some of the most beautiful, remote and unspoilt places in Ireland.

MI October Meet Glendalough

Had a great weekend at the MI October gathering in Glendalough. I am not a fan of the Wicklows, but reluctantly have to admit the rock climbing in Glendalough is superb. Did a couple of routes on Hobnail Buttress, Pyramid Route and Hobnail Chimney, with Jack Bergin, both excellent, and the 5 pitch Great Gully Ridge** with Jack and Maeve. I think it deserves***. Bloody cold though.