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Crag Profile: Winter Routes.

Details of the crag can be reviewed below. Editing links are present on all routes and inter-route notes


If you get good winter conditions in Donegal you are privileged indeed, and either very lucky or very patient.  Usually temperatures have to be below zero for 5 days consecutively, and down to -5 at night,  and a dump of snow can spoil it all.  You then have to drop everything, and brave the inevitably appalling road conditions to get there, for be assured, it wont last!   The 2002 Donegal guide gives guidance on page 322/323 of where to go.  The three main areas are Derryveigh (Poisoned Glen, Croloughan, Horseshoe Valley, Glenveigh, Sl Snaght) where the wetness will give the best chance of ice, the Bluestacks (again granite, with some big waterfalls), and the Donegal Highlands, which are dryer, but give routes with a more alpine feel.  The first proper winter climbing I am aware of, was done in the Horsehoe Valley in the early seventies, with barely a couple of new routes  logged  anywhere in Donegal each decade since that!   There  again, many of the easier outings will probably not have been recorded, but anything above Gr II is unlikely to have been climbed previously, due to the dearth of winter climbers, inaccessibility, and lack of appropriate tools.

Scottish Winter Grades 1-VI

Grade 1. Climbs for which only one axe is required, either snow gullies around 45 degrees or easy ridges.

Grade II. Axe and hammer are required because of steep snow, a difficult cornice, or a short ice pitch. Difficulties are usually short.  The ridges are more difficult, but usually still summer scrambles.

Grade III. Similarly technical, but usually more sustained than Gr II.  Sometimes short and technical, particularly for mixed ascents of moderate rock climbs.

Grade IV. Steep ice requiring some arm strength, from short vertical steps, to long pitches of 60/70 degrees.  The mixed climbs require more advanced techniques, such as torquing.

Grade V. Sustained steep ice at 70/80 degrees.  Mixed climbs requiring linked hard moves.

Grade VI. Vertical Ice. Mixed routes either  long and sustained, or if short, sufficiently technical to require careful calculation.

Grade VII and above. See Columba.

OS Grid Reference: Various

1 - Sharp Points
Length: 55m
K.McGee, P.Tinney, G.Scott. 3 - 1 - 2010
About 10metres to the right of Blunt Points go up over the large rock step on the right. Move up slab to next steep step and up large slab to final step with difficult exit on heather above.
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2 - Blunt Points
Length: 50m
K.McGee, P.Tinney, G. Scott. 3 - 1 - 2010
On the north west face of Saggartnadooish  there is series of slabs and rock steps. This route goes up the left side as you look from the main road. Climb easily up first slab to large rock step.Go over this  on the left and follow iced slab up and over some more iced steps and slabs. The walk in is about 10 or 15 mins from the main R251 road to Errigal.
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3 - Centre Gully
Length: 100m
I. Miller, C. Gleeson 06/01/10
Grid Ref B996267, Immediately to the East of Meenassarudda Bridge on the North facing slope in the high gap at the Southern end of Muckish. This route climbs the ominous looking gully up the easy angled frozen stream. 5 Mins walk from the road!
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4 - Crock of Cold
Length: 150m
Alan Tees, Paul Robinson 11/02/91

Drive through Muckish Gap towards Falcarragh, and this is the main waterfall on the North Side of Crocknalaragagh. Starts steeply and eases as it enters the ravine above. Ref.982265 grade 3.


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5 - Cool Laragagh
Length: 30m
Paul Robinson, Alan Tees 11/02/91

Just beside "Crock of Cold" about grade 2.


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