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Climbfest Twenty10

Date: 1st - 3rd May 2010
Submitted by: Michael Hassan

I arrived at Cruit Island for Climbfest 2010 at around 10.30 on Saturday morning and found a number of tents pitched already but the place somewhat deserted. A few climbers gathering up pointed me in the direction of the Farmhouse Crag, so I headed round there and discovered some Colmcillers setting up top-ropes for the beginners. Everyone seemed to be decked in the latest (excellent) climbfest t-shirts. On noticing a black cloud close by I decided to head back to the campsite and pitch the tent before it burst.

Alfie D arrived at this stage and as is our wont, we set up our tents whilst discussing the latest gossip in the local climbing scene. At about the same time climbfest newbie Nicole Clancy arrived after a long drive from Dublin and was very fortunate that the first climbers she stumbled upon were myself and Alfie. On seeing no others around she assumed that we were dossers and Alfie and I did little to quell the assumption that we were not "real climbers" by discussing the evening’s entertainment and playing guitars on the grass. We eventually decided to suss things out and went over to the Narrow Zawn/Albatross wall area. Here we met Niall aka Lord Gibleton aka The Yellow Blur who had arrived the previous night with some new climbfest converts and who also brought back a few old friends to the fold. Also there were Claire and Ellen, who had drove from Belfast and eventually found Cruit after my rather vague "turn left after Kilmacrenan" directions and searching google maps for Critch Island. "Oh, so it's spelt C.R.U.I.T"

Soon a few more climbers new to the climbfest, who I knew from the ozone (Davey, Dawn and Gavin), had arrived and we decided to go to the Farmhouse Crag as this is a good spot for beginners. I pottered about for awhile giving Nicole and Dawn a master class in the art of placing gear. Getting restless I then decided to climb the slanting and bit manky looking crackline just to the right of the open book corner, which I think is a new route. It was harder than expected with what I thought was a positive edge at half height turning out to be a sloper. The holds started to crumble towards the finish and I was glad to top out. I was certainly pumped and thought about E1, confirmed by Alfie on second. Alfie then decided to climb the line to the right of the crack, which he had great fun on, negotiating a tricky one handed layback move at the crux - hard HVS the verdict.

We eventually retreated to the campsite for dinner with the usual old (un)reliable tesco throwaway barbeques and some burnt burgers. "How do they taste? a bit black and a bit sooty". Later we all gathered a bit further along the beach for the now customary pyrotechnics masterminded by Valli and the camp fire revelry. It started to rain though and it was a reasonably early bedtime for me.

On Sunday morning, all the talk was of a trip to Gola and so a good crowd assembled for the boat trip across. I was keen to get over, having spent a weekend there a few years ago when I had just started climbing. Chilled out was how the day proceeded - a few of us setting up on Gripple Wall. I climbed a line which I think was a mix of Ex-Eagle and Who Gets the Credit. I was climbing with Paul Brennan for the day and he had a go at the obvious chimney to the left which might be a new line. Not difficult and my slight build meant I could almost do it without my shoulders touching the sides. I was hankering for something a bit more adventurous now and had my eye on The Fledgling, a bit further over at the Narrow Zawn. This route starts on a small ledge about 2m above the water and it felt an intimating and cavernous place to be. The route itself was excellent, but I don't think it was harder than E1. Paul then led Gearrcach, another good route with nice moves. I reached the top as a light shower started and we quickly gathered up the gear and headed for the ferry back. We all felt content at a good days climbing with excellent weather in a fine setting. Back at the campsite it was baltic and I didn’t fancy sitting out trying to cook some dinner. So a few of us headed to Dunglow for something to eat, with Nicole being none too impressed with us Northerners' penchant for chip shop cuisine.

With the Golf Club closed it was up the road to the pub with the usual suspects for a few beverages. A local named Rosie tried her damnest to get Keith to sing, but he was having none of it. Anthony showed us his latest waist line button popping party trick and he remembered that last year he was close to having a six pack. Keith and I decided that presently he was close to having a keg instead.

The good weather continued on Monday and rather than the usual custom of having to gather up wet tents and hit the road early, we were able to get some climbing done. A good few headed to the Traderg Wall/Poll Na Caoineadh area. I pointed George in the direction of a route I did last year - Ballad of the Wood Thieves while I took Nicole up The Parting Glass. George had a right old time on Ballad and both he and Alfie thought it was a good line, but hard for the grade. I had a go on it as well and concurred given the boldish move at the finish. After that they tried Mujahadeen while Nicole and I did something resembling a severe a bit further over. It was getting late in the afternoon now and with long journeys ahead of us, we headed to the now deserted campsite for goodbyes and then home.

A great weekend it turned out to be with more climbers and better weather than I had expected. Well organised as always and kudos to Pete Cooper for the excellent topos.

05 May 2010

Good man for getting the first report in. I'm looking forward to 10,000 words from Anthony next.

05 May 2010

Great Report Mike. Regarding Ballad E1 5b seemed about right; as well as having to back off the beast i think i strained a muscle in my shoulder as well. Do'h!

06 May 2010
Cilla Black

I hope you got our Nicole's number, chuck! I sense a lorra lorra love for the newbie climber.

07 May 2010

Mikes no chance, Denis is on the prowl

11 May 2010
Peter Cooper

Ok I read Keith's report first, sometimes you can get thanks; cheers Mike.

Photo of Route