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Cloud-free Culdaff

Date: Nov 6 2011
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney
After making a huge withdrawal from my brownie points account, I met George, Mike Gibson and Gerard on Sunday morning for a quick rattle at Dunmore Head. PJ was doing an overnighter, trolling through Lady Gaga's and Justin Bieber's dressing rooms at the Odyssey and we'd arranged a 2pm rendezvous.

Therefore I arose at 8am, a feat that would normally rent the temple curtain in twain again, and arrived at the crag at 9:30 fuelled on Relentless and croissants. The cloud-free weather meant it was a frosty 2 degrees in Culdaff and I was geared up in hats, gloves and belay jacket but by the time I'd soloed SRS Slabs twice to set up the ab rope I was peeling off the layers.

The sun was swinging nicely onto the face as George and co. arrived at 10:30 and I dangled down a second ab rope onto the Master Of Puppets line. Was this the day to test my newly honed gym physique (six pack not included) on this bold HVS line? No, obviously. Orange Blossom (HS 4b) was more in my range so I duly obliged a grunting lead with George scampering easily up. Mike and Gerard got stuck into Tina's Crack (HS).

George followed this up with Grecian Gift (VS 4c) which never gets any easier, the pumpy finish and a lack of climbing since Gola in July giving him a thorough test. My forearms definitely felt the strain but I tried to make the finish look good to our audience of bikers who'd pulled up below the carpark. Culdaff has never looked better, a day to savour with the rock warming nicely in the sunshine and clear views across the booming bay to Brasil Rock and beyond.

We wasted no time jumping onto another VS line, the lovely 4b Peapob. Perhaps it's my height but I can never get onto the left fork without getting jammed under the big overhang and doing a bit of helmet scraping, fnarr fnarr. One of George's, now well rusted, cams is stuck in the crack above the fork and provides a handy piece of in situ gear. He promises to come back and remove it some day.

Mike and Gerard seemed to be swapping leads for a repeat of Orange Blossom but we fancied a bit of Absent Friends Five (HS 4b), that tricky one-move wonder. George made it look easy but I faffed a bit, first starting too far left and then needing a second go to get onto that balancy point. It was getting close to home time for me but I reckoned I could squeeze in Bird's Nest Bulge (S 4a), this time hoping to lead it with more panache.

Tragically and somewhat aptly there was a small bird of prey, perhaps a sparrowhawk, lying dead on the shelf below the route. I could see no sign of trauma so it was a mystery as to it's fate. Had it been poisoned? I think George was going to enlist our esteemed webmaster and renowned twitcher to identify the bird and perhaps Emmet Johnson, who was once the Wildlife Conservation officer for the area, to report it's demise.

So 5 routes in 2.5 hours? I'd call Norris McWhirter only he died in 2004. George started musing about a lead of Shining Cossacks (HVS 5a), a route I'd have loved to second, feeling in such fine fettle, but it would have to wait for another day. A quick call to my beloved informed me that she was done fondling Bruno Mars' gear and I was to get home pronto for an afternoon's quaffing in various hostelries in the Derry area.

During said quaffing I tried to explain the barter system to our children who found it highly amusing that a ten-pound note could be the equivalent of four pigs and a block of cheese.

07 Nov 2011
Alfie Conn

Glad to see other people were out in the sun. If I had known Culdaff was going to be "occupied" I would have been sociable for once and gone there rather than Malin

07 Nov 2011

Alfie it was very last minute and required major negotiation on Sat night for me to get away. I never thought to post it.

07 Nov 2011
Peter Cooper

Great to know folks are getting out in the fine weather, esp after the dull summer. Surely it's time to start climbing some of the other routes at Dunmore though?

07 Nov 2011

Best weekends climbing since Easter. We done Main Mast on Saturday, and Garda Fox and Sergeant Pluck on Sunday.

08 Nov 2011

There's no better place than Culdaff Peter though, when you just want to turn up and have fun. No big tramp in and out to get to the routes. George rattled off Puppets, Calamity, Ten CC and Cossacks too I believe.

12 Nov 2011

Hopefully you'll all be out getting some fun routes done again this weekend. Climb one for me? Also, don't forget there's good accessible stuff over by Bunagee-some still to be repeated stuff too, which can always be top-roped if you forget your balls-of-fury.

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