Had the pleasure of the Gap Of Dunloe climbing meet last weekend. We drove down via Mallow rather than Limerick, not sure if it was the quickest route, it took around 4.5 hours. Had a few pints in Kate and another few tins around the fire at the campsite before getting to bed, woke up in the morning to misty weather but it was quickly burnt off by the sun. Headed up through the Gap to the Black Valley, meet Michael and Chris who pointed us at a boulder very close to the road that Michael had found the day before. Incredible boulder, two brilliant lines on immaculate stone. Steep with lovely holds. I managed the left problem after a battle of a topout. Really enjoyed getting on the problem before the others and figuring out the beta for myself. I wanted to call it Sherpa Tensing for the following reasons. (I know Michael did the FA so I have no rights in this regard)
– I didn’t bring a pad on the trip and didn’t carry one up to this boulder, thus I availed of a sherpa service from the other.
– Michael climbed the problem first, I did it second. Tenzing was second man up Everest and was always reffered to as “… and Sherpa Tenzing”
– There is a cut loose move, probably the crux, that requires some serious ab tension.
– Wordplay is important
I got some good shots on this boulder, that might make the guide so I’m not going to post them. I will put some up from the B-roll. To start the day with such a great problem was very nice and set the mood nicely. The right hand line was also great but too hard for me.
Lovely incut edges on a very smooth overhanging plane, indoor style – no problem for the coop-ites. I was a bit disappointed though to think that I had driven past the boulder a few times and not spotted its potential but thats the way it goes.
Walked into Lough Reagh then. Sun was very hot at this stage, the ground was as dry as it gets, the walkin takes about 10 minutes. Diarmiud and I checked a few very steep roofs but they didn’t add up – one had a bad landing and other was chossy.
Everyone got on Rock ‘n Lock and the consensus was its a classic. Then on to Boneyard, which got 2 ascents from sitting – Michael notice a heel toe cam that seemed to help – and the standing start got another few ascents.
The Jurgen Myers boulder above Boneyard got a few ascents, it has a nice steep roof around the back with maybe 3 decent problems on it.
We walked out checked out another block Michael and Chris found the day before. Did a nice, if a little eliminate arete. On the way back to the Gap we checked out more problem beside the forest, we found some very impressive boulders but no bouldering of note.
On Sunday we went straight to the Turnpike Rocks in the Gap, warmed up on the pocket problem on the Hex and then everyone tried Edge of the Onion which is a great and long problem with a tricky topout, the route climbers probably have an advantage on it with their stamina.
Then did more exploring further down the valley, lots of big boulders but again no bouldering.
Found the nice traversing wall that Ivan had mentioned to me last year, its opposite the Watchtower Area about five minutes off the road between the two lakes. The main traverse looks very nice and very hard. We didn’t go to the Watchtower as there is no agreed access but their was chalk on it.
Great weekend. Would be keen to hear what other people think of the bouldering in the Gap and the Black Valley, good problems, whats worth putting in/leaving out etc. We never made it up to the boulders below the Main Crag has anyone been up there and what did they think of them?