Making steady progress on Rock Climbing in Ireland. I have been out a few trips in the last fortnight, I spent a weekend in the Gap and got some great routes done. The Saturday was quite drizzly so we kept close to the road and checked out four of the small crags – Ceim, Bothan, Brennan’s Leap, Rescue Rock. I hadn’t done much climbing in the Gap in recent years and it was a pleasure to get some mileage on the sandstone.
My lack of stamina was exposed on a few routes, nearly everything is vertical in the Gap but the holds are usually pretty generous. The very nice Titanic on Ceim saw me need a quick rest on the rope, it always amazes (and disappoints me) how quickly one can get pumped trad climbing. It’s a short route but overhangs all the way. Don’t get many overhanging VS’s!
It was drizzling while we were climbing on Ceim but we didn’t even notice, so it’s a very handy crag on those claggy days. We headed up to Bothan as the sun was trying to make an appearance and did a few more great routes. As the only crag on the east side of the Gap it’s a sunny spot especially later in the day when the crags on the other side can be deep shade.
A brief spot at Brennan’s Leap brought us to Rescue Rock. Unusually for the Gap the rock is a little more rounded and slopey, but smearing on the rough sandstone is a pleasure and feels very secure. Did a few routes here but wasn’t blown away maybe this was because it was the end of the day and my feet were sore.
The next day was much sunnier and we headed up to Faill Ceoil which is the furthest crag from the road. About 30 minutes walk. We had our eye on Kudos which is one of the few multi-pitch VS in the Gap. Another party were just about to start up it so we had a bit of a sit down. I got a few shots and it was useful to see exactly where the route went. Kudos is an amazing route, the first pitch is sneaky and little off balance and the second pitch is magnificent, steep, juggy climbing up the headwall. Well worth the walk. Incidentally the Gap of Dunloe climbing meet is on the 16-18th of May, details here.
A few days later I headed down to Doolin to get some shots of Ailladie. The weather was great, clear and windy and I even got to do a few routes using my grigri. Geneis HS is a great route, scumming to quite primitive squirming, I’m sure it can be done elegantly as well. Also did Pis Fluich HVS. Was unsure whether to bridge or layback and ended up doing a little of both. I found it intimidating down there with the sea crashing beneath looking up at the rope and hoping that the rope protector had stayed in place. Great route, can’t wait to get back and lead it.
I was really struck by how vertical the routes are in Ailladie and for this reason there isn’t much below HVS. Mirror Wall must be one of the most impressive cliffs in Ireland. For me it is the embodiment of the word sheer. Would love to do The Ramp, must get in training…