Bonfire Buttress

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Printed guidebook available here

Low-lying, sheltered and south-facing, this small crag enjoys lots of sunshine and often remains dry when there is rain on the hills. While there is not enough to keep you occupied for a full day, it is a feasible option for an afternoon, summer evening or those short winter days. The crag is on Coillte lands and up until recently was hidden behind a belt of trees. A bonfire that got out of hand and spread to the trees, laid waste the area in front of the crag and all was revealed. Vegetation is rapidly returning and making access difficult. The rock is quartzite, the same as Barnbawn.

Approach. Driving south on the N11 from Dublin, take the slip road signposted for Ashford. Go straight through at the roundabout in the village, then, just after the filling station, take the side road sloping up right. Continue on this road to the entrance to the Bel Air Hotel. Turn around here and drive back for 50m to the entrance on the left (at the 50kph sign). Take the dirt road between the two houses and, after another 50m, park at the familiar black-and-yellow barrier, making sure to leave enough room for the pony trekkers to come down the narrow path on the left and go through the gap on the right of the barrier. (If the dirt road is blocked by cars belonging to either of the two houses, there is room at the entrance to the Bel Air for a couple of cars). A walk of just over one minute from the barrier brings the crag into view. A path of sorts starts at the right edge of a little clearing (ignore the path heading left towards the pines) and passes behind a small oak tree, heading for the right-hand end of the crag. This path, almost completely smothered in high ferns during summer, leads to the crag a bit right of centre and then follows back along the base of it. Less than 5 minutes from the barrier.

Given the circumstances of its discovery we have named the crag BONFIRE BUTTRESS. All the climbs are between 5 and 6 m in height. The crag suffers from some seepage after prolonged periods of heavy rain and as the routes were climbed while still damp, gradings should be treated as provisional. The climbs are described from left to right.


Download topo at Bonfire Buttress

1. All Fired Up. VS 4b.
Start. At the left end of the crag, directly below a shallow crack which runs straight up to a large pointed block at the top of the crag. Climb the crack to the block, then up over this.
G.Moss, L.Convery. Jan 2006.

2. Burning Ambition. VS 4c.
Start. Just R of 1. Step up onto a little footledge and move R. Step up R onto the recessed slab and slant back L and up over the block.
G.M., L.C. Jan 2006.

3. Heather Blazing. VS 4b.
Start. Almost 2m R of 2. Steep moves to gain the recessed slab. Follow this near its R edge.
L.C., G.M. Jan 2006.

4. Phoenix. VS 4c/5a.
Start. R of 3, and just L of the little holly tree. Step up on the block and up steeply to the little overhang. Climb this and follow the shallow crack just R of the L edge of the main slab.
G.M., L.C. Jan 2006.

5. Combustion. VS 4c.
Follows the wide crack just left of the main overhang, strenuously at first then more easily once the slab has been gained.
S. Smith, 28th May 2009.

6. Feel The Burn. E1 5b.
Starts directly under the main overhang. Pull through the first overhang into the horizontal groove. Reach around the second overhang to find holds, then rockover precariously onto the slab. Finish directly up the slab
S. Smith, 28th May 2009.

7. Conflagration. HVS 5a.
Starts a little to the right of the centre of the main overhang. Similar sequence to Feel The Burn but less strenuous. Finish directly up the slab.
S. Smith, 28th May 2009.

8. Unquenchable Fire. HS 4a.
Start. Just R of the main overhang, below a wide crack. Move up the crack then step L onto the slab and follow this near its R edge.
L.C., G.M. Jan 2006.

To the left of the main area is a short, steep wall with routes that are similar in style and size to Holymoac direct in the quarry. About 5 or 6m high, these face climbs on small holds could be considered highball boulder problems.

9. Oh Deer. HVS 5a.
Start left of the rightmost seepage line. A hard move off small holds leads to better holds in the thin crack above. Finish warily and try not to disturb the wildlife.
S. Smith, 28th May 2009.

10. Incandescense. HVS 5a.
Start right of the rightmost seepage line. Move up on small holds. A powerful move off a good undercut sidepull leads to an easier finish.
S. Smith, 28th May 2009.

Bonfire Road View.jpg

Bonfire Buttress topo pic 2

Bonfire Buttress topo pic 3

Bonfire Main.jpg

Bonfire Right.jpg

Bonfire Left.jpg