Doolin

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Introduction

This sea cliff is situated in the townland of Ballycahan, west of Roadford, Doolin. Take the lane directly opposite McDermott's pub in Doolin and continue for a little over a kilometre to the end of the road, just short of the coast. Follow the coastline north to the cliff (10 minutes). Where the cliff reaches full height there is a long level wall. At the south end there is a steep descent chimney.

Caution is recommended when descending as the rock is usually damp and greasy and the large blocks near its base somewhat loose. At low tide it is possible to traverse the base of the cliff and to gain exit or entry at the northern end.


Doolin SeaCliffs.jpg


The rock is limestone but dark in colour and somewhat brittle and loose in places. Protection is good to adequate. Due to its sheltered aspect and poor drainage the rock does not dry out quickly and remains out of condition for long periods. This is quite an extensive cliff which has seen little development and no routes have been repeated to date. The routes are described from left to right as you face the cliff.


Doolin N.jpg

At the north end of the cliff access is by boulder hopping at low tide or by abseil. The first corner (starting at half height) is taken by Sham Rock.

SHAM ROCK 15m VS 4b
P. Daly, P. McGrath, 1980.
Climb the face on good wide ledges to the bottom of the corner. Layaways and a mantelshelf to the top.

BATTLE OF THE BULGE 20m HVS 5b
P. McGrath, P. Daly, 1986.
Start 5m right of Sham Rock. The route climbs the overhanging corner. Make a difficult move to gain the crack line leading to the two overhanging bulges. Surmount the first bulge easily to reach a sloping ledge under the top overhanging bulge. Climb the second bulge with difficulty (crux) to reach a hand-hold and small sloping foot-hold on the right. Continue easily to top. (No. 2 Friends recommended for protection at crux)

BART SIMPSON 20m HVS 5a
B. Rusek, P. Daly, E. Duggan, C. Baxter. August 2004.
Start 15m right of Sham Rock. The route climbs the right facing blocky corner left of the blank yellow wall. Well protected.

The following routes are at the southern end of the crag. These can be accessed from the north end of the crag an hour either side of high tide, or alternatively by abseil or the descent.

Doolin S.jpg


THE GREAT LOBSTER PLOT *** 30m E6 6b/c
G. Smith, M. Crook, 1993.
Start 50m north of the descent chimney. The obvious thin crack left of The Great Crack of Doolin, moving through a roof at half height. Make a desperate move into the groove and climb to a rest. The thin crack above goes on forever.


THE GREAT CRACK OF DOOLIN 40m E4 6a,5c
A Wainright, G. Smith (alternate leads), 1993.
Start 50m north of the descent chimney.The obvious wide crack/chimney is gained by a traverse. The mostly tidal start is reached by abseiling to a small ledge in the groove around right from the crack, but can be started off the boulders via a few tricky moves.
(1) Climb the groove of Black Prince for 3m to a nut runner. Better runners are available a little higher. Clip the pegs (one is loose) and boldly cross the wall to a belay on a notch. An old belay peg has since rotted away.
(2) Move around the arete on good holds, and then make a difficult and bold move to gain the crack, which is hard to start but quickly becomes reasonable.
Note: The belay will essentially be done on one piece of gear (unless I missed something), and there is no gear moving off the belay until the crack is gained. For this reason, it may be worth doing the route in one pitch, clipping the second rope once the crack is gained. Rope drag Vs safety I guess. Updated 21/7/11


BLACK PRINCE 30m E1 5a
B. McHugh, P. McGrath, 1986.
Start 50m north of the descent chimney. The route takes an obvious right-trending steep ramp which leads to overhanging blocks at the top. Gain the ramp proper by a number of delicate moves. Continue up the ramp (small wires for protection) to a difficult and exposed section at mid-height (crux, poor protection). Gain easier rock above and continue up to a large overhanging block which is climbed on the right side (exposed). This route was duplicated in error as "Cherish the Jug" in the old guide.

The Great Lobster Plot, The Great Crack of Doolin and Black Prince


An unnamed E2(5c) corner was climbed in this area by M. Crook and G. Smith (1993). No description available.


The next route takes the face just right of the descent chimney.

ONE WING BANDIT 15m S
Climb the face right of the overhanging block. Gain the top of the block and continue left to belay in the gully.
P. Daly, P. McGrath, 1980.

Variation VS
Climb directly up from the top of the block.
P. Daly, P. McGrath, 1980.


WINGER 25m HVS 5b
P. McGrath, 1986.
Right of One Wing Bandit there are two vertical cracks leading to an overhang and groove. Climb the left crack to the overhang, traverse left and gain the groove above with difficulty. Climb easily diagonally right to the top.


K KORNER 25m VS 4c
P. Daly, P. McGrath, 1980.
Climb the obvious corner right of Winger. Good climbing. The crux may be getting on to the sloping ledge to start the route!

The route "THE ARANACH" was just to the right of K Korner but it has been removed by the Atlantic.

Northern end

These routes are in a series of small zawns and fingers of rock extending into the sea at the northern most end of the DSC, there is a distinctive erratic boulder perched on the edge of one of the fingers, starting from East to West there is a boulder filled cove with an impressive 18 m wall above the cove, the remaining routes have been done in or around the zawns and corners. This area is half way between Ailladie and Doolin, so you can park at Ailladie or at the lane behind Roadford in Doolin. Both approaches require a 30-40 minute walk along the coast to reach it. The climbs are short mostly 12m but provide some variety and the area is very secluded. All the climbs are approachable at low to two third tide, but in rough seas this area is a no go.


Soldier Ant 20m HVS 5b
F Cox B Watts 31/7/04
Interesting climbing, On the East wall of the cove, there is a distinct crack and groove system on the RHS with an overhanging start, start off the boulder and pull positively over to a ledge, continue up the corner above to exit over a small overhang well protected


The next 6 routes require an abseil approach, in low tide it is possible to walk around out of the zawn where routes 5 and 6 are.


Tradtastic VS 4c
F Cox J Ringrose Jeff Ringrose G Quain 31/7/04
Climb the rightwards trending crack line right of the prominent corner to a ledge, finish on small holds


Mini me HS
F Cox J Ringrose Jeff Ringrose G Quain 31/7/04
Take the crack 1 m left of the true corner


Sprockit VS 4c
F Cox J Ringrose Jeff Ringrose G Quain 31/7/04
Climb the corner for 4 m, and exit left into a crackline on the left hand wall.


Kampala VS 4c
F Cox B Watts J Ringrose Jeff Ringrose 31/7/04
Climb the obvious corner half way alone the East facing wall of the zawn, a tricky start with tenous laybacking for 5 m to reach a good ledge and finish, often damp but good nevertheless


Simplicity Diff
F Cox [solo] 31/7/04
Climb the West facing wall of the zawn by a series of ramps and ledges.


That's the shot! E1 5b
F Cox B Watts 31/7/04
A strenuous technical corner, this is the next square cut corner West from the zawn, climb the thin and strenuous corner crack to a small footledge, have a rest and continue, protection just about adequate.


Savage cabbage HVS 4c
F Cox B Watts 31/7/04
Scramble down the back of the zawn, easier if tall, shorties may want to abseil, walk/squeeze around the back of the huge separated block, climb the next square cut corner, climb the corner on sparse protection to a ledge. The holds get much smaller so climb smoothly through the difficulties [crux] and don’t fall off!


Dying for food VS 4b
F Cox B Watts 31/7/04
A pleasant fist crack with good protection leads to a steep but positive finish, varied climbing.