Gap Of Dunloe
What follows is 99% originally edited by Richard Stack. Thanks to Richard for allowing us to include the guide in the database.
A '1' AFTER A ROUTE NAME MEANS THAT THE ROUTE HAS HAD ONLY ONE ASCENT, DUE TO THE LACK OF ASCENTS MANY OF THE GRADES MAY BE INACCURATE. OVER 50 % OF THE ROUTES HAVE NOT HAD A THIRD ASCENT.
The sport described in this book is an inherently dangerous activity and any person, especially if inexperienced, undertaking it, should approach it with caution and under appropriate supervision. The publisher and contributors cannot accept responsibility for any accidents, injury or loss suffered by any reader of this book however it may be caused. All descriptions and grades are offered as suggestions only and are not to be taken as definitive.
I would like to thank all the climbers who have contributed to this guide book, particularly Peter Costelloe, Aidan Forde, Con Moriarty, Donie Mulcahy and Tim Long. Aidan Forde wrote the sections on geology and natural history. Cathal Cudden did all the art work.
Due to the fact that there has been no guide, unpredictable weather and a very small number of local based climbers, the amount of climbing that has been done in Kerry has been limited. Due to the lack of ascents many of the grades may be inaccurate. It is hoped that this guide will bring the grading of climbs into line with the rest of the country. This guide should only be considered as a preliminary guide.
There have been a number of routes done on the smaller crags but these haven't been included. A point worth noting is that the majority of all new routes done in the Gap were done on sight without prior inspection or cleaning. Care should be taken when descending from the crags especially at night as there are a lot of holes between the boulders. Like all inland crags the Gap has an over healthy-population of midges, so if it's calm don't arrive without midge repellent !
An updated copy of the guide is held at the bar in Kate Kearneys Cottage. Any new routes can be written into this guide. Any comments on grades or route descriptions are welcome.
An updated version of the guide has been produced by Richard Creagh
To date there have been very few problems and it will remain so as long as there is no interference or distraction to the horses. Only climb near the road late in the evening or when it is very quiet. When parking keep your car well in off the road and park only at the really obvious areas as trucks/tractors use the road as well as the Jaunting Cars. When using the area always remember that all the land is privately owned. On busy Summer days it is quicker to walk from Kate's car park due to the fact that there can be hundreds of cyclists and strollers in the Gap on a weekend day.
The rock in the Gap of Dunloe (and in all of the Cork and Kerry mountains) is Old Red Sandstone. This sedimentary rock was formed 350 million years ago in the beds and flood plains of very large rivers that carried eroded sediment southwards from mountain ranges in what we now know as Donegal and Mayo. These rivers flowed into a broad landlocked basin in what is now Cork and Kerry and the sediment was deposited in the rivers' flood plains and channels as they entered the basin. The basin was subsiding as the sediment was deposited (like Death Valley today) and eventually over 6,000m thickness of sediment was deposited.
The sands and gravel transported by the rivers were rich in iron and because these were deposited in contact with the air in a desert environment, this iron turned to iron oxide. This iron oxide (also called rust) coated the grains of quartz that make up the sandstone and gave it the reddish colour that is a striking feature of the local scenery.
As the rock was laid down in shallow water it formed layers when the sediment was carried suddenly by floodwaters. These layers are called beds and they have been preserved in the solid rock as the horizontal breaks (bedding) that are characteristic of the climbing here. Also common are smaller bedding plains that occur between the larger ones and at an angle to them. This cross-bedding shows the direction of flow of the river at the time the sediment was deposited. Preserved current ripples (similar to ripples seen in the sand at a beach) can also be used to find the ancient flow direction. The steeper face of the ripple is the downstream side. These ripples are common on the scree of Póirse Gully.
Although bedding was originally horizontal, it is now commonly folded into waves. This occurred 270 million years ago when the beds were crumpled into folds by the force of the earth's plates colliding when the local mountains were formed. The bedding throughout the Gap is folded.
Folding wasn't the only result of the mountain-building process. As the rocks were subjected to great pressures they commonly fractured. Sometimes the two sides of a fracture moved due to the pressure and a fault was formed. Most of the steep gullies in the Gap are faults. However, if the fracture was infilled with pure crystalline quartz, a vein was formed. These veins are common in the Gap and the white quartz may be mixed with a soft green mineral, chlorite. Chlorite is especially common along bedding plains that have acted as faults.
The bedrock of the Gap is just one part of the formation of the climbing crags here. The various glaciations of the ice age were just as important in the formation of the cliffs. During the most recent glaciation, from 120,000 to 15,000 years ago, the ice moved north from an ice cap near Kenmare before coming up against the barrier of the McGillycuddy's Reeks. This ice flowed around the Reeks to the east near Killarney and to the west around the Caragh River valley. As the ice level dammed up against the Reeks it eventually reached their lowest point. Like water flowing over a dam, the ice flowed over the low point of the Reeks, cut deeply into the mountain and formed the Gap as it did so. Because this is a place where the ice broke through a barrier, it is called a glacial breach and the Gap is a famous example of such a feature. The climbing crags are therefore the result of the erosion caused by this glacier flowing to the north. The lakes of the Gap are also due in part to erosion where the glacier cut into the bedrock floor and also due in part to material that was eroded upstream and dumped downstream as mounds of loose rocky debris. Such piles of eroded material are called moraines and there are several good examples on the floor of the Gap, to the east and north of the Black Lake. These moraines are the reason for the lakes existence as they dammed the valley when the ice finally melted away.
Fauna & Flora
The types of life found in the Gap of Dunloe are controlled to a large degree by the geology and climate of the area. The acidic rocks and the relatively infertile moraine soils derived from the same rocks make for a reduced flora that is adapted to life in these nutrient-poor conditions. In addition to these factors the area receives about 2500mm of rain a year. The constant flow of water through the ground has had the effect of leaching the iron (these rocks are rich in iron) from between the grains of quartz, in the rocks and soil profile. At one level it is deposited as a layer of iron (iron pan) and this effectively seals off the drainage of the soil. When this happens the effect of the constant wetting is compounded by the water-logging of the soil from the lack of drainage. This starts the formation of blanket bog and except in better areas, the entire Gap is covered in it.
Heather is the dominant plant on the-walk in to the crags. There are three species present and the most common is Ling Heather. This has very small leaves, just visible to the naked eye and packed closely together. Bell Heather has larger linear leaves and flowers positioned at various points on the stem. It is similar to Cross Leaved Heather which has flowers only at the top of the stem in a tight bunch, all facing the same way. The Cross Leaved Heather also has very small hairs on its leaves. Some very rare heathers grow in Connemara but the three described are the only common heathers in Ireland.
In spring, look out for the Giant Butterwort and Sundew in boggy pools at the base of the crags. These plants have sticky enzyme-tipped hairs that trap insects on their leaves. This is an adaptation to the very nutrient-poor condition of the soil - the insect bodies are digested by the plant and essential minerals are obtained.
An interesting tree growing on some of the bigger ledges, to the left of The High Buttress is the Aspen. This native tree is very common in the Rockies for example but is fairly scarce here in Ireland. Its Latin name is Populus Tremula from the way in which its leaves vibrate rapidly in the slightest breeze.
Look out for displays of crustose lichens on the rocks around the Gap. The crustose term refers to the way in which they are so closely attached to the rock, almost like paint. These plants are a mixture of alga and fungus. The alga can manufacture food from sunlight whereas fungus cannot. However the fungus provides a substrate for the alga and in some cases liberates essential materials from the rock that the alga can use. Each plant needs the other and lichens are a good example of this kind of co-dependence called symbiosis. Of the many different colonies covering the rock surface, look out for the one that look like a map - this species is called Rhizocarpon Geographicum.
St. Patricks Cabbage is a common plant in the Gap but is unusual elsewhere. It has small white flowers at the end of a long stalk and shiny leaves in a basal rosette. These leaves are spatula-shaped with teeth at the end. This is one of the saxifrage family, meaning rock-breaker in latin.
Bracken is an extremely abundant fern here and in the summer may reach several feet in height. Some of the scree slopes higher up have large strands of Male Fern (the name is not the sex of the plant). The leaf stalks in these ferns all rise from a common base and later in the summer the backs of the leaves will be crowded with the tiny cases from which millions of spores are released.
The Choughs that live in the area may entertain you with displays of acrobatics. These rare crows have curved red bills and red legs. They are closely related to the Alpine Chough (often seen around huts in the Alps) which has red legs but a yellow bill. It is a bird of sea cliffs but the Gap is one of the very few places where it breeds inland. Choughs are now nearly extinct in England and rare in Wales but they are still reasonably common on the west coast of Ireland.
There are quite a few Ravens around the Gap and together with the Grey Crow and the Fox are the largest scavengers in the area. The location of a sheep carcass is often indicated by the movement of these crows and they become particularly active in the Spring when the sheep are lambing.
While belaying keep an eye on the Black Lake, especially the upper end, for Otters. The river running through the Gap has a number of areas of good Otter habitat and Otters have been seen from the crags in the past.
In wet weather the rocks around the Gap display many Kerry Slugs feeding on the aforementioned lichens. This species has light brown spots on a dark brown body and will curl up in a ball when disturbed (it is the only slug that will do this). The Kerry Slug has a "Lusitanian" distribution in Europe. This means that it occurs along the western shoreline of Europe but not in the interior, even though it is not a coastal dwelling species. This is in contrast to the usual plant and animal species distribution in Europe where more species occur towards the centre and less towards the margins. Other species occurring in the Killarney area such as the Irish Spurge and the Arbutus also have a Lusitanian distribution.
Note : If cleaning new routes, it is advisable to know the plants that occur on the cliffs (there aren't that many of them) and to avoid damaging any that are unusual or protected. Do not approach or otherwise disturb cliff-dwelling birds at any time of the year but be especially careful from April to July when the birds are nesting.
The usual adjectival and numerical (technical) grading systems have been used as follows : M Moderate D Difficult VD Very Difficult MS Mild Severe S Severe 3c,4a. HS Hard Severe 4a,4b VS Very Severe 4b,4c,5a HVS Hard Very Severe 4c,5a,5b. E1 Extremely Severe 5a,5b,5c E2 5b,5c,6a E3 etc. 5c,6a,6b etc
It should be noted that many of the routes have not had second ascents, these have a '1' after the route name. The accepted star grading system is used with three stars being reserved for the routes of highest quality. Again the star grading system is suggestive rather than definitive and newer routes in particular may be deserving of more or fewer stars than indicated. An absence of stars does not mean that a route is not worth doing.
Where there was some dispute over the grade, two grades were given e.g. HVS/E1 5b/5c. This means that route is most likely HVS 5b but possibly E1 5c. Also if there was some doubt over the technical grade an alternative grade is put in brackets. e.g. E2 5c(6a).
In the event of an accident, where assistance is required, dial 112 and ask for Mountain Rescue. The nearest telephone is at Kate Kearneys Cottage. Give grid references and the name of the crag if possible.
Due to the horizontal nature of many of the crack lines, small camming devices, especially those with flexible stems prove very useful in the Gap. On many of the routes Flexible Friends are the main source of protection.
Using the Guide
The various crags are described starting on the east (left) side of the valley and working south up the Gap and then the routes on the western side of the valley are described in the same manner. Climbs on each face are described from left to right. Climbs thats are not numbered on the topos are newly added.
About a mile up the road from Kates, there is a path to the left which leads to the river Loe (this is the river flowing out of the Black Lake). Cross the stepping stones and follow the path up to the old house. Go straight past the house and down into a small valley where the crag is situated (100 metres from the house). Céim is very sheltered from the wind and the rain and due to the fact that it is overhanging in places some routes remain dry on wet days.
GUINEVERE, THE WATERY TART 15m HVS 5b B. Hall, D. Dowling March 2012 The true line that cuffs crap starts up. Instead of escaping right into the corner system with the tree stump, continue leftwards to climb the intimidating overhanging v-groove which is easier than it looks. Excellent protection. (Direct: Climb the white wall and overhang direct on positive side pulls. Bold start. E1 5b B. Hall, J. Hale)
1:CUFF'S CRAP 15m VS 4c M Shea, P. Cuff . Summer 1985 Start under the overhanging corner on the left hand side of the crag. Climb the steps up to the corner (above the tree), finishing up the corner.
2:THE BLACK STUFF 15m HVS 5b R. Stack, I. Counihan. 21/10/90 The obvious line to the right of Cuff's Crap. Climb on good holds to a small overhang, surmount this and move slightly right, then climb over a bulge on the corner to the top
3:MOONDANCE * 15m VS 4c D. Tagney, A. Forde. 12/10/94 Start 1m right of The Black Stuff under a small white-stained overhang. Climb straight to the ledge, then up and step onto a small ledge. Move up and right to the top. VARIATION: Instead of moving right continue up the left-facing corner (VS 4c).
4:SEAN NÓS 15m HVS 5a M Shea, C. Corrigan. Summer '90 Start under a square block (about 3m up). Climb over this and continue straight up to the ledge. Finish as for Miss Piggy. Poor protection.
5:THE GREAT WAR * 15m HVS/E1 5a R. Stack, G.Stack. 11/11/90 Start 1m left of the arete left of Miss Piggy. Climb to the overhang (good wire around corner on right) and straight to the top.
6:MISS PIGGY 17m VS 4c R. Stack, Rob Stack July '89 and re-climbed August '91 after removal of large blocks Climb the obvious corner (left of Titanic) to the ledge, then traverse left for 1.5m and climb the obvious crack to the top.
ARACHNOPHOBIA 12m HVS 5b B. McSweeney, E. Kennedy, O. O’Regan 3/8/03 Start 0.5m (!) left of The Revolution Has Begun and go up to groove. Then onto good jug. Mantleshelf onto the crux move (crimp) and then work towards tree on horizontal cracks. Break onto arete. Poor gear on top section but good at bottom, mostly friends.
7:THE REVOLUTION HAS BEGUN 12m HVS 5a/E1 5b (1) [between A6 and A7] D. O’Toole 27/10/01 Boulder start off the horizontal crack of A7. Reach diagonally up left to a horizontal hold, then straight to top via good crimps. Protection is small aliens and red HB offset brassie, all good.
8:TITANIC ** 12m VS 4b M Shea, P. Cuff. Summer 1985 Short but steep. Climb the hand crack on the right hand side of the crag.
9:THE PRODIGAL SON 10m HVS 5a R. Stack, P. Costelloe. 15/9/91. Climb the thin line 2-3m to the right of Titanic.
This buttress is situated directly above Black Stream Bridge on the east side of the valley. Walk 100m past the bridge to two small quarried areas on the left hand side of the road, from here head straight up to the crag. It can be quite exposed to wind, which is good if the midges are out, but bad if it‟s cold. The crag dries quickly after rain and seepage isn‟t a problem on most routes. West facing; a good spot for evening sunshine.
APRIL SUNSHINE 15m M S Ger Cronin solo 14/4/2014 Start about 3m left of "The Ego Has Landed", climbing the left corner of the lower face, proceed up the middle of the second section, getting behind the holly tree. Good holds, but poor protection.
1:THE EGO HAS LANDED 15m VS 4c A.Forde, I.Counihan. 15/9/90 Arete above a large ledge on the extreme left of the buttress. Protection is sparse.
2:FIRST COME FIRST SERVED * 15m VS 4b T. Long, D. Mulcahy. 6/4/95 Climb the line between The Ego Has Landed and Agent Orange. Climb directly up to the crackline and continue straight up to the top.
3:AGENT ORANGE 15m HS 4b I.Counihan, A.Forde. 15/9/90 Large crack and corner on the left hand side of the buttress.
FULCRUM 20m HVS 5a R. Stack, C. Cudden, A. Forde 15/5/93 This route is between 3 and 4. Climb up to a ledge (overhanging) and then up the left side of the face above to another ledge. Continue up existing over a small overhang at the top.
4:PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS * 20m VS 4c C. Moriarty, M. Shea. August '86 Climb up left of the overhang to gain a ledge. From the ledge step right and climb up to another ledge. Veer left at the blank face and climb over a small overhang near the top.
5:LJUBLJANA ** 20m E1 5c R. Stack, B. Forde. 3/8/91 Start to the right of Private Investigations, climb the face onto the ledge, climb over the obvious protruding spike and then over the overhang and continue straight to the top.
6:DISCO LEGS ** 20m E3 5c P. Hoy 4/9/99 (climbed past crux previously but was unclaimed) Between B5 and B6, straight to roof, pocket, sidepull (not the loose one on the left), direct to top past sloping breaks. Finish up the crack of Raven. Pumpy but protection is good.
7:RAVEN ** 20m VS 4b C. Moriarty, K.Tarrant. 1985 This climb is on the right hand side of the buttress. Climb through the obvious breech in the overhang to a small quartz vein, traverse left and ascend the crack. Protection is poor at the start. A variation is to traverse half way across and climb over the small overhang (5a).
8:BUGLER 20m VS 4b C. Moriarty, A.Devlin. 1985 Start as for Raven but continue straight to the top (over a holly bush). Protection is poor at the start.
9:FIACH DUBH 15m VS 4c R. Creagh, D.Dineen. 02/05/10. Start as for Raven. Standing on the first ledge arrange gear in the crack, then step out right onto the face gaining good holds. Go straight to the top from here, keeping left of a small bush and going past a short slab and through the overhang at 3/4 height. Beware of loose rock.
10:RESPECT 15m HVS 5a B. O’Dwyer, E. Lawless 21/4/00 Start just to the right of the arete to the right of Bugler. A poorly protected dynamic move over the bulge (long reach helps). Tend leftwards along the obvious line to the top.
11:ADRIAN'S ROUTE 12m VS 4c A. Devlin (Solo). 1985 This route is on the far right of the buttress 3-4m around the corner from Bugler. Climb the faint overhanging corner, move right and climb straight to the top. The most difficult moves are at the start where the protection is poorest.
12:BACK OR BRAIN 6m VS 4b I. Counihan, R. Stack. 14/4/91 Start 2-3m to the right of Adrian's Route. Start on a small ledge right of a large holly tree. Climb the obvious line veering slightly right towards the top.
BERRY FUNNY 6m VDiff S. Bickerdyke, F. Villain. 14/11/2011 Start right of Back Or Brain. Climb diagonal crack to the right exiting left of holly tree. Not first ascent, first recorded.
SETANTA 8m S Ger Cronin solo 14/4/2014 Start on the first flat rock at the base on the chimney, left of "Akimbo". Climb the right hand wall of the chimney, using the good hand and footholds, climbing slightly left to the highest point of the face. Protection is poor.
13:AKIMBO * 7m HS 4b/c J. Behal, C. Cudden 13/9/95 Climb the arete left of The Hobbit. Poor protection at the start.
14:THE HOBBIT 6m HS 4b R. Stack, B. Forde. 3/8/91 Climb the slightly overhanging crack left of the obvious corner (which contains a tree.)
15:BALDY 10m VS 4c M Shea, B.Galvin Summer '90 Climb the edge of the face to the left of Spider. Protection is poor.
16:SPIDER 10m Severe C. Moriarty. 1985 Climb up the blank face on the left side of the buttress. This climb weaves back and forth. Protection is poor.
16A:CRAZY FROG 9m HVS 4c J Healy, S. Clinton. 2009 Start just left of the small holly tree midway along the base of the climbs. Climb up just left of the tree on sidepulls and undercuts. Crux. Continue directly up to the top. Protection is poor.
17:P.O.S. 8m V.Diff R. Stack, P. Cudden. Jan '89 Start about 5m to the right of Spider and climb the obvious line to the top.
This is the most northerly of the cliffs on the western side of the valley. About 1 Km up the Gap turn right and walk up the Cora Road (at the "Going Climbing" sign). Follow this zig zag road up to the nearest point to an obvious white buttress this is lower Carraig Ceannann. A few metres up and around the corner is an obvious off-width crack, this is the line of Moloise. Further left you will come to upper Carraig Ceannann.
1:ERICA 10m V.Diff A. Forde, B. Forde. 22/4/90 Start 2m right of the mossy gully on the extreme left hand end of Carraig Ceannann, keeping a small clump of heather on your right hand side. Climb up to a right tending diagonal line, continue along this and exit on an easy right tending ramp at the top.
2:EASY ROUTE 10m Severe C. Moriarty (Solo) August '86 This climb is to the right of Erica. Climb the blank face, following no definite line. Protection is poor.
3:TAR WARS * 20m E1 5c A. Forde, B. Forde. 28/4/90 The furthest left crack through the small roof left of Cuchulainn. 1. 15m Climb the crack through the roof (crux) and belay on the grass ledge. 2. 5m Climb the wall behind and slightly right of the first pitch to finish left of the large block on top.
4:DIVING FOR PEARLS ** 25m E2 5c,5c A. Forde, R. Stack. 15/9/90 1. 15m Start at a narrow chimney 2m right of Tar Wars. Climb this past an upside down slot to another slot. Move up and left to gain the upper wall. Belay on the large ledge above. 2. 10m From the ledge gain a small corner above a rose bush, climb the upper wall on good holds to the left hand side of a large block on top.
CHRISTMAS JUMPER 30m E2 5b/c R. Creagh, J. Eldred. 23/11/14 (Toproped beforehand; it was wet and looked harder!) A bit eliminate but worth a go if you've done the other routes here. Climb Cuchulainn to the holly tree. Move left and climb the wall left of the corner, passing through the overhangs using a few holds common with Cuchulainn but keeping out of the corner proper.
5:CUCHULAINN ** 30m HVS 5a C. Moriarty, A. Forde. July '84 This route follows the obvious line to the left of the main overhang. Traverse in from the left to the base of the line. Climb straight up the obvious line to an awkward overhanging niche. Continue to the large ledge (small holly tree in crack) climb straight up the overhanging corner (difficult to protect) and on to the top on good holds.
CUCHULAINN-VARIATION 28m E1 5b C.Ryan, T.Mee 11/1/2014 Follow Cuchulainn to the holly bush. From here traverse right up the flat wall and continue up up to the top.
6:FERDIA ** 26m HVS 5a A. Forde, C. Moriarty. July '84 From the start of Cuchulainn climb up and right into a corner. Climb this to the overhang before breaking out right to a large ledge. Continue up the narrow chimney to the roof before turning awkwardly right again, and up into the final niche. Escape out left and up to the top.
7:FERDIA DIRECT 40m E2 5c M Shea, B. Forde. September '89 Instead of traversing from Cuchulainn to the start of Ferdia, start at the lowest point of the line. Climb the line to a small overhang (crux), Move slightly left to surmount this and then onto the original route.
8:VALHALLA 30m E1 5c I. Counihan, A. Forde. 24/4/90 The line immediately right of Ferdia. 1. Start at the crack over the cave, climb directly to the obvious corner (with the bush) to the right. Turn the overhang here by moving out right, continue up and then left to regain the crack, belaying on the obvious ledge. 2. Climb the roof via the crack on the right hand side to complete the route.
9:VALHALLA MY ARSE ** 30m E1 5c C. Moriarty, A. Young. June '90 Start as for Valhalla but continue straight up through the overhang, up along the corner and finally up through the top overhang. add comment
10:GALLARUS ORIFICE 20m E2 5b A. Forde, J. Forde. 6/4/90 Climb the left hand side of the back of the alcove 5m to the left of Moloise. Above the holly tree move up and right under a small roof. Traverse up and right to a small ledge. Belay here on a tree further back and to the right. Protection is poor initially.
11:MOLOISE * 25m HVS 5a/5b A. Forde (Solo). April '86 Climb the obvious off-width right-tending crack line on the right hand side of the buttress. The most difficult moves are at the start, where the protection is poorest.
12:BASH ON REGARDLESS *** 25m E1/2 5b/5c A. Forde, A. Devlin. November '85 This climb is in the corner 5m right of Moloise, Climb the slight corner to the large block. Finish up the face by delicate moves. Protection is poor at the start. Holly tree belay. Abseil or walk off above and to the right.
13:BLACK FRIDAY *** 20m E2 5b A. Forde, R. Stack. 13/4/90 Protection is poor initially which accounts for the high grade. Start a few metres right of Bash on Regardless. Climb up to a horizontal quartz vein (at 5m), traverse right to a horizontal finger crack and climb up to a small ledge at half height. Continue up and left to a large flake. Surmount this and move up to a large ledge, move further right to belay on a holly tree (same belay as for April Showers).
15:APRIL SHOWERS DIRECT * 20m E1 5b R. Stack, M Shea. 23/6/90 Start in the corner to the left of April Showers, climb the corner to the overhang, move up and right and continue up April Showers. Poor protection at the start.
14:APRIL SHOWERS 20m HVS 5a A. Forde, R. Stack. 13/4/90 Left tending line on the extreme right of Carraig Ceannann. Climb the ramp to gain an obvious diagonal crack (poor protection) and then a vertical crack up to the holly tree, hanging belay. Abseil here. add comment
This is a small buttress above and to the left of Carraig Ceannann.
THE THIEF 10m HVS 5a R. Stack, P. Costelloe. 21/6/92 This climb is left and around the corner from Sadbhóg (facing east). Climb up just left of the right hand edge. Climb up left of some gorse and onto a large ledge, mantle shelf onto a slab and then up a very short corner to the top.
SADBHÓG 10m VS 4c A. Forde, B. Forde. 22/4/90 Crack line left of Wet Wet Wet. Climb a wide crack (that narrows towards the top) to a triangular block and horizontal crack. Step left and follow a faint crack to the base of a large block. Traverse right under this block and finish up its right hand side.
WET WET WET 10m VS 4c A. Forde, B. Forde. 28/4/90 Climb the obvious corner and crack line on the right hand end of the buttress.
This crag is situated on the road side beside the Black Lake (First Lake).
Note: It is recommended that people don't climb on this crag during the day (between 9 am and 6pm), as climbing activities (rattling of gear and bright colours etc.) can startle the horses carrying people on the road.
1:NANUK 8m VS 4b Unknown Thin line on the left hand side of the crag. Climb to a ledge at half height and continue straight up to the top (right of some gorse).
2:MONKEYS UNCLE 10m HS 4b A. Forde, J. Van Soest. 1980 Climb onto a small ledge above a black water streak on the left hand side of Brennan's Leap. Climb more left, then rightwards and up onto a protruding block, then to the top.
MONKEYS UNCLE DIRECT 10m VS 4c R. Stack, A. Forde. 19/9/91 Start right of Monkeys Uncle. Climb the route directly up to the top. Initial moves off the ground are hard (5b).
O DONOGHUE'S DISAPPOINTMENT 10m VS Start 1m right of Monkey's Uncle Direct". Climb straight up and finish over the overhang. Protection is very very poor. Ciarán Campbell, Martin J. O Donoghue, March 2014
3:GRANUAILE * 10m E1 5b R. Stack, P. Costelloe. 17/9/91 Climb a straight line starting 2m to the left of Cronins Crack. Climb up to the large triangular incut and out over the small overhang (crux) and then continue on better holds to the top. Protection is poor above the crux.
4:CRONINS CRACK ** 10m HS 4b D. Maguire, P. Cronin. 1967 One of the first routes in the gap and also one of the most popular. Climb the obvious line in the centre of the crag. Protection is adequate.
5:FAT BOYS DON'T FALL 10m E1 5c M Shea, Rob. Stack 1990 Climb the left tending line between Cronins Crack and Daffodils. This route is protected from Daffodils.
6:DAFFODILS * 10m VS 4c A. Forde, C. Moriarty. 1984 Start 3m to the right of Cronins Crack, Climb the obvious prominent left tending crack line.
7:RIGHT HAND PARALLEL 10m HVS 5a C. Moriarty. 1983 Start as for Evening Falls, but climb the crack line to the left of it.
8:UNKNOWN 10m E1 6a Start left of a block sticking out of the ground and climb straight up through an overlap using a sloping ledge. Finish up another rout
9:RUSH HOUR * 10m HVS 5b R. Stack, C. Moriarty. 9/7/90 Climb over a small overhang (left of large overhang) to gain a ledge, move out right onto the face above the overhang and climb to the top.
10:EVENING FALLS 10m VS 4c C. Moriarty, M. Sweeney. 1983 Climb the left tending (steep) ramp under the overhang to the ledge, climb straight up the corner to the top.
11:DEADLINE (1) * 10m E2/3 6a R. Stack, D. Mulcahy, T. Long. 4/5/95 Climb the overhang on the right hand side of the buttress. Climb to the slot in the overhang and then over the overhang. Continue more easily to the top. Protection is poor at the start.
12:MOVIES * 10m HVS 4c C. Moriarty (Solo). 1983 Climb the obvious corner to the right of the main overhang. Protection is poor.
YANKEE 7m Severe R. Stack, Rob Stack. Summer '90 This line is on the left of the buttress. Climb up via a ledge system, keeping a holly tree on your left.
WET VISITATIONS 7m HS 4b J. Behal, N. O’Leary 23/6/97 Start 2-3m left of Voodoo. Climb the rightwards tending ramp and then up the obvious crack.
SOME KIND OF VOODOO 7m VS 4c P. Costelloe, R. Stack. 17/9/91 This climb is situated in the centre of this buttress. Start under a small overhang (at 3m). Climb over the overhang (up and right) to a right tending ramp. Continue up the ramp to the top.
DARBY O'GILL (1) 9m HVS 5a R. Stack, A. Forde. 19/9/91 Start 2m to the left of Sweet Surrender. Climb up under the overhang, move slightly right and over the overhang to gain a small ledge on the left hand side of the arete. Continue on the left of the arete to the top.
SWEET SURRENDER * 9m E1 5c A. Forde, R. Stack. 19/9/94 Climb the obvious thin line on the right hand side of the buttress. Climb over the bulge to the large hand crack and continue up and right to the top.
Small crag at first lake, opposite Brennan’s Leap
O'DONOGHUE'S DIVE 5c A.O’Donoghue solo 12/8/03 Access by swimming. Start at far right of main face on underwater ledge. Climb to horizontal cracks and follow to obvious indentation, then to top. Jump at any time.
MORDANT'S MADNESS 5a A. Mordant solo 12/8/03 Access by swimming. Start right of O’Donoghue’s Dive but left of grass patches. Climb overhang.
This is the most right hand of the lower crags 300m distance above and slightly to the left of Brennans Leap.
1:VENTURE SLAB 10m Severe R. Stack, Rob Stack. Jan '89 Start 2-3m to the left of Cub Crack. Climb up 3m to the sloping ledge, traverse 1-2m to the right and continue up to the top.
2:CUB CRACK 7m V.Diff R. Stack, Rob. Stack, Jan '89. Climb the obvious crack line in the middle of the crag
3:BATS * 10m E1 5c A. Forde, I. Counihan. April '90 Climb the obvious right hand overhanging crack.
4:FAR AWAY FRIENDS 10m E5 6b
[The longest route description in history :-)]
The route takes the wall between the existing routes of Bats and Gymnasty. The start avoids the crack of gymnasty. Protection can be placed in the first horizontal break which is visible from the ground. This is good protection, but is difficult to place. A difficult move takes you left. From this position more protection can be placed, a good cam, low and right and a very small cam at right shoulder height. Again these pieces would be strenuous to place. Moving right up to a quartz band. From here to good holds then sloper holds before the top. A very good nut can be places in the vertical crack at the top. This nut places easily and is very good. The height of the climber would dictate where it could be placed from. With sufficient height it might be possible to place the nut before moving onto the quartz. I first saw this line over a year ago. I was going to try to onsight it but Eoin Kennedy wisely suggested I try it out first. I have practiced the route on a number of occasions. I reckon I tried it about a dozen times over four days spread over the past three months. I got the route in one go twice on the Sunday before I led it. Previous to that I only got it clean once. Placing the protection on this route would be strenuous and I think many of the placements would be difficult to see whilst being made. The first horizontal break if mostly flared. This would make the seemingly obvious big cam option useless. We, (Sean, Eoin Kennedy, Paul harrington) felt that technically the route is 6b. Form this I suggest an overall grade od E5, due to the difficulties of placing the protection, the height of the first piece of protection (5 metres up) and the sustained technical difficulties of the route. I climbed the route with pre placed protection. I placed protection on abseil. With the exception of the top piece all the others were fiddly to place. With the preplaced protection I climbed the route, clipping each piece as I went. I was unseconded. Eoin Kennedy tried to climb the route in the same style as me but fell off at the top. He fell on the good nut, the last piece. Because of the preplaced gear I felt that the route was safe. I had a boulder mat for the start, Eoin and Kevin O Leary spotted me. Once I clipped the protection in the first break I felt it was unlikely I would hit the ground if I fell. I do intend to try to climb the route ground up, placing gear as I go. I would love to see someone onsight the route and give some feedback on the grade. The name of the route is Far Away Friends. That is pretty much all I can say about the route. I did not get any good photos of me climbing the route, but I do have some. We had a good day Saturday, if a little wet. Paul Murphy and Eoin Myers both done their first leads. They both climbed Cronins crack and Titanic. I took some loose rock off Cronins crack about six weeks ago. I noticed on Saturday that there is a large block loose at half height. The block will not fall out but a person starting out might place protection at the side of the block. This may rip out if fell upon. take a look the next time you are on the roure.
5:GYMNASTY (1) 10m E1 5c A. Forde, B. Forde. 22/4/90 Climb the arete right of Bats. Start below a steep crack. Climb this and step right and up onto a ledge then up and left to finish. add comment
This is a small north facing crag, at the top of the gully just left of Cub Crag.
UNITED AGAIN (1) 10m HVS 5b R. Stack, G. Stack. 7/10/90 The route is on the left hand side of the crag. Climb the obvious line to the ledge and then up a finger crack to the top.
DOWNHEAVEL (1) 10m E2 5c A. Forde, R. Stack. 4/5/95 Climb up the centre of the face veering slightly right towards the top, finishing on a small ledge.
This is a long low wall to the left of Cub Crag.
1:MANDELA 18m HS 4a R. Stack, Rob. Stack. 3/7/90 This climb is situated on a small buttress, with a large block on top (right of Rescue Rock). Climb up left of a large crack and then straight up to the top.
2:TOM 8m Severe R. Stack, P. Cudden. July '89 This climb is on the left hand side of the wall. Climb the thin crack line. Protection is poor.
3:SUNKEN BUSINESS 9m HVS 5a M Shea, R. Stack. 9/9/90 Climb straight up the face between Tom and Resonate.
4:RESONATE 10m HS 4b A. Forde, J. Forde. 3/5/90 Crack line 3m to the right of Tom. Climb to a square cut recess and over a bulge to a ledge.
5:JERRY 13m VS 4c R. Stack, Rob Stack. July '89 This climb is to the right of Resonate. Climb to the right of a vegetated line. Climb about 10m to gain a ledge, then go over a small overhang to the top. Protection is poor.
6:THE BOULD DOG AND ME * 15m VS 4c I. Counihan, A. Forde. 2/5/90 Climb the black wall 4m to the right of Jerry. Climb about 10m to a large ledge, then slightly right and over an obvious overhang to the top (as for Jerry).
Note: The next two routes are on a small recessed wall just to the right of The Bould Dog and Me.
7:GAMES WITHOUT FRONTIERS 10m HS 4b R.Stack, G. Stack. 7/10/90 Climb up the middle of the face going over a small overhang at half height.
8:THREE IN A BED 10m Severe M. Shea, T. Murphy. Summer '90 Climb the right hand side of the face exiting through a break in the heather at the top.
There are three small buttresses on the extreme left of the lower crags. The first three routes are on the left hand buttress, and the rest are on the right buttress.
0: NOTHING BETTER TO DO 12m VS4c J Healy, L Calnan. Spring 2012 Left of the Free at Last buttress there is an obvious arete just left of a small tree at 3m. At the base of the arete is a broken crack. Climb the crack to a comfortable ledge. Continue up just left of the arete to gain a vegetated ledge - crux. Climb the slab above to another ledge and a belay on the wall behind. Descend by scrambling down the gully on the R of the climb.
1:SKYLINE 10m Severe P. Curtis, P. Spillane. Summer '94 Climb the left hand side of the face.
2:FREE AT LAST * 10m HVS 5a M Shea, R. Stack. 9/9/90 Climb the centre of the face (left of Umbongo). Protection is poor.
3:UMBONGO * 10m Severe Unknown Climb the arete on the right hand side of the crag.
4:THE CRAZY HORSEMAN 9m E5? ?????? Up the middle of the buttress. Escaping right is possible before the overhang at around E1.
5:FLIER AND HATTER 12m HS 4b A. Forde solo Jan 2005 Bridge up the chimney left of Siren to gain an indistinct arete on the left. Follow this to top. Alternatively, start up Rescue Rock and after 5m make a step across the void onto the middle buttress (Severe).
6:SIREN 10m HS 4b R. Stack, C. Cudden. 1/4/95 This route is on the left hand side of the right buttress. Climb to a shallow groove near the top, climb through this using a quartz hold on the right.
WILLIE ROCKS ROUTE 10m E3 6a W. Rock c2000 Climb the centre of the face between Umbongo and Siren exiting through a break in a small roof.
7:RESCUE ROCK * 12m Severe D. Maguire, P. Cronin. 1967 This route is just left of middle up the face of the buttress. Climb straight up from the large ledge and veer slightly right towards the top.
8:QUARTZ MOVEMENT * 10m VS 4c R. Stack, T. Long 4/5/95 Start just right of Rescue Rock. Climb the right hand edge of the face.
9:MOTHER OF PRAGUE *** 20m E1 5b I. Counihan, M Barry. July '90 The obvious line to the left of Willie Wonka. Start directly below the line on top. Climb up to the base of the overhanging corner move left and climb up moving slightly right towards to the top.
10:WILLIE WONKA ** 20m E2 6a R. Stack, P. Costelloe. 27/12/89 This route is on the right hand side of the buttress. Climb the right hand side of the face to a ledge (large block), climb up and into a right tending crack/corner (left of holly tree). Climb the overhang and continue straight up to the top.
'Small Crag directly above Rescue Rock
MICRO ** 15m E2 5c A. Forde, April 2005 Climb overhanging arete immediately left of main corner to good hold and continue steeply to large ledge at 6m. Continue up arete on right to top.
This buttress is behind and to the right of the Main Face.
GREAT SLAVE (1) * 40m E1 5b A. Forde, J. Forde. 3/5/90 1. Start 8m left of Oozum Croozum. Climb up and left under a small set of overhangs and past a square wedged block, then climb up and right (crux). Belay at the base of the next wall. Protection is poor on this pitch. 2. Move up to gain a quartz vein and traverse right along the wall under a small roof. Exit past this roof and belay on a large sloping ledge.
OOZUM CROOZUM (1) 20m E2/3 5c/6a A. Forde, I. Counihan. 2/5/90 Start directly below the arete. Climb to the corner in the arete. Below the top, traverse right onto the right face and then up to a ledge. Climb the face above (poorly protected) to a large block to finish. Descend to the left. add comment
APPARITION E2 5c *** Denis Tangney,Aidan Forde. April `95. Start just right of Ozum Croozum.Climb ramp to overhanging groove.Surmount this (crux) and straight up wall above keeping well right of grass ledge.Climb short steep wall with overhanging block.Exit on right side of overhang.
The Main Face
This is the large blank face above Black Stream bridge. It is bordered on the right by overhangs and vegetation up high and on the left by a striking arete, P'u.
1:CARRAIGS (1) 40m E1 5c P. Pritchard, A. Forde. 7/4/90 1. 15m Start immediately left of P'u, climb the face left of a tree to gain a good hand crack, above this ascend a short corner to a ledge, belay here. 2. 25m At the left end of the ledge climb the face to a break in the roof, continue to the top of the face above.
2:FOUR YELLOW 40m E2 5c A. Forde, C. Cudden 17/8/97 1.As for Carraigs 2.Traverse left from belay tree for 5m to stand on a very narrow ledge. Climb up to a break with large boulders. Move left and climb overhang. Continue straight over breaks in middle of face to top.
3:AS GOOD AS IT GETS E3 5c *** Denis Tangney.June`05 Start 3m up and left of PÙ on a flat stone.Climb steeply up for 8m (bold) to gain protection.Veer slightly left in direction of first bolt.Clip this and climb crack (crux) up to second bolt.Mantle up under overhang.Climb over hang on right side of bolt to finish.
4:P'U ** 30m E2 5b P. Pritchard, A. Forde. 7/4/90 The large arete left of a tree filled gully. Start on the left face, move up and right to gain a large ledge at half height, continue onto the right wall but move immediately onto the arete and continue on the arete to a belay ledge. Protection is not good. Abseil off. Second Pitch: Traverse left approx. 4m from the belay tree. Climb directly up on poor quality rock and past a very large hanging block on the right. Continue up the arete and wall on the left to the top. Belay off large block on top. A. Forde, D. Tangney. August 2005.
5:RUFUS IS A TIT MAN * 50m E2 5b/6a/5a A. Forde [1,2], R. Stack. 14/4/95 1. 10m Start 3m right of the P'u arete, climb the shallow scoop to a sloping ledge and then climb a short corner to a large ledge. Poor protection. 2. 20m Climb the crack line on the left side of the ledge to a holly tree. 3. 20m Start just left of the holly tree and climb over a small overhang. Climb up over large blocks and move slightly right. Climb up and left (past a triangular incut) through the overhang to the top.
6:OUT OF MY REACH ** 45m HVS/E1 4c,5a C. Moriarty, R. Gabbett. 1985 This climb is on the left hand side of the blank face to the right of the black water stain. 1. 10m Go straight up to a large ledge which contains a large tree. 2. 35m From the ledge climb up right of the black water stain (crux), poor protection. At the top of the water stain move left and climb straight up. The route follows a series of sloping ledges and up into a groove. Climb through and straight up to belay under block overhang.
7:THE OVERLAP (1) ** 45m E3 6a A. Forde, C. Moriarty. 23/4/90 It takes the obvious left tending diagonal line on the right side of the main face. 1. Start 20m to the right of the start of Out of my Reach. Climb vertically to gain the bottom of the overlap, continue up and left to a block at 15m. Move left from here to a hanging belay. 2. Move up and right from the belay through the overhang via an obvious groove and then to the top on easier ground.
8:DEMASIADO ** 40m E1 5b,5a A. Forde, I. Counihan. 1/5/90 1. 25m Start under a white wall with two vertical cracks (at 10m) immediately right of The Overlap. Climb directly up to the base of the white wall and step right to a small ledge. Move up via two vertical cracks to a sloping ramp. Move right to a small ledge and then up and left to a small belay ledge, beneath the overhang. 2. 15m From the belay ledge move left and then up to a large ledge on the left. Continue up to a right tending corner. Above this move up the face to a square-cut hole and up and right to finish. Belay slightly right.
VARIATION TO DEMASIADO 4c I. Counihan, A. Forde. 1/5/90 Pitch 2. More left from the belay ledge and climb the right side of the upper face to the top.
9:LOS POTATOS * E2 6a,5b Aidan Forde,Denis Tangney April `95 (1) Climb shallow corner right of Demasiado(bold crux)and straight up to belay stance at 20m. (2) Move right and up to top 20m.
10:VIVE LA LEGION * 30m E1 5c I. Counihan, D. Stuttar. 4/4/95 This route is on the white lichen-covered wall left of The Will of Zog. Start on the big block. Climb up the arete to the first small overhang. Climb the hand crack and continue up to the black roof. Move out right (crux) to gain a small ledge and traverse to a holly tree. Belay here.
11:THE WILL OF ZOG * 35m HVS 5b,5a I. Counihan [1,3], A. Forde . 12/4/90 This route takes a weak crack system to an obvious corner under a roof about 40m right of Out of My Reach and immediately right of a set of roofs. 1. 12m Start under the left hand end of a large block. Climb the off width crack to the top of the block. Climb the thin crack line to the corner under the overhang. Belay here. 2. 6m Traverse left under the overhang to gain the face and continue up to a ledge. Many parties abseil from here. 3. 17m From the right hand end of the ledge climb up and left of the chimney. Climb this for 5m and regain the right arete.
12:VIVALDI 30m VS 4c A. Forde, I. Counihan. 12/4/90 The crack line immediately right of The Will of Zog. Climb a small ramp and the crackline above to a ledge. Continue on the same line above to a short corner. Climb this and step left and up to gain a ledge, (the route can finish here with an abseil from the holly tree). From the ledge climb an easy left tending crack and then a short face with a good flake. Belay on trees above. To descend, go uphill under a large chockstone and right to the descent gully.
13:ICY FINGERS 18m VS 4c R. Stack, D. Doolan. 3/1/90 This route starts just right of The Will of Zog. Climb a small corner to the right of a small tree. Climb a crack to gain a ledge. Traverse left and climb 2m to gain another ledge. Climb straight in under an overhang and traverse out right to finish the route.
14:AND IT STONED ME 18m HVS 5a/5b P. Costelloe, R. Morrison. 1992 Start as for Icy Fingers to gain the ledge, move slightly right and climb straight up the face, using the right tending crack near the top.
This is the large boulder-strewn gully that runs through the western cliffs, directly above Black Stream Bridge. A lot of the boulders in the gully are loose and care should be taken while in the gully. Approach by walking up a small stream above and left of the bridge and turning right at the top. Walk more or less straight up to the Gully.
DOUGLAS TURD (1) 7m Diff I. Counihan, A. Forde. 30/4/90 This route is on a small buttress between the forks of the upper Póirse gully. There is a small overhang in the centre of the buttress. Climb the left hand side of the buttress.
LORD DENNING (1) 7m V.Diff A. Forde, I. Counihan. 30/4/90 Climb the short corner 2m right of Douglas Turd, right of the overhang.
1:GET A JOB (1) 20m VS 4c A. Forde, I. Counihan. 2/6/91 Start 1m left of Life In Windy Weather. Climb the buttress between Life In Windy Weather and a large crackline to the left. Enter a left facing groove at half height and finish up on easier ground, tending right. Belay near a large block.
2:LIFE IN WINDY WEATHER (1) * 25m E1 5b A. Forde, N. Gregory. 30/4/90 Start at an alcove on the left of the north wall in the middle of Póirse Gully. Climb through the alcove and the overhang above it. Finish through the prominent corner above. Belay at the holly tree below the top. Descend left.
3:THE STOOP (1) *** 30m E2 5c A. Forde, R. Stack. 7/5/95 Start just left of Echo Beach. Climb directly up to the right hand edge of the block wedged under the overhang. Traverse left under the block, climb onto the block, then move out right onto the face above the overhang and straight up to the top. Belay on a holly tree above.
4:AIR TIME 30m E4/5 6a/b S. Hennessey Start as for The Stoop but head for the higher right hand roof. Arrange gear before going left under the overhang (hard) and finish straight up the headwall above.
5:THE MUPPET SHOW E1 5b * Start two meters right of The Stoop below a short faint crack.Climb directly up to ledge at 15m.Move right to join Echo Beach (?) and follow this route to finish. 30m. First ascent; Denis Tangney,Aidan Forde. April `96.
6:PEREGRINE ** 15m VS 4c C. Moriarty I. Counihan. 1990 (Variation to the first pitch of Echo Beach) Start at the back of the cave. Climb to the top of the cave facing out, then traverse out and climb up to Peregrine Ledge. Continue up one of the other routes or descend off the ledge.
7:ECHO BEACH ** 30m E2 4c,5c A. Forde, J. Price. 1985 1. 10m Start 5m left of an obvious chimney (cave), climb diagonally up and right to gain Peregrine ledge. 2. 20m Climb the arete (crux) from the ledge, turning the overhang above on the left before finishing over two easy benches.
8:SUN DOGS (1) * 30m E1 5b,5c R. Stack,A.Forde. 5/5/95 1. 10m Climb the shallow steep groove just left of the obvious cave. Climb straight up to Peregrine Ledge. Belay here. Protection is poor on the first pitch. 2. 20m Start 2m right of the 2nd pitch of Echo Beach (where the overhang 2m above fades out). Climb from the ledge to a vertical crack and then to a breach in the first small overhang, move slightly left and then over the top overhang.
Access is by climbing up Peregrine or the first pitch of Echo Beach or from the base of P'u scramble up a steep grassy gully to the ledge. Alternatively, from the large cave in the gully traverse right, over a holly tree, then walk left and up to Peregrine Ledge. The ledge is recognisable by the large blocks wedged between the face and the ledge. The following five routes are based around Peregrine ledge.
9:THANK YOU IVAN, THANK YOU LORD ** 15m HVS 5b A. Forde, I. Counihan. 30/4/90 Start on Peregrine Ledge. Start from the large chock stone wedged between the face and the ledge. The route takes a direct vertical line to the top from this chock stone.
10. SHORT BUT SWEET 8m HS 4b R. Creagh (Solo). 24/03/11. Climb the obvious shallow corner left of Red Dragon
11:RED DRAGON 20m VS 4c R. Stack, P.Costelloe. 29/9/91 Start on the grassy ledge to the right and below Peregrine Ledge, right of the cave with the wedged blocks. Climb the right hand edge of the face to the top.
HUBBLE (1) 15m VS 4c I. Counihan, A. Forde. 30/4/90 This route is on a small buttress left of Kestrel Buttress. Climb up the centre of the buttress and over the block at the top.
This is a small buttress on the left of the upper gully which contains the following three climbs.
PÚNCÁNACH ** 20m E1 5b A. Forde, I. Counihan. March '90 Climb the prominent crackline left of Kestrel. Protection is poor at the top.
Bundánach * 20m E2 5c ??? Climb between Púncánach and Kestrel directly to the chains. Excellent protection.
KESTREL * 18m VS 4c C. Moriarty, D. Mulcahy. 1985 Climb the arete on the right hand side of the face
MIDGES (1) 15m VS 4c C. Moriarty, R. Gabbett. 1985 Around the arete to the right of Kestrel climb the north facing wall to the overhang before swinging around onto the arete to share the same finish as Kestrel.
The High Buttress
This is the large buttress left of Póirse Gully. It contains two large ledges, the lower one having a large overhang above it. There are many fine long routes on this buttress. At the back left hand side of the first ledge there is a holly tree which acts as an abseil point. Because the overhang hinders further ascent, many of the routes finish on the first ledge. Different routes can also be combined. The first pitch of Seventh Heaven and finishing on Jamaica Plain makes a fine route. The top ledge (Burnt Ledge) can be scrambled onto from the right hand side. From the base of the buttress traverse around and up the right hand side of the buttress. Climb the shallow steep gully, which is overgrown with trees. This is quite a tricky ascent.
1:L'ORANGE (1) ** 20m E2 5c/6a A. Forde, R. Stack. 18/9/90 This route is on the extreme left of the buttress. At 15m there is a large detached block / flake below a prominent overhang. This route is on the left hand side of the large block of which the right hand side is Deoch Aimsir. Climb directly up to the left hand side of the block and then continue up the crack to the roof. Surmount this and continue more easily to a holly tree belay. Abseil here.
2:DEOCH AIMSIR (1) 25m E1/2 5c A. Forde, R. Stack. 17/9/90 Start right of L'orage. Climb the right hand side of the block, then traverse right under the roof to a large ledge. Move up and left from the ledge (crux) to gain the face above the overhang, continue up to a holly tree, belay here. Abseil or continue up Jamaica Plain or Seventh Heaven.
3:JAMAICA PLAIN * 70m HVS 5a,5a,4b,5a A. Forde, M Shea. 1985 1. 30m Start 10m left of Seventh Heaven. Climb a corner system moving slightly left and then right, climb a corner to a large ledge below a prominent crack. Belay here. 2. 7m Climb the off width crack through the overhang and then move left to a large ledge with a holly tree. Belay here 3. 20m Climb the left side of the buttress to Burnt Ledge. 4. 13m Start on the left hand edge of the face, climb to an obvious corner / overhang with a large crack, climb about 1m right of the crack to the top (crux).
VARIATION ON 2ND PITCH OF JAMAICA PLAIN (1) 10m HVS/E1 5b A. Forde, R. Stack. 18/9/90 Instead of climbing the off-width crack, climb the thin line just to the right of it. Gain the sloping ledge and traverse left to finish as for original route.
4:INFERNO (1) 35m E1 5b,4c A. Forde , R. Stack . 15/9/90 Face and groove between Jamaica Plain and Seventh Heaven. 1. 25m Climb straight up for about 5m, move out right, then up and left again (to round obvious hard move) and continue straight up to a large ledge. 2. 10m From the ledge move up and left over an overhang on good holds. Continue up to a holly tree . Abseil or continue up the third pitch of Jamaica Plain.
5:SEVENTH HEAVEN *** 60m E1 4c,5b G.Sexton , C. Moriarty . 25/8/90 At the left hand side of the buttress and left of the prominent overhang is a white thorn tree. This route takes the obvious corner above this with initial moves over large overhanging blocks. 1. 25m Climb the corner directly then beyond a little to where it runs out Belay at an obvious cut holly tree under the large overhang. 2. 25m Climb the off width crack (as for Jamaica Plain) to the roof, traverse right under the roof to a ledge. From the far end of the ledge, climb straight up to Burnt Ledge.
6:FIR BOLG * 20m E2 5c/6a R. Stack, A. Forde. 18/9/90 Start 3m right of Seventh Heaven, close to a white thorn bush. Gain a ledge and then a large block/ledge (this ledge is shared with Seventh Heaven). From the ledge make a long reach/jump up and right to gain a large ledge on the outer face. Climb up and right on the outer face to a groove. Continue on easier ground to the large ledge. From the ledge abseil or continue up another route.
7:THE BIRD (1) * 20m VS 4c/5a A0 R. Stack, P. Costelloe. 29/9/90 Climb to the large roof above a black corner (alcove). Aid climb out through the roof
My Left Foot E3 6a
Start below the black corner of The Bird. Climb directly up to the smaller roofed corner 2m right of the roof crack of The Bird. Breach the overhang above on massive holds. Small cams can be arranged from a strenuous position, at the lip, before the fingery crux gains the slab. Finish directly up the wall above to the ledge.
R. Browner, R. MacAllister. 16.04.11
(The leader’s foot was broken by rock-fall, below the roof, during the ascent).
8:THE UNFORGETTABLE FIRE ** 73m HVS 4c,5a,5a,4b C. Moriarty, M Shea. February 1986 1. 20m Climb the obvious centre crack over the overhang to a large grassy ledge. A. Forde, M Barry. 1985 2. 20m From the ledge go back to the back wall and traverse right along the obvious rock ramp. Go around the corner and slightly down to gain a shallow steep groove with awkward moves to a large block ledge. Belay here.(Large Hex). 3. 20m Traverse along a ledge over the main roof. Mid way along, climb up the wall between two parallel cracks. Climb to Burnt Ledge, emerging just right of a large boulder. 4. 13m From Burnt Ledge climb directly up the wall through the obvious weakness in the overhang.
9:GANGSTER OF LOVE (1) 20m E1 5b A. Forde, M Shea. 8/9/90 Between The Unforgettable Fire and Scairibhín. Climb directly up to a finger crack at 15m. Ascend this and belay at the large ledge above.
10:SCAIRBHIN ** 65m E1 5b,5b C. Moriarty, M Shea. 8/9/90 At the right hand side of the crag, some 5m to the right of The Unforgettable Fire is an obvious open square cut groove, some 5/6m high. This is the start of Scairibhín. 1. 30m Climb the crack line on the left of the groove to the end of the chimney. Move right and up, to a ledge beneath an overhanging bulge with an obvious weakness (some parties belay here before the crux moves). Climb up the groove onto obvious block ledge. 2. 22m From this belay ledge climb directly up a shallow rounded groove. Continue up, emerging at the right hand corner of Burnt Ledge. 3. 13m As for final pitch of The Unforgettable Fire.
VARIATION TO FINAL PITCH OF SCAIRBHIN (1) 12m HS 4b M Shea, A. Forde. 8/9/90 Climb the right hand side of the top buttress above Burnt Ledge. Climb up 4m and step right onto a large block, then more left onto the face to gain the central crackline. Finish up this crackline.
11:BIMBI LIMBO (1) 50m HVS 5a A. Forde, R. Stack. 18/6/91 This route takes the extreme right hand side of the buttress, staying right of Scairibhín at all times. Climb the right hand side of the buttress surmounting a small overhang at half height. This route finishes on Burnt Ledge. There are a lot of loose blocks on this climb.
12:J.C.B. (1) 40m VS 4c D. Commins, M. Leen. 11/5/09 This is the gully up and to the right of Bimbi Limbo, the one with a small tree stump buried in it. Move up and left onto the side wall and continue up, passing the overhanging block/ledge. From the ledge, stay right of the arete and continue straight up to Burnt Ledge.
Access to this crag is from Burnt Ledge (top ledge on The High Buttress). From Burnt Ledge traverse south and down to a narrow ledge with a steep face above it.
THE GROOVE 22m HVS 5a P. Sexton, G. Sexton. Aug '90 Climb the obvious crack line on the left hand side of the crag to a large ledge. From the ledge climb a short wall to the top (crux).
AN EVENING WITH NIMBUS ** 22m E1 5b C. Moriarty, P. Sexton. Aug '90 From the ledge start on the highest of two boulders. Climb the very centre of the wall over the overhangs.
THE JAGGED EDGE (1) ** 22m E1/2 5b C. Moriarty, P. Sexton. Aug \'90 Start at the very lowest point of the arete. Climb the arete to the large block ledge. Finish up the short wall to the top. Protection is poor.
This crag is above and to the left of The High Buttress. There is a large overhang in the centre of the crag.
RELICS (1) 10m HS 4b Rob. Stack, R+G Stack. 14/7/90 Start 20m from the end of the left hand side of the crag. Climb the obvious crack to the large ledge. Belay here on an oak tree. Abseil from here.
MOMENTARY LAPSE OF REASON (1) 10m HVS 5a R. Stack, Rob + G. Stack. 10/9/90 Start 1.5m to the right of Relics. Climb straight up (right of large shallow scoop) and move slightly left near the top. Belay here on the oak tree. Abseil from here.
GASH 35m VS 4b R. Stack, J. Forde. 13/7/90 Climb the black steps left of the main overhang (left of ivy), traverse right and up onto a large ledge. From here climb 10m to a large oak tree. Abseil or climb a small chimney on the right to the top.
PREACHÁIN ** 45m E2 5b,5c,5c A. Forde, P. Falvey. 21/4/90 1. 25m Start under the left hand end of the main roof. Climb the vertical line towards the left hand end of the roof. 5m from the roof veer left and then traverse to belay on a large block. Protection is poor. 2. 10m Move left and out from the belay to gain a ledge on the outer face. Climb up on easier ground and belay. 3. 10m Traverse right from the belay under a small overhang. Gain a crack above the left centre of the overhang and climb above it. Finish easily through a shallow chimney above.
VARIATION TO 1ST PITCH OF PREACHÁIN (1) 25m HVS 5a A. Forde, B. Forde. July '94 Start as for Preachain. Climb up 5m. Take a faint line heading diagonally left, then head straight up to the belay ledge. Protection is poor.
THE SIGN *** 65m E2 5b,A2,5c Or free in one pitch at E5 6a. C. Moriarty, M Shea. 5/8/90 1. 25m As for the first pitch of Preacháin 2. 10m From the ledge climb free for a few moves and aid traverse out right and along the overlap line to a belay at the lip of the roof. There are pegs in place but some of these were rusty looking in 1994. 3. 30m From the ledge climb the wall directly. A vertical crack tells the way through the overhang to the top.
CRANES BILL 20m HS 4b A. Forde, R. Stack 19/5/95 Start 3m left of Meltdown. Climb an indistinct line to the left side of the triangular roof (Meltdown goes to the right side). Back climb the route or continue up Meltdown.
MELTDOWN *** 60m HVS 4c,5b A. Forde, A. Devlin. April '86 1. 35m Climb the obvious corner on the right of the face, under the main roof. Climb the crack to a roof, traverse right and up to a small ledge, then climb up and right to a larger ledge with a small holly tree. Belay here. 2. 25m Climb the obvious line to the break in the overhang, climb this and continue straight up to the top. Lots of Friends are required for this climb.
KUDOS *** 50m VS 4c A. Forde, I. Sheahan 13/7/96 1. Start as for Meltdown. After 3m move right to a large ledge. Traverse right along the top of the ramp to a vertical fist crack. Climb this and the corner above to under the overhang. Move left and up to a ledge and then right to under the upper overhang (awkward). Move up and left to the meltdown belay ledge (small to medium cams). 2. From the belay move right and up. Climb the middle of the wide black water streak following ledges and thin cracks and passing a small wedged block immediately to the left. After the wedged block gain the crack system on the right and follow this to under the overhang that crosses the whole face. Step right and the up and left to a good ledge. Follow a curving ramp on the right to a protruding block on the skyline. Belay at this block or further back at the top.
BOSCH 50m E1 5b, 4c A. Forde, R. Stack 4/10/97 1. Start 5 m right of a holly tree which is close to an arete approx. 3m right of the Meltdown corner. Climb a slightly left-trending crack line to approx. 8m. Step up and right to a corner/crack system which trends slightly right. Belay on a large ledge near some trees. 2. Climb an obvious corner, then a face avoiding an overhang on the left. From a ledge follow a faint crack line trending right to the top
SURF 350 25m VS 4c A. Forde, I.Counihan. 29/4/90 Obvious right facing corner on the far right hand side of the wall. Climb the corner to the off width crack, continue up and left to finish at a break in the top of the crag.
OH MERCY (1) 25m E1 5b R. Stack, G. Stack. 14/7/90 Start 1m right of Surf 350, climb the obvious line to a very small ledge with a small overhang 1m above, climb over the overhang and move slightly left and continue straight to the top.
This large crag is situated directly behind Cushvally Lake. About 300m past the Colleen Bawn house there are some old ruins. Just before the ruins, on the right side of the road, a path leads down to a small foot bridge on the north side of the lake. Walk to the lake and then to the crag.
THE ROOSTER (1) 30m HS 4b P. Curtis, P. Spillane. Summer '94 This route is on the left hand side of the buttress. Start in the obvious groove, climb to the ledge and proceed left (crux) and up.
TIME BANDITS E2 5c *** Denis Tangney,Aidan Forde. (1)Start at shallow corner 2m left of “Coladh Samh”. Climb corner and move slightly right to small ledge.Move left and climb wall with square cut hole(crux) and continue up to holly tree belay. 25m (2)Climb slightly left to within one meter of small overhang.Traverse right to good holds and straight up to wedged block.Climb this on left side(crux) to a good belay ledge. 25m.
COLADH SÁMH (1) ** 50m E1 5b?,5b,A1 C. Moriarty, D. Murphy. 6/5/90 1. 20m Start at the left hand end of the arch, climb the corner and continue straight to the ledge (ash tree). 2. Climb straight up a thin crack, one aid point (small wire) to some green shaded rock above. Move slightly right and up to obvious overhanging corner left of the main overhang - hanging belay. 3. Climb the overhang (one aid point) and straight to the top.
A SPECTACLE FOR SWANS 58m E2 5c C. Moriarty, M McGillycuddy. August '86 1. 50m Under the highest point of the crag is a curved roof (arch), about 4m off the ground. This route climbs into the corner some 6 to 7m to the right of this. Climb on good holds into the obvious corner and beyond to the small right angled roof (25m). Climb through this and up over a ledge system, to a belay stance under the final overhang, underneath an obvious 'v' in the sky line. Protection is poor on this pitch. 2. 8m From the stance climb through the 'v'.
RIVER RUN E2 5c ** Aidan Forde,Denis Tangney. April `98. Start 25m right of “ Spectacle for Swans”.Climb black wall to obvious narrow chimney.Climb this (crux) straight up to holly tree belay.Abseil from tree. 25m.
Auger Lake Crag
There has been more recent development around the crags behind Auger Lake. Not much information is available on these crags yet apart from a few pictures floating around in cyberspace on climbing.ie. The grid reference is 874857. Go explore
A small, steep crag west of the Turnpike Rocks. Directions Park 100m before or after the Turnpike Rocks. The crag is visible across the valley, about 250m away. GR: 874855.
Conditions/Aspect One face faces south, the other east. No seepage.
Descent Walk back and left (as you face the crag) for a few hundred metres before a safe descent can be made down to the level of the crag
1.MINANS CALL 8m HVS 5b D. Duggan, R. Creagh. 16/04/11. Climb the obvious crack on the south face of the buttress. Short but steep.
2.AIRY FAERIE 8m VS 4c R. Creagh, D. Duggan. 16/04/11. Start as for Minans Call.Get gear in the horizontal break and traverse right to a stance on the arete. Climb this to the top
A more recently developed crag with some of the hardest routes in the Gap. Most of the routes are short but quite steep and take aesthetic lines on excellent rock.
Directions Park on the left just after the turnpike rocks. The crag is mostly hidden from view at the road and lies up on the right (west) side of the valley. It is reached by crossing the river and walking up and left (less than 10 minutes). GR: 873853.
Conditions/Aspect The crag seeps a lot so wait a day or two after rain. North facing so bring plenty of layers. Descent Chains for lowering off most routes. Otherwise walk right (as you face the crag) and down
1.RICHARDS ROUTE 9m Severe R. Creagh (Solo). 25/03/11. Scramble up to the base of a slab around the left corner of the crag. Climb the centre of the slab.
2.PINK MOON 9m HVS 5a R. Creagh, D. Duggan, 16/04/11. Climb the face left of the obvious wide crack. 41
3.NAME UNKNOWN 8m HS 4b ??? The obvious wide crack on the left of the crag.
4.NAME UNKNOWN 10m VS 5a ??? Start 2m right of a large crack. Climb the faint crack to a block, move left onto a large and finish up the corner. A long reach helps at the start.
5.NAME UNKNOWN 10m E4 6a ??? Start as for 4 and finish boldly up the blunt arete.
6.NAME UNKNOWN 18m E4 6a ??? Start as for 4 and continue rightwards across the crag along the crack systems, finishing up Mighty Mouse. A very pumpy route!
7.HAWKER 12m E2 5c S. Hennessey A brilliant line, taking the obvious splitter crack on the left of the crag. Hard to start.
8:WICKIDY WOCK 12m E3 6a S. Hennessey Another stunning route, taking the next splitter crack and finishing up left.
9.NAME UNKNOWN 12m E5 6a K. Power Start up Wickety Wock but at the start of the traverse head straight up to the chains.
10.MIGHTY MOUSE 10m E1 5c S. Hennessey Climb the obvious fingers to hands crack on the right side of the crag.
There is more climbing further south, with a few routes worthy of note.
BLACK DYNAMITE 25m E5 4b, 6b
D. Duggan , R. Creagh .16/04/11
(one wire pre-placed on first ascent). Left of Richard‟s Route at Jigsaw Wall is a black corner under a large roof.The second pitch starts here. The first can be done independently.An onsight of the route would be quite bold. 1. (10m) Abseil in from the corner(or walk around to bottom), down the black, right-facing corner with a monster crack. Climb this (a solo without size 5 or above cams) back up to the original corner. 2. (15m) Start in the right hand of 2 corners and climb easily up to the roof (good wire in small crack on left side of roof). Pull out through the roof with a strenuous sequence and gradually fight your way up the blunt arete to a good hold above the lip. Finish easier.
ECHINECEA 25m E3 5c
E. Kennedy, D. Duggan. 17/04/10.
This route takes a steep crack line south of Jigsaw Wall that is best seen from the grassy slope near Richard‟s Route. Unfortunately it is often wet.Start in the corner left of the upper crack and follow it to the roof(Escape left possible at HS). From here move airily out right and follow the crack to the top left hand side of the cliff.
Glas Lough Crag
From the lay-by at the head of the Gap head up the track towards Purple Mountain. Afterabout15 minutes the crags appear on the right. The rock looks broken on most of these cliffs with few very obvious lines. There is a rowan tree near the river towards the north end of the crag. Head straight towards the wall from this tree.
STRANGE CREATION 12m HVS 5a
R. Creagh, D. Dineen, 22/05/10.
Near the wall there is a small arch created by 2 blocks. Just right of this a thin, broken, right-trending crack starts. Start here and follow the crack until you can gain the ramp. Go right up this for 2m and then straight up under a thin, closed crack further up. Exit right (loose)
The area known as The Chimneys is situated on the eastern side of the Gap of Dunloe, above Bothán crag. They are broken down into three main outcrops. The approach is as for Bothán, but continue in a north easterly direction for approx. 10 minutes and you will arrive at the crags. The approach after leaving Bothán may be difficult as the heather in high….but I think its worth the effort. There seems to be very little seepage there.
HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN VS 18m Ger Cronin/John O'Sullivan 29/04/2014 Start on the left of the smaller crag at the left of the chimneys. Climb the obvious crack and stay left of the tree root. Climb straight up till you arrive at the ledge (avoid the temptation to move right on the High Hopes), instead, climb the overhanging face topping out a little higher than High Hopes.
HIGH HOPES S 18m Ger Cronin Solo 24/04/2014 This climb is on the very left of the outcrops, at the base of the large triangular rock. Start in the very obvious corner, climbing up to the overhang, move left, climb past the bush, moving slightly right before climbing to the top of the crag.
PEARLY GATES S 18m Ger Cronin/John O'Sullivan S Start as for High Hopes, but instead of going left at the overhang, climb straight up the face, topping out at the top out for High Hopes
CRONINS YARD VDIFF 16m Ger Cronin Solo 24/04/2014 The start for this is about 50m to the right, and slightly uphill from High Hopes, Start at the left hand corner of the small crag, and climb the corner to the heathery covering. The decent is off to the left of the top out and down the small gully
THE STEPS VDIFF 14m Ger Cronin Solo 24/04/2014 The Steps is on the left corner of the next major crag after Cronins Yard, Climb the obvious steps, finishing on the first major heathery ledge you reach. Avoid the temptation to climb further, as it makes your decent to your left very tricky
MAIDEN VOYAGE MS 15m Ger Cronin Solo 24/04/2014 Start about 4m to the right of The Steps, climb the rock which has a concave shape, climbing straight up the flat face and topping out at the obvious crack in the rock at the top of the climb.
WINDY GAP VS 46m Ger Cronin/John O'Sullivan 12/06/2014 On the crag on the southern end of the Chimneys, Start at the base of the obvious crack, climb straight up, over the small overhang, onto the ledge, from here climb straight up the blocky climb to highest point in the crag. Protection is good. Decent from here is off to the right of the crag as you face it.