The following account of rock-climbing at Loo Bridge was submitted by Paddy O'Leary to New Climbs 1977.
The sandstone crags at Loo Bridge are located about 1/4 mile from An Oige youth hostel on the west side of the L 62. (sheet 21 07 82). (Note: The hostel is no more and road numbers have been changed in the interim. The L62 is now the R569 and (according to Google maps)the section of road overlooked by the crag is no longer considered a part of the R569 and is downgraded to the status of an un-numbered side-road). A large semi-circular area of crags and broken ground 1/2 mile wide rises steeply up the slopes of Carrigawadra above this narrow side-road and the crag can clearly be seen from the N22, the main Killarney to Macroom road. Turn off the N22, about 17km SE of Killarney, onto the R569 (signposted Kilgarvan) and turn right after a little over ikm on to the side road beneath the crag.
<display_map>51.980184, -9.338004~Loo Bridge</display_map>
(The rough wooded slopes are described on page 57 of J. C. Coleman's "Mountains of Killarney", in his account of his visit to "The Robbers Den".
The cirque contains about seven crags (and numerous small outcrops) of various sizes and heights, located at different levels.
At the southern end the main cliff tapers down to the roadside, which it meets at right angles. Most of the climbs done to date are between the road and a line of obvious roofs which project over a steep ivy-clad wall about 150 yards from the road.
Useful landmarks on this section of crag are:
A) Smooth Slab - a large 45 degree slab about 50 yards from the road and surmounted by overhangs.
B) An obvious corner out of which grows a mature oak tree. This corner, which is the line of 'Durty' leads up to an equally obvious overhanging chimney.
C) About 15m. right of 'Durty' there is a green walled diedre ('Kermit').
D) The previously mentioned roofs - 'Swallows Nest'.
To the right of Smooth Slab (and overlooking the slab) a wall rises steeply. About 10ft. from outer edge of this is the start of
1. La Passionara. 15m. HS.
Climb a series of steps and small cracks leading to a grassy niche with a small withered tree. Continue straight up from niche.
Kevin Shelly, Tony Ingram, C. Castile. August 1976.
Variation 2nd pitch. - from niche move right to arete and continue straight up. (about S.)
J. Heffernan, F, Nugent, S. Nolan. June 1977.
2. Bilco. 13m. Diff.
About 10m. right of La Passionara an obvious boulder-choked chimney leads very easily to a large ledge. Continue up easy ground.
Bill Gregor and AFAS group.
3. Brother Ignatius. 13m. Diff.
About 5m. right of chimney an obvious corner, the right hand wall od which is split by a zig-zag crack, leads easily to large ledge. Continue up easy ground.
P. O'Leary, Y. Christain. April, 1976.
To the right of Brother Ignatius there is a line of overhangs at little over head height. Half way along, these overhangs are split by a crack out of which grows a small ash tree at about 10m. This is the line of Saxifrage.
4. Saxifrage. 22m. S.
Start: on rock shelf about 2ft. above ground level. Surmount r-hand overhang (hard) and continue up crack to ledge at 15m. From ledge climb wider crack to broken and treacherous ground. (The top of the cliff in this area is strewn with large boulders and precariously balanced fire-damaged trees).
P. O'Leary, Y. Christain.
5. Knuts. 25m. VS.
Start: At short wide crack between Saxifrage and Durty.
Climb esay crack to obvious bulge. Surmount this via crack on right Step back left and climb thin crack to top.
K. Shelly, T. Ingram, C. Castillo. August, 1976.
6. Debruce. 30m. VS(mild).
Start: About 5m. left of Durty, where a thin crack leads upwards from horizontally split slab. Climb crack and short wall above to sloping ledge below short corner. Climb corner to large ledge on right Traverse right to finish up Durty.
P. O'Leary, K. Shelly. June, 1977.
7. Durty. 28m. HS.
Climb obvious crack past tree to overhanging chimney. Climb chimney, avoiding steepest part by exiting left
P. O'Leary, K. Shelly. May, 1977.
7a. Hard Rain HVS 5a,4b,4b.
Start: 2m right of Durty
1/ Climb the corner crack to the roof. Traverse right under roof to gain arete. Climb this to join the line of Scáthach.
2/ Climb the second pitch of Scáthach. Continue across terrace to belay at slightly overhanging flakes.
3/ Climb right from belay to reach a corner. Climb corner until forced left to enter a short chimney with roof. Climb chimney to finish.
T. Hacken, M. Barry 1985.
8. Scáthach. 29m. HS.
This route keeps a few ft. right of the arete which runs up to left of the overhanging brown wall.
Start: 5m right of Durty a series of ledges and holds lead diagonally left
Pitch 1/. 22m. Pull up a steep section and follow a line of big holds up left to below a bulge about 2m. right of the arete. Climb the bulge (delicate) to a groove sloping right Up this to belay on a grass ledge below a groove.
Pitch 2/. 8m. Climb the shallow groove and continue up the quartzy slab above. Exit carefully to avoid loose blocks on terrace.
T. Hand, H. O'Brien (alternate leads). 6th June, 1977.
9. Rowlf. 48m. VS (40m. of climbing).
1/. 30m. 2m. right of Scáthach and 5m. left of Kermit an obvious line of thin cracks leads up to holly tree at 13m. Climb to this tree. About 3m. above the tree traverse left for 3 or 4m. Climb short wall (crux) to vegetated ledge above and to left Trend diagonally right to easy sloping terrace.
2/. Scramble or walk up terrace for 8m.
3/. 10m. Traverse diagonally left on steep wall below overhangs to corner. Climb short wall to large ledge. Enter deep chimney and climb until it is possible to step right onto exposed but very easy wall. Climb this to top.
P. O'Leary and A.F.A.S. group. 1976.
10. Kermit. 32m. HS.
1/. 18m. A short wall leads to the bottom of the obvious green corner. Climb this corner, exiting right at top to reach large ledge.
2/. 14m. From the left of ledge a very large flake (not visible from below) rises diagonally to L.A hand traverse using edge of flake leads to chimney. Climb this to top.
K. Shelly, P. O'Leary. August 1976.
As one moves along the crag to the right of Kermit the cliff gradually steepens and eventually overhangs considerably, forming a large roof with ivy beneath (Swallows Nest). About 10m. right of large flake ledge on Kermit there is an obvious steep corner.
12. Dé Danaan. 45m. VS.
Start: below and just under a right sloping ramp with a holly tree stump at its top.
1/. 30m. Climb up to and along the ramp. Move right past the stump to a groove above a small overhang. Climb the left wall of this for a few ft. then step back into groove.Up groove until level with holly tree, move left for a few ft. then diagonally right over blocks. Belay in the main corner (doubtful peg in place).
2/. 15m. Move right around the corner to large ledge. Climb straight up wall for 10ft. (peg runner - not in place). Step right to obvious hold on arete. Move delicately around to good ledge (exposed). Continue right to grass ledge in corner. Climb corner then left wall. Exit left over ledges to belay.
H. O'Brien, T. Hand. 15th May 1977.
Variation 2nd. pitch. - from the obvious hold on arete continue directly up arete to top.
C. Torrans, C. Sheridan. August 1977.
13. Gae Bolga. 40m. VS.
right of Dé Danaan there is a right angled corner.
1/. 28m. Climb the right wall of the corner on good holds to a ledge. Move right behind a tree and up a blocky line for a few metres. Traverse left until directly below a projecting block. Climb the wall and belay on the block (poor peg in place).
2/. 12m. Climb the short groove above and move slightly right to climb the steep groove.
H. O'Brien, T. Hand. 4th June, 1977.
About 50m. right of Swallows Nest and 10m. left of a wet and unattractive gully, a fallen tree leans, roots uppermost, against the cliff. Halfway between this tree and the gully a crack leads upwards. This is the line of:
14. Rats. 33m. S.
1/. 13m. Climb cracks opposite ash tree. Trend slightly right to large scree covered terrace.
2/. 20m. Scramble over loose blocks to obvious cracked corner. Climb this exiting left at top.
P. O'Leary, K. Shelly (alternate leads). June 1977.
In the middle of the cirque there are crags at three levels, each one directly above another. About 10m from crag at middle (or 2nd) level right hand side of the crag a cracked corner gives the line of:
15. Sasco. 10m. Mild Severe.
Climb over ledge and continue to top.
P. O'Leary, Y. Christain. April, 1976.
The next climb starts at the extreme right hand end of the cirque.
16. Rome Rule. 26m. S.
Start: on a wide ledge directly below an obvious bay in the centre of the slab.
Follow thin crack to the bay. Continue straight up bay and climb directly up the short wall to top.
T. Hand, H. O'Brien. 8th. May 1977.
The following three climbs were first published in New Climbs 1983
Variation HVS (5a, 4b)
1/. Climb the largest obvious corner in the middle of the crag (protection peg at mid-height) to reach a large ledge and belay.
2/. Follow the L-ward trending crack under the overhang and then more or less directly for a few metres before moving slightly R to finish. Superb climbing.
The second pitch is probably new.
J. Price, A. Forde (alternative leads). August 1983
Sandstorm E1 (5a)
There is another corner to the L of 'Variaation'. Climb the arete to the R of this (poor protection).
A. Forde, J. Price August 1983.
Jamming VS 4c
On the R-hand wall of the corner to the L of 'Sandstorm' there is a crack. Short but good, it may have been done before?
J. Price, A. Forde. August 1983